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Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Change Your Picture



I'm told I don't have a life. I don't know how often I've said that to myself. Or thought it.
But it's been a lot.
And I want to address this subject of 'not having a life' we hear of and speak of so often.

About 3 weeks ago, I was honored with the good ol' parental obligation of taking away privileges. It became a big thing in our home that day. BIG. I won't even go into the original reason, but we took computer privileges away from my oldest, about to be a teenager-but still a child, son. The original sentencing consisted of 2 days or so, but gradually additional days were added per attitude. Somehow, we wound up around the 2 1/2 week mark with no laptop, no phone.

He has only had a phone for a couple of weeks and technically it doesn't have service, but it's my old phone and is still able to connect to WiFi, so we thought we'd let him use it, all the while making it clear that it is still my phone and I am able to let whomever use it of my choosing. But mainly, he's the oldest, so we let him keep tabs on it. It was long awaited and begged for and he loved it from the moment it was handed over. So along with the laptop (his first love), it was the 2nd to go.

When do I get it back?- is always the first question. Usually in disgust.
NOT how can I change my attitude to get it back or what can I do to win your trust again, Mom?
When rolled eyes (by him) and pure frustration (by me) changed to let's sit down and talk, I was finally able to pull together my thoughts on what was happening and why. And then we talked.
"You will get it back when I feel you understand what life is really about and what it's not about."
I know that's big and deep, but it's not really. Life is not about the computer. Life is not about the phone. Or the tablet. Or the Wii U. Or the Xbox One. Or even 'wince'... Netflix. The computer we let you use is not a right. It is a privilege.  And your phone is not real life. When I say "Do your homework" or "It's time for church" or "Get ready for school" or "Come and eat" or "Let's do something as a family" - I am not interrupting your real life with things like family/ God/ responsibility because I loathe you and want to (I quote) ruin your life. Despite what you may feel at that moment.

Life is simple at this point. God. Family. Responsibilities. That's what I told him.
That's what having a life is. For real.
(I will add friendship on as well, because obviously that is important. But if you tell that to a 12 year old in the year 2016, with friendship automatically comes skype and gaming or things of the like, and we aren't going there for now.)

My heart to heart with my son turned into a day date with him with lots of hugs, apologies and him nodding his head in agreement of what I was trying to teach him. We had a fun day. However my words sat with me so much longer than that day.
What is life really about?

Just days later, those very words "you don't have a life" were casually flung in my direction (not by my son, for the record). Whether or not it was intended doesn't matter, because either way it made me think hard about what I do each day, what I want to be doing and who I am doing it for....

I don't currently work outside the home. I had a good 20+ years of work on the outside starting at the age of 14 and will probably get back there someday and will have the rest of my life to do so, but for now I stay home with my little man and of course, my four kids in the summer. I don't really want to miss a moment. (Well, maybe a couple moments wouldn't hurt -hint: free babysitters please) But it's just where I am, personally. And it's where I want to be. Over the course of the ups and downs of my adult life, I've realized what I want out of this life and I am 'going for it."
Going for it sounds small to to others when you are "just sitting around" -at home. But raising a family, being with your children and involved in almost every single moment of every day and experiencing every moment with them is gigantic. And beautiful. And exhausting too, in it's own way. If being a mom and who God called me to be isn't enough, I do also home school my oldest son part time (which even part time feels like a full time job some days- props to you full time home school Mommas!). I watch other peoples kids occasionally so they are able to work. And I volunteer more hours than people realize for our church all week long. Not to mention, I write my heart out when I can squeeze in some midnight moments like tonight.
But primarily in this season of my life, it is my honor to just be Mom. I can't imagine it any other way. When I tickle and snuggle my baby boy after the big kids leave for school in the mornings or when I pick my girls up from school and Leila talks my ear off or when I sit with Jada and we do devotions together or when I sit with Wesley and we go over his home school lessons together and he gets distracted with telling me minecraft stories, I never ever thought of it as not having a life. Every single time, I think to myself, this is what life is all about. Honoring the Lord, by loving my family and training them in the way they should go. This is the desire God has given me. In this particular season, yes, this is what I am designed for. For such a time as this...

All the other things we can desire or strive for on this earth, I wouldn't say they are always distractions from the true abundant life, but they certainly can be if we let real life become more about them and less about what will stick with us...

