Dad in Charge

We just finished a crazy two weeks. My wife worked every day (almost) training for a new nursing gig while I stayed in town and sought to do both my work AND her job as mom. I almost pulled it off in week one…lunches were made, kids were transported at almost legal speeds, schoolwork was…..acknowledged. But Week 2.

Oh, Week 2. The lack of any margin, any bandwidth, any wiggle in the schedule bit me. It bit me right on the buttocks, drill sar-gent.

I was doing fine. Really. No, really, I was (ye of little faith). The kids didn’t smell. The toilets were flushed (mostly). The laundry pile was below waist height. We had Doritos in the pantry and left over Papa John’s in the fridge. Sweet! I even managed to get a work project done on time, but…..

It was the doctors appointment on Tuesday afternoon that was the killer. My wife ALWAYS takes the kids to these (God bless her) and it was this innocuous sounding 2:15 pm appointment that killed me. Between driving to pick up my daughter, waiting for the doctor, going to the pharmacy, blah, blah, blah, the entire afternoon was shot. From midday Tuesday through the next 48 hours I left two of my kids locked out of the house; forgot to pick up another and completely dropped the ball on a carpool commitment (oops!). I awoke Thursday morning not having bathed since Tuesday. I was haggard, smelly, and exhausted.

I had failed as a mom.

How Does She Do It?

In a span of 48 hours I experienced mom guilt. Mom forgetfulness. Endless tasks. Lack of appreciation capped off by the kids not eating the flippin’ dinner I cooked. Yup. I felt it all. I may even have had a menstrual cramp or two….I was definitely grumpy.

Honestly, I’m not sure how my wife does it. All I can say is that she is an awesome mom and I totally need her. Not just for…you know, but I mean, I like REALLY need her.

She sometimes thinks I could do it all without her, but I can’t. She is the greatest human gift God ever gave to me. Thank you, babe, for being such an awesome wife. You are needed. You are loved.

And The Takeaway?

Too often I rely on my own strength and abilities to get things done. Too often I feel that I can “plan” and strategize my way to success. This week was a good reminder that I need help. I need friends. I need my wife. I need God. Its really just that simple.

My best efforts to be a “good” father, a “good” husband, a “good” Christian will fail. They will fail. Yours will, too, by the way. If not now, eventually. Relying on our best efforts is not the way we were designed to live. Galatians 2:20 says it best when it shows us the concept of an “Exchanged Life”:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (NIV)

Do you believe that? Do you LIVE like you believe it?

I no longer live. Christ lives in me.

I have been (past tense, dude) crucified with Christ.

I no longer live. Think about that. Its a very simple concept, but oh so hard to live out. My “talent” and flesh and will and pride get in the way too quickly. I jump in to take care of all the things “I can handle”. But if I am truly living by faith in Him, then I’m not the one doing the living. Selah.

It’s a tough deal to wrap your mind around. Like many things in the Christian walk, it is taken by faith. I don’t know about you, but my faith falls short on this all the time. Ending up as a failed mom last week was just a reminder of my self-reliance…and self-reliance only goes so far.

Try This Out

You ever notice how problems you focus on often seem to get bigger and how problems you pray about just seem to kind of go away? I’m not talking about cutting your grass, I’m talking about stuff you really can’t control – that annoying co-worker. Your spouse. Your kids. Your boss….Praying about the situation or (gasp) praying for the people involved is a brutally efficient and almost unfair key to success in these situations.

If you don’t believe me, try it. Take something (or someone) that’s bothering you.  Something you’ve been mumbling under your breath about, complaining about, stressing about and do three things:  1) Write it down; 2) Pray about it (instead of trying to figure it out or fix it) and by faith give it to God; then 3) Tear up the paper and let it go.

But, Jeff, you don’t understand…..Right. I know. Just do it. It works. I can’t explain it. I don’t know how it works, it just does. Could be there really is a Source who actually loves us and wants to help us. We just have to ask.

You thought of what you’re going to write down yet? Yup. That thing. That one right there you just thought of. Go with that for starters. Pray about it whenever it comes up in your mind or heart. Give it a few days or a week or two. You can bet either the situation improves OR your perspective and attitude toward the situation improves. Either way, you win.

It really works…..

Well, substitute mom’s gotta go. Almost dinner time again and the kids are hungry. Now, where did I put those Papa John’s coupons?

Jeff McKinney
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Jeff McKinney

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Jeff McKinney
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