Awfully, Painfully, Terribly Awkward: Part 1

I have a love-hate relationship with children.

I love the idea of children, the joy they radiate and the feelings of motherliness I get when I tend to them.

But I struggle with the real deal, the in-your-face with peanut butter and jelly stains, rambunctious and sometimes naughty reality of children.

p.s. I’m laughing as I write this article. Just so you know, I don’t hate children (at all). But I am terribly, awfully, painfully awkward around them … let’s proceed with examples.

Growing up, my sister and I babysat as a team. Allie was the fun, game playing, diaper changing, order-keeping sister. And while she kept the children at bay I enjoyed cleaning the house. Having inherited my dad’s fear of holding small, plushy babies I didn’t learn how to properly change a diaper until I was nineteen and hired at a daycare. (Can you imagined my boss’ thoughts when she learned her employee didn’t even know how to change a diaper!? HA!) At twenty-five I battle being irritated with the quirks of students.

Some women seem to love everything about children … I get cranky after one hour of babysitting.

My mom encourages me that it will be different when I have my own children. And while I am grateful for the encouragement I can’t but wonder what I can do to change. How can I learn to thoroughly enjoy children, to discover the joy in the mess? How do I change a twenty-five year old habit when I’m serious minded and more prone to adult conversation than play?

Prayer and time.

I’m convinced that these alone will change my attitude. I don’t want to just be tolerant — I want to accept unreservedly.

Coming up, I will share how God has been changing my heart toward children. I’ll also write a little something on the patience in waiting for a child. Both are relevant to my life today.

Question: Do you relate well with children? If not, how have you learned to overcome? I’d love to learn from you —  and laugh with you too!

With love, coffee and blessings!
  Frannie
p.s.s. My friend Angel wrote an excellent piece on this very topic so if you love children, want to learn to love children or love random wedding pictures do check her site out. 🙂
p.s.s.s. If you’re reading this and I’ve babysat your children before … please don’t freak out thinking I hated watching your precious babies! Ha! Not true. Every child I have watched (and there have been many) are special bundles of personality that I love and appreciate and I look forward to watching in the future.

8 thoughts on “
Awfully, Painfully, Terribly Awkward: Part 1

  1. Hey Frannie, I may be only fifteen (almost sixteen), but in recent months I've begun to LOVE kids. I started teaching Sunday school last year in May, and I've loved it. It's not easy, but it is fun. I've been babysitting a lot and even have a babysitting job coming up soon! I hadn't spent a whole lot of time around kids, so it was a struggle getting comfortable around them. But I just love them now!!

    1. Kelsey!

      Thank you for the encouragement!! I am so excited for you as you learn to open your heart and *love* kiddies! God is totally using you and working in you!

      Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment … it was so great to hear!

      Love and blessings to you!

  2. I don't think you have to love those things about children to enjoy your own, or to enjoy working with other people's kids in certain capacities. I never liked babysitting because it was typically a certain age level (preschool or early elementary age kids) and in an environment where they pushed the limits and wanted to do endless, repeated activities of no interest to me. Just being honest. However, when my own kids arrived, the baby love was easy to find. I still didn't really enjoy parts of playing with them as toddlers or lower elementary students – and it was the same things I hadn't liked about spending time with other people's kids at those ages. Now they are growing into what I personally think is the most fun age – about 2nd through 8th grade. I am naturally enjoying almost everything about them right now. This stage will last however long it lasts, and then we will move on to the next stage. I think it's okay that I never enjoyed preschool pasttimes such as Dora, repetitive questions, constant needs, endless diaper and bathroom emergencies . . . but I still took care of those things, of course, because that's what they needed. Some parts of motherhood you just trudge through, and I think that's realistic and okay. I have a friend who loves the baby/toddler stage so much, and feels more irritated by the elementary school stage. Everyone is different. I can completely relate to your feelings about babysitting. It was something I never really enjoyed. As far as parenting, I do not believe in the "enjoy every moment" sentiment. Not every moment is enjoyable. It's more like a long, difficult hike up a mountain – where sometimes you see beautiful, breathtaking sights. You are pursuing a worthy goal, and you lean in and give it all you've got, even when you don't feel like it. The moments where the sunshine warms you and the valley takes your breath away are gifts from God. But they don't make up the majority of the moments. (Right now, I feel like my kids and I are crossing a flat, sunny meadow with pretty flowers! But the toddler years were like overgrown rocky paths straight up the side.) And that's okay. It is still worth it.

    1. Wisdom, Mrs. Haglin! Thank you for dropping by and leaving such good thoughts.

      I also greatly appreciate your being able to relate and the encouragement not to stress/worry over it all.

      I definitely will be coming back to your words to encourage my heart and soul!

      I am laughing too because I can't imagine how many moms would "amen" you … and how many would be encourage by your down-to-earth thoughts and reality.

      Thank you!!

      Love and blessings!

  3. Girl. We HAVE to find some way to get together and spend some time chatting over a tall mug of coffee. 🙂 You once again described my feelings to a tee.

    My K-3 class has brought out the fears I have of not being able to deal with children ten-fold. Especially the flowing noses yesterday, the peanut butter that somehow missed the mouth and went to the forehead, the constant shriek of "she won't quit looking at me!" and "she won't share those blocks!". Yeah…

    Your right. It will only be prayer and time to help us overcome these fears. And I have begun to even believe when others say it will be different with my children.

    When I begin to doubt myself, I just quote the verse that says children are a blessing, and blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. 🙂

    Thanks for the link-up!

    Have a wonderfully sweet, blessing filled day my friend! 😀

    1. "… the peanut butter that somehow missed the mouth and went to the forehead …"

      Oh, my. I am laughing!!

      Angel, I'm so glad you can relate and I am so glad for your encouragement! I rejoice in the Lord who gives me so many experiences to stretch me and pull me away from my comfort zone … I definitely think children are an experience that simply have to be experienced! Hahahaha!

      I love and appreciate you!

  4. Frannie, I believe your mom is right. If God purposes for you to have a child, you will love that baby more than anything, except maybe your husband. 🙂 And while you may never be the messy arts and crafts mama (I'm not either), you will delight in what brings delight to your children, in the things that are filled with truth, beauty and goodness. xo

    1. Miss Heather … this is lovely and encouraging!!

      "And while you may never be the messy arts and crafts mama (I'm not either), you will delight in what brings delight to your children, in the things that are filled with truth, beauty and goodness." —> That I believe and that I will hold to.

      I appreciate you and the awesome, loving reality of who you are and where God has placed you!!!

      You are an encouragement to me!

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