It makes me ponder all the Mommas out there who have had this very thought or said these very words out loud. I don't have a life.  I don't get any sleep. I can't get a babysitter. I don't ever get a break. I used to love to read. I wish I had time for myself. We say it jokingly in our facebook posts or to the other moms, but half way crying on the inside, wondering where our life went. All this because real life is kicking your tail every single day.
Girl, you DO have a real life... and this is it. The circumstances may have changed (and become better really, I think)...But this is abundance if you know how to really live smack dab in the middle of it.
Be so so thankful and embrace each breath, each giggle, each minute. Work hard and at the same time, just rest. You're doing it. You do have it all. The dream. You just have to change the picture in your head of what life is supposed to be. (Thanks for that, Hart of Dixie!)

To all the Mommas that work so hard outside the home and come home to just a few short hours with their babies each night, to all the Mommas busy creating and writing and designing in between those home school lessons, to all the Mommas who desperately love their children, and are taking care of someone else's children too and never seem to have a kid free moment... I just want you to know, what you are doing is important. This is life. It's not a matter of not having one. It's a matter of what you what you want out of it, make of it, who the grace comes from and all glory goes to.

Change Your Picture.

When our desire and pursuit of God's heart, 
our recognition of the beautiful design of family (and friendship), 
our ambition to take on responsibility genuinely and with integrity, 
and our passion for honoring the Lord by using our talents and chasing those dreams God placed inside of us...
When these things all come together, then we have found a beautiful life and yes, a real life.
We have found the abundant life Jesus wanted for us and gives us. 
It's not about the things, the jobs, the titles, the comparisons...
It's about knowing who you are in Christ and embracing all He's placed around you and on the inside of you. Don't let it sit there. Stand tall in those roles you play in life. Wear all those hats proud. And as you do every moment, do it in honor to the one who gave it all to you.




Friday, August 28, 2015

Mom Guilt.



This afternoon my girls started walking out the door to head next door to my sister's house (yes, she lives next door) and immediately I went in panic mode. My sister has a brand new three week old baby girl and who knows where my kids hands have been. I don't keep perpetual tabs on what their fingers are digging in or playing with, but I know whatever it is, it probably made their fingernails grimy and black and sticky and I can only assume that no one wants the gritty fingers of adventurous children touching the cheeks of their first precious baby girl. So I panicked. I made them scrub their hands and I pulled out the toenail clippers, because I couldn't find a fingernail one. A toenail clippers will do just fine. And I cut those babies down as far as they would go. I breathed a sigh of relief. Almost. I knew Leila had just been running through the dirt without her shoes on. Here's to sending her off and hoping she doesn't take her shoes off while she's out of reach.

Mom Guilt.

Last night, my son sort of went into a mild hysteria. It suddenly dawned on him that school was just around the corner, when I told him at 10:30 it was time for bed and it was time to get on a school bedtime schedule. His bedtime is actually 9:30 on school nights, but I'm easing him in. He nagged, cried, yelled a little, begged and then he mumbled something about people 'controlling his life.' And before I knew it, the word "brat" popped out of my mouth and everything in me wanted to pull it out of the air. I also wanted to take back a summer full of bedtimes at midnight for him, but what can I do about it now? Deal with the repercussions of my inconsistencies as a parent. Inconsistencies suck.

Mom Guilt.

Last week, the girls were playing quietly and working hard all day in their bedroom. I saw blankets and tables being dragged into their room and I turned a blind eye to the inevitable tornado I was sure had hit their bedroom. I knew it was being demolished. But they were being so quiet and I was enjoying the silence.
And also, I'm a type B personality. I'm not saying a bit of panic or irritability doesn't set in when the house is a mess and people are on their way over or if I'm trying to work or watch TV and there are clothes and lucky charms strewn about. Stress happens. But usually, I tell myself to chill. Enjoy life. Yes, I can enjoy life in a mess, because my kids come before the house. My happiness is found in Jesus. And I simply don't have time to do it all. Particularly not in the summer when I have 4 kids and their friends over all the time. So I rest in the fact that I will get to it when I can.
However, this particular Saturday, I had just recently put the mattresses back on the bed from the bridge the girls built the day before with them and I left the house. The moment we had re-entered the house, I caught them in their room with the mattresses back off the beds and they said they were "making a book" with them. I put the kibosh on the book making fun and Jada told me in character of a typical nine year old that I was mean. In fun, I took the situation to facebook and asked how many moms out there were 'mean' like me and would not let their kids turn their mattresses into a book. The response basically bit me in the tush because it boiled down to 98% of them were mean by their own claim and were seemingly appalled that I had let it go that far.
I basically got the "I would never!!!" vibe.
And suddenly it kicked in.

