Feeling Overwhelmed?


I found your wonderful article on 25 Ways to Show Respect to Your Husband and find it very encouraging. On a different note, I have to say that I see the size of your family and I feel. . . I’m not sure how to say it. . . disappointed in myself.

We have five children and this summer with the kids off of school, I just feel so overwhelmed, probably because I am trying to tackle character issues that have gone under my radar all school year (disrespect and unkind words to each other) and also trying to teach them how to work. I just want to know what makes you so. . . capable.

I love my children, but there is not much in me that would cause me to want more to add to the noise level and messes and occasional chaos (“Raise your hand if you want to talk to mom”). I’d love to hear your two cents.

– Overwhelmed Mom

Dear Mom,

I sympathize with you. Parenting is hard work, but I remember it being especially so when we had only four or five children — fewer than four, we didn’t feel so outnumbered; more than five, the older ones were big enough to help in appreciable ways. The stage I found most challenging and overwhelming is the one you are in right now. But be encouraged — it does get easier, especially if you’ll continue to faithfully train your children during this difficult time.

Let me also assure you that we deal with many of the struggles you mentioned at our house, too — including the occasional chaos. It’s not like we can address such issues once and then we’re done; child-training is an ongoing process. Just as in housekeeping the floors will still need to be swept and the dishes will still need to be washed, in raising children, bad attitudes will repeatedly need to be adjusted, misbehavior corrected, arguments settled, etc. For specific suggestions on improving relations between siblings, click here.

For us, we have found it helpful to sit down every six months or so and reassess what we are doing and why, cutting away any extraneous activities and involvements that are not moving us toward our goals. This helps us to stay focused and provides our children with clearly defined rules, rewards, and consequences.

Do not lose heart! The God who gives us the children will also provide the wisdom, strength, patience, and energy required to raise them. It is His grace and His grace alone that makes any of us capable and effective parents.

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