Practicing Parents

Blame it on the Law!

~by Kelly Pittman


It has been a heck of a week so far…and it’s only Monday.  Yeah.  One of those weeks.  I shouldn’t be surprised.  My husband is traveling.  You’ve no doubt heard of Murphy’s Law?  Well this is Pittman’s Law of Parenting: when one parent leaves, everything hits the fan.

Perhaps you have a similar law that rears its maddening head in your house too?

The first time I ever left my family after having kids, was for a 2 day retreat.  My son promptly broke his wrist.

When my husband traveled to Israel a few years ago, both kids got the flu and the dog ended up needing to go to the vet for ingesting God-only-knew-what.

So, the hubs just left for Haiti on a 2-week mission trip.  You know what that means…

The day he left I got a call from the funeral home that a beloved member of our church died (I’m his pastoral coverage while he’s gone).  I was still staring at a fairly blank computer screen hours before I had to preach Sunday morning (I’m a little rusty).  And today, as I was literally walking into the church to plan the funeral service and prepare to meet with the family, my cell phone rang and it was the school.  “Mom?  I think I’m gonna throw-up.”  Of course you are, Honey.  Because….Pittman’s Law of Parenting.

Some days it’s all we can do just to keep our head above water.  Today, fellow parents, is definitely one of those days.  It is hard, when we are in the midst of the crazy and the chaos and the interruption of our nice neat plans, to have perspective.  Countless times over the years, I’ve been reduced to tears and later embarrassed by my dramatic show of frustration and impatience, especially toward my children who get caught in the crossfire of the uninvited junk and the proverbial fan.

Maybe it’s because Pittman’s Law of Parenting has become such a predictable menace, but this time I seem to have gained some perspective, thanks be to God.  For when I am weak, God is truly strong.  And maybe I need a little shaking up now and again, to remind me of this promise.  I like the way Eugene Peterson words it in The Message:

“I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”  

(2 Corinthians 12:9-10, The Message)

True confession: I almost bailed on this parenting post.  As I write this, it’s 10pm on the day that I’m supposed to have it submitted.  A couple of hours ago I was so tempted to raise the white flag on this one, dear readers.

But this is what Practicing Parents is all about, isn’t it?  Supporting and praying and crying and rejoicing and laughing and relating with each other on this wild journey of parenting and marriage and ministry and faith and…life.  What a gift of grace God gives us with community.

So I may be sitting here staring at three full baskets of clean laundry that have been sitting unfolded for so many days that we’re gonna look like a litter of shar-peis when we finally put them on.  BUT, what a privilege it is to have kids to clothe and mouths to feed and spouses we can’t live without and sick tummies to comfort and beloved church members to walk with through births and deaths and everything in between.

Tomorrow is a new day.  And even if Pittman’s Law strikes again, all will be well.  After all, we’re into day 4 without Dad so at this point my weaknesses are far outweighing my strengths!  Which can only mean one thing…come Lord Jesus!  It’s all yours!

Kelly shares life and ministry with her husband, 2 kids and 1 mouthy Labrador, in Eastern Michigan.  She is a part-time pastor, part-time hospice chaplain, and full-time wife and mom.  Life is good.


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