Does this describe your life since having kids? Did some of the quiet times you took for granted disappear? Or did you have kids before you got any quiet moments? When I was pregnant with our fourth child a well-meaning but slightly horrified person said to me, “It’s going to be chaos at your house!” And this woman? She was right!

On any given weekday afternoon, as lunch for the little ones runs into after school snack for the big ones and they’re-eating-I’m-hungry-too wailing from the little ones, I suppress the urge to hide in the bathroom with a book. Homework to be done (NOW! Put down that football!), soccer bags to find, 2 year old to find (I can hear him crying, so he’s here somewhere), snacks to pack, answering service paging me to talk to a patient, helping husband pack his lunchbox for an overnight shift and kisses goodbye…

I have learned to embrace the chaos. I do my best to use a few of the hundreds of opportunities that present themselves each day to actively parent. Granted, sometimes it’s like trying to drink from a fire hose – mostly getting pushed backwards and hardly getting any water! That said, the next day comes with more chances, and children give us years of practice before they tune us out. And , it turns out, that even after they have “tuned us out,” they are still listening, they’re just better at pretending they’re not.

The real reason parenting doesn’t leave any dull moments is that every moment of a childhood is purposeful. Fights and tears are learning experiences. Routine and chores lay the groundwork for character. Moments of laughter teach joy. Overcoming boredom can spark creativity and encourage problem-solving. Even when kids are sleeping they are actually growing!

We’ve lost the dull moments now that the kids are here. Life is bumpy and loud and often very messy. And when (God willing) the kids are grown and flown, I don’t know if I will relish the quiet or work to fill it. I do know that raising children in an environment that has some chaos to be navigated is a great way not only for them to grow, but for me to grow as well. Assuming, you know, that I don’t go completely around the bend to crazytown in the meantime.

I hope you’ll join me on the journey. Share some of your wisdom, shoot down or enjoy some of mine. Ask questions and venture opinions. I look forward to the conversation.

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