I was at a pool last weekend and I was observing another mother. She was literally hovering, like a helicopter, over her toddler. I kid you not, Little Johnny was never more than 6 inches from her hand at all times. Mind you… We were in the kiddy pool area where the water is only 1 foot deep.
As I watched her I started to feel inadequate and lazy. I was merely watching from the side. But I wasn’t being lazy, I wasn’t relaxing, or reading a book, or working on my tan (haha, it was an indoor pool, we live in Denver and it is January!). I realized that as a mom of four I have to play zone defense. If I play man-to-man defense it is likely that someone will drown.
In case you are not familiar with my athletic vocabulary… Google can help you out:
Zone Defense — a system of defensive play in which each player guards an allotted area of the field of play and guards an opponent only when the opponent is in his area.
Man-to-man Defense – a system of defensive play, in which each player is assigned to defend and follow the movements of a single player on offense.
I have to make sure I am close enough to assist an emergency but not so close that I can’t see the rest of the kids. God showed me what this means for my life and my particular story… I know there are times when I focus too much on one particular child. Each child seems to work their way in and out of the lime light for good, bad and indifferent reasons.
Meanwhile, if I am not careful, the rest of my kids are going to go under. I have to remind myself to play zone defense, keep my eyes up, and everyone afloat. I would never consciously favor one child over another, but if I’m not careful that is what I am doing.
Each one of them is capable of being my center focus; Payton is the oldest and always doing exciting new things for the first time for our family, Brady requires a lot of my time and attention, James is sweet and easy to love, MaryGrace is the only girl and my last baby.
If I am going to be really real with myself, I have to take a step back, scan the pool, evaluate each child’s breathing, and overall safety. There is nothing wrong with a little one on one. In fact it is something I strive for with each kid, each day. But outside of those shared moments, I have to be on my game.
The same applies to every day life. If I am overly focused on the behavior problems of one child or the wardrobe of another (seriously… dressing a little girl after having 3 boys is way too exciting/time consuming every morning!) I will lose sight of the rest and someone will slip through the zone. There is constant motion in this family; it is fun, and it is never dull, but it is a force to be reckoned with.
Through God’s good grace I will keep my head in the game and dominate on D. We have an ominous God who plays zone and man-to-man all at the same time. I am so grateful I never have to worry about Him letting the water take me under. I am so grateful He is always there, watching, encouraging, protecting, and guiding. He is so good and the ultimate picture of a parent. Only through Him will I be able to do this mothering thing.
I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
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