The Nature of the Beast, A Problem to be Addressed, or Failure as a Mother
These are the questions that occurred to me this past Monday during our chore time. Mondays are hard. We have come and gone and played all weekend. Things have been ignored, which is fine. I am one to believe a house should be lived in. I am one to believe that over-kill on cleanliness is too much pressure, too much angst, causing way too much misery. Sometimes you just have to live and clean later. This is our Mondays—the clean later!
So, the first order of the day is their rooms. I know they are their rooms. I do. I also know it is MY house and they live under it. I know that I have to pick my battles, I do. But this is one battle I can’t quite figure out how a godly mother is to tackle it! I told them all to please pick up their clothes—the clean ones in piles on their dresser, the dirty ones on the floor, and the questionable ones hanging off of dressers and hooks etc. … Monday and Friday are laundry days. I do all laundry on Monday and Friday. I instructed them to please pick up their rooms first before moving on to their weekly assigned daily chore.
When they all left their bedrooms as quickly as they did, I knew it wasn’t good. I called one back. I called another back. I went further into the rooms and discovered clothes in corners, thrown there to keep from being seen, maybe? Maybe not. Maybe they were just missed because not one child truly had their heart in the chore. Minimal effort is always the name of the game when it comes to keeping their clothes in order and their rooms clean. So, what is a mother to do?
I will tell you that it creates in me a very wrathful spirit. I work hard. There is a lot on my plate every day. And while they do have chores, for the most part their effort daily and the work I require from them day in and day out is pretty light—pretty light indeed. So is it a problem to persevere in and be solved? Is it simply the nature of the beast that is teenagers, and I should let it go? Or is it a colossal failure on my part as a mother that I have sons who do not do everything as unto the Lord and not as unto men? What is a mother to do? Really! If you know please tell me.
I end up feeling abused, unappreciated, unloved, and taken for granted. I get very angry inside and fight a feeling of walking out on the whole lot of them! How’s that for godly motherhood emotions? Yeah. I am being very real here. I do. I want to walk out the door, catch a bite to eat somewhere, catch a movie, and leave them to tend to themselves—something I am sure they would love and they would not truly miss all my work and ministrations for days and days to come! So if I think that leaving them is some sort of painful lesson for them to learn, well it would be long time in coming. But I weary. I weary. I weary in well doing. I weary in teaching and instructing and rearing up godly men. I just want to throw up my arms and say, “Who cares?” The thing is, I care.
Why? I truly don’t know, but I do. And messy rooms with clothes all over the floor make me edgy, nervous, irritable, and not as joyful as I could be! That is the fact of the matter. I wish it were different. I wish I could ignore the mess, but truth is I can’t! I do sometimes go down the hall, peer into the pits, see the mess, give a heavy sigh and simply close the door. I do that a lot actually. Sometimes you just don’t have the energy, the chutzpah to deal with it! Sometimes you just know that today isn’t the day to pick this battle. So you let it go. I think to myself of the parents who have lost their children and would long to have this problem to deal with. I thank the Lord for my sons and ask forgiveness for my murmurings and complaining. I truly do that more times than not. Then there are days, like this other Monday morning, and well, let’s say I don’t do that!
So what did I do? I called them all into a bedroom. I told them up front that I truly didn’t know what to do. I told them that I struggled with understanding if it is the nature of the beast that is teens, or a problem to solve, or a failure on my part; but that I knew I couldn’t handle it any longer. I told them that when they have their own house they can live like slobs all they want, but for now while they are under my roof they must, they must take better care of their rooms. I told them I didn’t think I was asking too much for each son to pick up after himself; and that if they would do JUST that they would find that there isn’t a lot of work to do.
I have no idea what went through their minds. I could see on their faces that they couldn’t wait for me to stop talking so they could just get their rooms in order and be done with it! Why they didn’t the first three times I asked for it to be done, I don’t know. There. You have my darkest confession about the true state of our home. I often have to ask my sons to do something not once, not twice, but three times before it is done correctly. Yep. It’s true! How much easier was it when they were toddlers to simply have them reciting our little saying? “How do we obey?” Right away, all the way, and in a happy way.” Then they would do what I told them and that would be the end of it.
Oh well. This too shall pass. Did I figure it out? Not really. I still am not sure if it is a failure on my part, a problem to be fixed, or simply the nature of teens that I should accept and not battle. It depends on the day I suppose. How’s that for consistency in parenting?! I am just doing the best I can. I am thankful for their presence and all too soon they will be gone. I try to take deep breaths and remember that. And thankfully, I know that when I am weak, then I am strong. Thankfully, I know that His power is made perfect in my weakness. Thankfully, in the grand scheme of things it’s just a bunch of dirty clothes in a messy room! But some days it seems so much bigger than that!