Parenting Through the Hiccup Moments

Earlier this month, David had to travel to Dominican Republic for two weeks. While he was away, I had help from his mom and from some of my friends, but in the areas of disciplining the kids and making sure order was maintained in the home, I was on my own for the most part, as David was so far away and inaccessible the majority of the time.

Our four kids range in age from five-thirteen years, and they really are great kids. They generally are well behaved, but every so often it seems like we go through what I call a “recalibration time”. This happens when one or more of them seem to have gotten a little fuzzy on the rules and expectations we have set for them, when they slip a little on getting their chores done, have trouble respecting us or one another, or any combination of the above. We handle these bumpy times with consistent reminders and consequences to get them back on track.  

During the two weeks David was away, wouldn’t you know it – we experienced one of these little hiccup moments. It started the day after he left when I caught my youngest cleverly hiding her lunches in hopes of getting hot lunch at school, since we had missed the deadline to order them daily. That same week I caught another forgetting to turn his homework in, two of my boys in a near fist fight after church Wednesday night, several incomplete tasks and chores done around the home, and more. In addition to those parenting challenges, one came down with strep and two with the stomach bug. And, I still had my household and ministry responsibilities to keep up with… All I can say is, it would have been two weeks for the books if David had been there!

One of the things that brought me the most comfort during that two week window David was gone, were people telling me they were praying for me. Each time someone asked me how they could specifically be praying, I would ask them to pray Psalm 103:8 for me, which says, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” I picked this scripture, because it shows how God handles us, His children, when we are in need of correction, love, compassion and more, and I wanted to respond to my children in the same way.

I am happy to say we made it through the two weeks, and our little recalibration moment – stronger and more tuned in and in sync with one another, and the kids were back on track. At the end of our time together, before David came home – I had a few minutes to reflect on the journey of it all, and I was thankful – for my children, for the reminder of how important it is to train them up in the way they should go, for friends who lift me up in times of need, and for a compassionate and gracious God; who through loving us, teaches us and empowers us to love others better, even our own children.

What a beautiful time it was… But I hope I don’t have to do it again anytime soon! 🙂 And, my hats off to you Single mom’s and mom’s with husbands who are deployed – you are my hero’s!

Copyright © 2011 by Amy O’Donnell. All Rights Reserved

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