I thought becoming a mum would be easy. After all, I am one of four children and my mum never had any troubles in that department. I had two ambitions growing up: Becoming a wife. Having children; four of them.
I married relatively young (22 years old) and wanted children almost straight away. I imagined the warm fuzzy family that we would have. Our children would have biblical names and all be extremely well behaved! They would also have delicate red curly hair and eyes the colour of my husband's. I was going to be the most maternal mum ever.
Reality didn't mirror our dreams in any way. I never did manage to carry a baby to term; we lost 4 babies through miscarriage.
Thank God, that our story didn't end there; we became parents through adoption. My family looks different from the one I imagined. My girls have red hair but the curls are nowhere to be seen. Their first names were given to them by another set of parents and their behaviour is often less than perfect. But the girls are ours (don't anyone try to tell me any different) and given to us by God so we still have to do the job of parenting.
I am writing this post to link up with Sarah's Carnival. I came into marriage with lots of ideas/ideals about the kind of parent I would be. However, waiting nearly 8 years, going through an adoption process and then becoming a mum to 2 children on one day shot some of those to pieces! I love my girls but we have had challenges to face. One of my daughters, especially, has tested my patience to the limit and many times I have failed.
The practice that has helped me through the years of parenting is routine and consistency. I remember in the first few weeks after the girls were placed that we went for a nap every time they did. Those scheduled sleeps were a life saver, as were the set bedtimes. Many a time I felt overwhelmed by the long day which stretched ahead of me; 'Oh, my goodness! They have had breakfast, I have had breakfast, we are all washed and dressed and it is still only 9am!' My routines helped break the day into smaller, more manageable slots.
Other routines over the years have poured a salve on my wounded heart after many a bad day of parenting. (Either their tantrums, my reactions or both!): The long bedtime routine, the stories that we read each night and their excitement as to what is going to happen next in our chapter books, the time of sleep/calm after dinner when the girls are home, the Saturday morning walk to the shops with daddy, the Christmas corner that we set up each year, the travel bag my girls pack for every long journey, the nightly bible times we share together, sitting down each night as a family to eat dinner etc etc etc. I love my routines and they have helped me be a better parent. I know full well that spontaneity has a place and that is something I need to learn too but for the moment we will stick with the routines.
God knew that our parenting experience would not be anything like we thought; that we would face things that we could never have imagined 9 years ago before our girls came, but He has guided and protected through the years and will do so in the ones to come.