Dear Mom of Preschoolers,
Can I give you a hug and tell you I think you’re wonderful?
What you are doing matters.
It matters even when you or people around you think otherwise.
It’s also hard, really hard.
Comparing the dream of what it’s like to be home with preschoolers to the earthy reality is a train wreck. The dream is a Pinterest moment complete with freshly washed, sweet-smelling children doing creative art projects in an amazingly decorated play area. Reality is a muddy mess, complete with screeches, laughter and bodily functions. It is a quantifiable truth that children only smell sweet for the first five minutes after their bath. After that, you’re thankful if the only thing you smell is cheese puffs. Toys are the new decorator style. They are everywhere, under everything, and people never ever drop by when they are picked up. Little hands definitely don’t pick up as well as they dump. Laundry multiplies mysteriously in dark rooms, and everyone always wants a meal or a snack. Preschool mom days are filled with urgent needs, endless chores, and constant commotion.
Few things go as planned.
One child eats everything you put before him and more. He sneaks food off of anyone’s plate, and occasionally rummages in the garbage or dog food looking for a snack. You need locks on your cupboards and a safe for cleaning supplies. If that child can get ahold of it, he’ll eat it. Poison control recognizes your number and knows your name. Another child eats nothing but macaroni and cheese, and then only if it is the right brand and they are in the mood for it. The only guarantee seems to be that whichever child you have, you will feel like it’s your fault. The world will even clamor for the opportunity to let you know that it’s your fault. Everyone (who has no children or has never experienced it) will “know”, and let you “know” most assuredly that picky eaters come from incompetent parents, and garbage snackers are under-disciplined. If you happen to have both kinds of kids you get double the guilt.
Zech.4:10 says “For who has despised the day of small things?”
In context, the Israelites had returned from captivity to the promised land and rebuilt the temple. The people were sad because the temple was smaller and less grand than Solomon’s original temple. It was therefore less than they had anticipated. They were tempted to despise their efforts and the result. Sound familiar? As moms we always think we are not enough, that we fall short. Our reality always seems to be less than we hoped for. Honestly, we’re less than we’d hoped for. We don’t look or act much like that original dream. Preschool moms find themselves overwhelmed with the small things of life. Laundry, toys, booboos, meals etc. They all seem like insignificant things.
God however, warns us not to despise the day of small things; because maybe just maybe the small things are what matter most.
Preschool years are crucial. That is precisely why the enemy fights so hard against you. The mom that teaches a child what a spoon is for and how to use it will also teach what life is about; and how to live it. Since the spoon really works like you say and they even eventually master it, the bond of trust and belief begins. That lifetime bond helps to ensure a future generation that is more ready for the tasks ahead than the previous.
Affecting future generations is exhausting work. This glorious calling comes cloaked in the ordinary tasks of an ordinary life; but those ordinary tasks are of eternal value. The enemy will continually tell you that you were made for greater things. He will mock what you do and declare it insignificant. He will try to distract you, condemn you, discourage you, and over all of that he will shine a magnifying glass on all your failures. If he can convince you that your job doesn’t matter, he has already begun to conquer the next generation.
He realizes what we forget, nothing worthwhile is accomplished in an instant.
Everything that matters takes time to grow and is built bit by bit ……even people. . Every big decision is made up of hundreds of small decisions that were made before it. Every big accomplishment starts with the first brick of a foundation. Your patience while your little one learns a new skill establishes the foundation for his or her character that allows for failure, time to learn, and persistence. As you care for them and meet their needs they learn trust, love, and service.
So mom of young ones, be encouraged. Your job is important. In fact your job is essential. The people under your care are just that… people. People that will be your gift to a world in desperate need of God. Think of that. You are giving a gift to the times you live in, by how you raise your little ones.
All of the ordinary is really quite extraordinary isn’t it?