Mom Guilt.

Most days, I realize the mom guilt or self condemnation by any nature sets in when I compare myself with other people. Other moms. Other pictures on my Instagram feed. Probably type A's. In any case, I compare and I suddenly feel like I don't feed my kids the right foods. My kids aren't being home-schooled. I don't do crafts with my kids (at least not on a regular basis). I'm not a room mom at their school or on the PTA nor do I care to be. I let them make bridges with their mattresses occasionally. And yes, they eat in their room and their carpeting is paying for it. (Not to mention, my eyes and sometimes my feet.)

Am I the only one that feels the tremendous guilt weighing down on you when you find out what someone else is doing or isn't doing? Perhaps you are a working mom who longs to be at home with your children. Perhaps you are a stay at home mom, who feels like you should be providing better for your family. Maybe you rush home after a busy day only to feed your kids cereal or a peanut butter sandwich. Maybe you feel like you don't have time to study up, much less have money to buy organic, gluten free, paleo foods for your family. I've been in tears as I've watched other moms from a distance. I've seen their successful businesses made with 6 kids in tow while they homeschool and pastor a church or travel the globe and I think to myself, "How Lord? How do they do it and still seem so happy?"

All I can come up with is that God has equipped them in this time and this season to do what they are doing. And same goes for you and I. God has equipped us in this time for this season to do what we are doing. He hasn't asked you to do more. He hasn't asked you to do what that girl is doing. As a mom, God gives you the direction, you the grace, you the time to just be MOM. Being mom doesn't come with a rule book or a play by play. And the rules and suggestions of our culture are always changing so you certainly can't go by that. You have to go by your heart, your intuition and where He is leading you to. Sometime his leading allows for some unstructured fun in your kids bedrooms. I'm not kidding. I've felt that 'nudge' to let go of my own self proclaimed precedent about what life or family should or shouldn't be and I've learned to go with the flow.
I've followed His leading. His simple leading to enjoy life. Enjoy my family.
Don't wait for the weekend or for vacation. Enjoy it today, even in the rush.

I'm not saying structure is wrong. Or rules are wrong. Or schedules are wrong. They are all great. And perfect for you, if you know how to work them and maybe you thrive on them. But I'm talking to the 'everyones' who feel guilty because they don't feel like they match up to the next persons way of doing life. Maybe you are a structured by the book kind of mom and you wish you were more laid back. All I know is this: Follow that God appointed parental intuition on the inside of you. It's there for YOU and YOUR family.

I'm always learning. I'm always re-evaluating. I told my son last night as he was in tears about 'having to go to school to learn' that  90% of our life is learning (okay I don't have the statistics on that, but you get what I'm saying.). It never stops. I told him, I'm learning right now how to talk to you & work with you. Life is a continual process. And when I screw up and say something to my kids I feel badly about, I make sure to set the standard at apologizing with sincerity. Mommy makes mistakes, but I shouldn't have said that. I didn't mean it. So they know that it's okay to make mistakes, but it's better if we learn from them and resolve the problem or hurt we created.

So for all of us moms. Or parents.
Know that you are fully equipped with everything it takes to be a good parent... or a better parent if that's what you desire.. It doesn't take more money or healthier foods or more craft nights, being on the PTA or less mess. Or maybe it does. But just know you have what it takes. You have the ability to make sound decisions and fill their hearts with love and adventure right where you are.
You are enough.

Because He made you to be.




Sunday, July 12, 2015

Parenting, Grace + Doing "It All"



It's been a quiet place around these parts lately. I don't really have any reason or excuses to give. I actually could rattle a list of things that have kept me busy/ entertained/ losing my marbles, but nobody is asking me for a list. I've been settling lately. Settling for just being, not so much doing. I'll be honest. It takes effort these days for me to hop on here and write something. Anything. And all my energy is sunk into family in this season. I feel like I've been saying that all year long, but since having a 4th child and with him still being a baby, it's just true. Ya know? It is what is is. I'm wiped.

I have noble head goals to want to do more for myself. I want to go full steam ahead or I want to take it day at a time. Whatever works. But I've done neither. Because parenthood really does take it out of you and you really have to be super duper intentional to get anything done in life other than 'the kids.'

I don't beat myself up too much. When I realized a month has gone by, then two months since I sat down to write...my fists clenched a bit, my heart felt a little frustrated and in that moment, I tell myself "What is wrong with you? Just do it. Do what you want to do. Get it done...better yet, Get 'er done." And then someone yells "MOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!" And that's that. And that's why I don't beat myself up.

