Last night I imagined what life would be like without my kids.
I thought about running away.
I mean, really running away to have a quiet life without four kids asking me for everything under the sun.
My 12-year-old is going through difficult growing pains emotionally and mentally. The summer months were some of the toughest I’ve experienced with him. “The Change” can be ruthless on some kids, and mine was no exception.
We even made a trip to the local police station to talk about disrespect, juvie, anger, physical retaliation, and other issues kids and parents must work through.
Sometimes I want to scream.
At my other kids.
At the world.
Children don’t come with a manual.
Well, duh, Sarah.
Motherhood can be isolating, infuriating, and downright exhausting.
Exhausting to the point where I want to give it all up.
Maybe it’s because I have four kids, and most days I feel like they all want every part of me. I try to love them, to be strong for them, to be the mediator, the fixer, the disciplinarian, the giver, and the answerer of all questions.
I mean, how many things can one mom really know about football, and science, and dance, and fidget spinners, and Jo Jo bows, and Paw Patrol, and the Packers, and soccer, and the Big 10, and dinosaurs, and why God invented clouds, and who should set the table?
Good grief, typing that list out caused a mild case of heart palpitations.
Why don’t kids ask Dad who is sitting right next to them?!!!
I feel twisted up like a pretzel.
And yet, I’ve been a mom long enough to know that kids change with the seasons, and time has a way of working with God to unravel my twisted up anxiety and help me view my children as the gifts they are.
I’m grateful for these humans, I really am.
But some days I just want to pee in peace, you know?
I read an article last night by Dr. S. M. Davis from Crosswalk.com about what a 12-year-old boy should be expected to do.
One of the biggest differences between an immature child and a mature youth is a sense of responsibility.
In Luke 2:41-46, we read how Joseph and Mary went up to Jerusalem each year for Passover. You remember that, when Jesus was 12, He was left behind when the rest of the family left, and Joseph and Mary didn’t know it.
“But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.” (Luke 2:44-46)
By age 12, Jesus was able to take care of Himself for several days alone. Joseph and Mary traveled a day’s journey before they thought to look for Jesus. Then they had to travel a day’s journey to get back to Jerusalem. Then it took them three days to find their son.
For five days Jesus had to take care of Himself. He had to eat. He had to sleep. He had to bathe. He had to dress Himself. He had to determine what He was going to do. For five days, Jesus took full responsibility for Himself.
By age 12, a child should know what to do and what not to do, where to go and not to go, whom to be with and not to be with—without being told.
Without needing to be told, he should keep his room clean and neat. He should do chores without being reminded.
Jesus is as much a guide to parenting a 12-year-old as he is to the 12-year-old himself.
May I help all my children to become responsible. obedient, purposeful humans.
And may I see how truly wonderful they are, even if I don’t get to pee in peace for another ten years.
Dig Deeper: How is motherhood treating you lately? Share in the comments!