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So far, my least favorite age is three (from my view as a mother, not as a three-year-old – I’m sure I thought being three was amazing). But age three is also one of my favorites. My three-year-old son can be one of the most ornery, stubborn, and frustrating kids I know. However, he’s also super funny, full of joy, and has a loving heart. There’s a lot of discipline and lots of fun. He’s one of four children, each of whom is very different (aside from looking the same). Each age and stage has its own joys and challenges.

When parenting this toddler, I must be consistent, adaptable, loving, kind, patient, gentle, authoritative, encouraging, and firm, all while making sure the others are taken care of in the same manner, the house is clean, dinner is delicious and ready on time, and the laundry is finished. If you’re anything like me, this is impossible! The world today is all about women who can have it all, and all the glory goes to them when things are perfect. Except I don’t think things really are perfect for these women. I think their Instagram and Facebook pages show only the best of them, while in reality, the kids are crying in every other picture and the rest of the house is a disaster. On the flip side, being a hot mess is also glorified and celebrated. The world is full of mixed signals! The truth lies in His Word, and we need the Bible and Jesus more than anything. I can do some of the things listed above some of the time, but any time these things fall into place, the glory goes to Jesus. We’re nothing without Him. We need to find the balance between being “perfect” and being the “hot mess” and give all the glory to Him!

Raising children is hard work, and we can’t shy away from it. We need to rely on Jesus to help us through the difficulties of each age and stage our children go through. We need to praise Jesus when we experience joy with our children and when we see the fruit of our labor. The Word of God does not return void (Isaiah 55:11) and if we follow what it says, we’ll see fruit in our children.

When we experience a particularly difficult stage with one or more of our children, we can’t be so proud that we don’t ask for help. Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” We should seek help from the godly women in our lives. Hearing from a panel of other moms is always helpful. More likely than not, one of them has gone through the same thing you’re going through now!