I'm so very thankful for the grace of God in this season. I can't say that enough. I seriously believe all parents must have a dose of God-given ability to raise little people into big people. Believer or not, that ability is God given. It's just learning to rely on Him which takes some practice and faith. Self reliance leaves us feeling frustrated and imperfect. Because none of us can do it alone. Who really wants to go at it alone?

I think sometimes we dwindle the grace of God to be a blanket to cover our sin or weakness. Or we mistakenly use it to excuse our laziness. He never intended for us to be bound to our weakness so that He could simply cover for us when we fail. He wanted us strong. He wanted us to rely on Him. He wanted us durable so that we could hunker down and finish this course with joy and satisfaction. His grace is a spring board that we can catapult from and move forward, despite our human weakness. It picks us up and gives us the muscle along the way to move faster, lift harder, and carry bigger loads if they are dropped in our lap.

Grace isn't a covering or a blind eye to what went wrong. It's so much more. It's a strengthening to help us get it right. And we all need more of that.

When Paul addressed the things going wrong in his life, God told him "You got this. Why? Because "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So Paul then said he is content to admit he is weak, because then the power of Christ can strengthen him and work through him. 
(2 Corinthians 12:9) It kept him going!

The other day I had a friend comment on my facebook that she loved 'how open and honest' I was about life. I so appreciated that comment because I felt that all these words I spill out into the world are not pointless. Some days I wonder. But I know this sort of gut wrenching openness wouldn't be as easy if I didn't know victory and peace on the other side of the stories I share. 
If I spilled my guts without sharing my glory, it would really just be me candidly complaining about life and everything in it.  But I'm open about my frustrations + weakness + victories as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, in my health, in my commitments and goals, because it's real life. And more importantly, because in my real life there is real grace to do it all, sometimes go through it all, sometimes trudge through it all...knowing that HOPE that only lies in Jesus. It's His ability alone working through me that keeps me moving, keeps me real, keeps me victorious in the end.

Let me say this. I don't try to do it all or be it all or trudge through anything just for the sake of doing it. Or to win some sort of award for rule following. Or to measure up to some level of perfection I saw on Pinterest. 

I don't even really even try to do "it all." When I say it all, I mean, I do what I have on my plate just because it's there set in front of me. Don't get bent out of shape thinking I'm struggling to reach some unseen level of perfection to be noticed by God or anyone else for that matter. I do what I have to do and my aim in every basic life activity is to bring Glory to Jesus. Why shouldn't it be?

On the other hand, I'm not trying to give the illusion that I don't want to do more with my time on this earth. Mostly, I want to do more in my personal life. But I'm still learning in some ways how to rely on that grace to catapult me into all those dreams I have for my life. And it's okay that I'm still learning. It's okay to admit I don't have it all down pat yet. It's okay if I never get there. It's okay if I am just Mom and Wife and Friend and Sister and Daughter of God....but when I do all those things and be that person, my desire is I do it all for His Glory. Keeping my eyes on Him...

"We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne." Hebrews 12;2




Sunday, August 24, 2014

Because I Told You So



Proverbs 31:26
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.

As a parent, I question myself a lot. 
I question my husband a lot. Our tactics. Are we carefully parenting? Are we mindful of how our words or actions can affect our children long term? I scrutinize my own words once they hit the air. And I judge myself. Perhaps sometimes too harshly, I don't know.
Those times when I lose my patience.

I really think about the future a lot as a parent. I think about their future.
If I am honest, I would say it is an area where fear has crept in and I have to continually ask the Lord for wisdom,
"Am I doing this right~this mom thing? Am I really the best mom that he (or she) could have?"
My kids tell me all the time that I am the best mommy in the world. Of course they think the world of me, but I want more than that. I want everything for them. I want to teach them to think about the future. Not in 'what do you want to be when you grow up' kind of way. But more of a 'WHO do you want to be when you grow up' kind of way?
And I want them to WANT to be a person of integrity and character. I want them to WANT to love Jesus. I want them to WANT to treat others with respect and kindness. I don't know that I was ever really challenged with that question-who do you want to be? I don't know that it would have mattered to me at such a young age.

