When I first became a mother, I had no idea it was even possible to love someone so much. I have loved much in my life, but nothing compared to the true, unconditional, pure love I felt that started the very first moment I saw my little bean during my first ultrasound at 7wks. Before he was even fully formed, before he had taken his first breath, before I even saw his face, I loved him. The moment I held him I felt like I could never love anyone that much...ever. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was ecstatic, seriously over the moon! I knew I would love her, I felt I could love her just as much because she was a "she" so it would be different than it was with my son. At the same time, I still worried that I just wouldn't have enough love to go around. The amazing thing was when she was born the "seperation" of my love that I had been trying to prepare myself for never happened, in fact, it was the exact opposite. I not only loved her, but I loved her just as much as I had loved Maddox that first moment, and I never "lost" any of the love I felt for my son. In fact, as they grew the love I had for both of them grew as well, not only because of them, but because of how they were together. Watching them interact, seeing the love God had knit into their hearts towards each other, I loved them even more than the very first day. My love just continued to grow. And with the addition of Kason, I felt my heart might burst from too much love. I worry, not that I may not love them enough, but that I may love them so much that I won't be able to stand it. That with each addition to our family, my heart will become so full, that I just won't be able to continue.
I heard a lovely woman speak today about her children, and I pray that as my children grow the words she spoke about her children will be woven into the fabric of my own family. She has 5 children and recounted an amazing moment when some friends had asked her which was her favorite. I've gotten this question from people who don't have multiple children, who worry, the same way I had, that with each additional child your love for the other children changes. She told them, as I would have, that she loves them all equally, that she loves them all in their own way because of who they are, but she does not love any of them more than the other. That is obvious to me, but what she said next is what I will claim for my family, what I will pray I can instill in my children as they get older. Each child, one after the other, came to her privately and told her, "I know that I'm your favorite. I know you couldn't say it in front of the others, so we'll just keep it between us." What a precious, precious moment for that mother. To know that she is raising her children in such a way that each one feels they are her favorite. That none feels left out, that none feels less important, that they not only feel "equal" but that they each see themselves as "the best". Praise God. So how do we do this? How can we accomplish this sense of importance in our children?
It's another "complaint" I've heard about the Duggar family. That there is "no way they can give enough attention to all of their chldren equally." But what does this accusation stem from? The amount of time there is in a day in relation to the amount of children? What does time have to do with how our children feel? What does having siblings have to do with how our children feel about themselves? NOTHING. If we are instilling in our children the truth about who they are, they will never feel unloved, abandoned, left out, or less important. Our children, no matter how many we have, are loved. They are loved unconditionally, purely, and intentionally. They are a blessing, they are a miracle. They have a specific calling and purpose in their life that God has given them. If we raise them to believe this of themselves then how will they ever feel less than "the best"?
There are things we can do to actively make them feel special. If you pay attention to your children you know the littlest thing makes them feel important, that all it really takes to make them happy is to be involved with them. Let them help you "make" breakfast (even if it ends up doubling or even tripling the amount of time it would take you to do it yourself, like it always does in my house). Have a special one-on-one date with them that you build up for the several days before. Let them pick the "activities" so they feel like it's a special day all about them. Do crafts with them or read them a special book, anything they show interest in spend time doing that rather than watching TV. We send our children to school for 8 hours a day and children watch TV for an average of 4 hours a day (this number jumped to 7hrs 38min by the age of 8)...that is at least 12 hours our children spend not engaged with us. If they sleep for 6-8 hours a night that leaves 4-6 hours a day that our children are spending with us. That means if we follow this model they spend at least 83% of the day with influences other than us. Mommas, it is no wonder we feel like we can't give our children enough attention. I know not every mother feels called to homeschooling, I know some mothers feel called to work outside of the home, but we need to seriously evaluate what we are doing with our time, where our priorities are, and what we do with the little time we have with our children.
If your children overheard someone ask you, "Which one is your favorite?" what would their answer be? Would they come to you with a smile and say, "I know it's me!" or would they be left wondering. What obstacles are standing in the way of your time with your children? What things are keeping your children from feeling like "the best"?