Is everything 'because I told you so?'
Is it? Seriously? Is it? Is that just how it is with kids? At what point do they decide to start treating their siblings nicely just because they love them? I mean, DO they love them?  At what point do they decide to do their homework because they are simply motivated to do so on their own? Okay, that second question may have been reaching, because I don't ever remember being motivated to do homework, but I know their are kids more ambitious than I was. How do I make my kids be one of those kids? How do we get our kids to think about their future?
I read this incredible post by Lysa TerKeurst called Before They Go To School...Have This Conversation and it spoke volumes to me. It was all about teaching our kids to pre-decide who they want to be. Who do you want to be when your friends are making fun of someone? Who do you want to be when you come across drugs? Who do you want to be when your mom asks you to clean your room? It's all about WHO you want to be...Decide right here and now what you will do when you come across this, this or this... Decide right now what attitude you will have no matter what when this happens.

(By the way this is just as good for us adults. I'm all about pre-deciding lately)

Does that make sense? Our kids are young. We make them do what we (our family) do, of course. And we will continue to do so. But I also want them to one day choose for themselves to do it because we are instilling it in them to do it the right way and it's something admirable and it's truth. Not JUST 'because I told you so.'  I want to get it into their heads now to choose the right attitude before they become teenagers and choose the wrong one. Make a decision NOW who you want to be and start working on that person. Don't wait until your life is filled with mistakes that you have to go back and try to fix, patching up scars and broken hearts. I want to shield them from the mistakes I made. I want to shield them from hurt. And the only way I know to do that is to teach them to decide WHO they will be in 10 or 20 years and start making their choices now to be that person.


It's so hard to do though with kids. Their world is NOW.
They can't seem to comprehend that choices we make today affect our tomorrow. Their laziness about their messy room may not seem like its a big deal today, but it is the attitude about it that may very well affect their life tomorrow. It's a daily prayer of mine as a parent to get this right. I love the word intentional. It means I do things on purpose. I don't want to parent by default. Some days we can't help it. Toddler meltdowns. Newborn cries. Pre-teen attitudes. Teenager drama. Life doesn't always go as planned. But I can always intentionally look to the Lord for wisdom. And in between all the ins and outs of a sometimes messy momma's life, he can give me the words to say with the patience to say it (not scream it).

I was thinking about this today on our exhausting car ride home from our mini vacation today. One in which ended with my oldest son being grounded from the computer after his complaining followed by disrespect for me followed by public defiance. He kept asking and crying for another chance after we had given him several already. My mind was exhausted. I cried silently "Lord, I don't know what to do. What am I doing wrong?"

I heard this. You are more.
You are more than a strict mom and more than a too permissive mom. You are more than a mean mom and more than a not enough mom. You are more than a mom that yells too much and more than a mom that doesn't discipline enough. You are more than an exhausted mom and more than lazy mom. You are more than a tired mom. YOU ARE MORE. I gave you THESE children and I gave you the ability to handle them, care for them, nurture them, teach them, discipline them, instruct them, love them & play with them. YOUR kids were given by ME to be blessings to YOU. I trusted YOU with these precious lives because I knew with my grace and my strength you are MORE than what you see or feel.
You have ME living on the inside of you to guide you and lead you through their different life transitions. Keep asking me and I will keep instructing you...and don't be afraid of their future. My word says "Start children off in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not turn from it." `Proverbs 22:6

The Lord just reassured me that its not by my strength, but by his strength that lies in me. 

As parents, we should never ever hesitate to ask God for his wisdom. Cry to him & reach up asking him for a refreshing of strength each day. Commit your day to him before it even begins. Commit those little lives to him each day. If they are more His than ours, then He will be there to instruct you how to love them. Being a mom is hard. It's lots of work. It is a life of selflessness and patience, endurance and never giving up. We should never have "had enough" of them, nor should we give up on ourselves. We can do this.

Linked up with Mommy Moments.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Beyond Newlyweds & Toddler Tantrums


Yesterday as I was talking to a couple of friends at church, a mother and her adult daughter, we began a discussion of our children and some heavy issues that have risen as our children have grown older. I mean serious stuff that you only think of affecting teenagers or adults, yet these issues seemed to have made their way into our children's lives~our children who were just preschoolers a few years ago.  Discussing these, we brought up our fears over whether these things would make their way into their lives as teenagers and adults. Fears that I don't even want to discuss generally, because I don't like to give fear and worry a place to grow and develop into something more than just fear. Yet, we take these issues seriously because these are after all, our children.

Honestly, there was a small part of me that was thankful that I wasn't completely alone. It's far easier to talk to someone with children that are older, when you  have older children. And I remembered back when our church had a panel of women speak that had grown children offering wisdom and helpful advice to those of us that were in the beginning stages of motherhood. At that time, I only had Wesley and he was just a little guy....maybe 2 years old.

Since then, all kinds of things have come up. Things that I never imagined. And alot of times, feeling helpless, I take my questions or concerns to facebook. I have alot of friends on there with teenager or college age children...and sometimes you just need the encouragement from someone who has been in your shoes. And other times we are able to offer advice and encouragement to someone because we have been in their shoes.

We are always able to pray and listen to others. But sound wisdom and advice that can be respected can really only come from someone who has been where you are standing.

When I first started blogging, I had another blogger ask me to write a piece for her blog on marriage. Because I had been married for 16 years at that point (now going on 18 years) and she felt that I may have a thing or two to offer much of the blogging world, seeing that the majority are younger than I and have been married far less years than I. It was true, I did. And I had a lot of people email me after writing that piece. I shared it several times on different blogs, and those people shared it with others...
And though I have made it through 18 years, I still don't believe I know everything. Nor do I always follow my own advice.

While I respect and read many blogs and listen to many speakers and the knowledge and wisdom they have gained about marriage, children, ministry or life's issues in general... it's when someone has walked ahead of me that I feel I can truly seek something out that I may need to hear. I always feel myself smirk when someone who has been married a year or two gives me marital advice. That doesn't mean I don't take their relationship advice to heart...and to the Lord. Because I do. I'm always looking for opportunity to learn. But my initial reaction is generally "I hope your advice works just as well for you in 15 years."

I cherish the prayers of all I have gone to for prayer. But I also cherish the advice and wisdom who have counsel to offer, because they know what I am still trying to figure out.  
That stage of their life has passed.

And that goes for myself too. I never try to offer advice or even relate to something I don't really understand yet. I have another friend that has grown children that has had some struggles & fears recently. And I can't begin to even fathom what she is going through because my children are still fairly young. I offer her prayer and scripture and encouragement and it's genuine, but I can't begin to help or offer 'advice' in areas I have no experience in.
And believe me, I too, want the good healthy wisdom of those who have had teenagers, because I see those years approaching quicker than I realize. I see the attitudes, the more serious issues try to sneak their way in...and I want to know. How do I deal with this? 


 I've been in tears more than once this past month, completely clueless how to approach certain things. Things that feel bigger than toddler tantrums or sippy cups.
When my ten year old comes home telling me how lonely he is or crying that he is depressed, that sounds big to me. It sounds unheard of. It sounds almost ridiculous. Yet it happens. And it's happened to me. 
And I have felt alone trying to figure this out. Trying to be the momma God called me to be. 
To the children that God gave me. I know God knows I can do it. 
So that must mean I can do it.
But sometimes we just need a little guidance from someone who has been there. 

It prompted me to ask this question on twitter a little while ago "How many momma bloggers out there have children over the age of 10?" So far, I haven't gotten one reply. I know a handful of bloggers that do, and that have had similar struggles and I am very thankful I am not alone. But from the blogs I have come across mostly, the women are young mothers of young children.  

Not that I am OLD...and I am obviously pregnant again AND I have a preschooler, so I can easily relate to this 'early childhood' stage of life, because not only am I still living it, but have been through it a few times already.

But there is a world of difference between having a baby, a toddler and a preschooler...
than having a preschooler, an older child and a child approaching teen years.
And I'm sure that goes for having a preteen, a teen and a college kid.
And those seasons creep up quicker than you know.

I just wonder who could benefit from older women, and by older I don't mean OLD old. I just mean women who have been there, who are a few steps of head. Women that can not only relate right here and right now because they are in a similar stage as you, women that are friends... but women that have been through it and can offer truth and encouragement.

Am I totally alone on wanting wisdom from someone wiser? Maybe I do have some advice to offer, because I do have older children and have been married longer.
Yet I still need it from someone else...

I thought about over the weekend during my discussion with my two friends, about throwing a panel together at our church for all the mothers of children not yet in their teen years BY the mothers that have been through the whole 18 years of life with children already.

But I'm wondering about this online world as well. One website I love is Thrive Moms. I go to it often and I get alot from it, and not only that but I have actually went to these wonderful ladies for prayer.
But I'm quite sure all these wonderful gals are younger than I...
and sometimes it makes me sad that I have nowhere to go to seek prayer and advice from ladies who are in my season or who have passed my season. While I see breastfeeding and sippy cups and toddler tantrums in my near future. I also see two teenagers in my future just as quickly.

I don't exactly know what I can do about it right now. But I feel a tug on my heart to do something or be a part of something. Because I know what I need. I cherish the encouragement from the wisdom of others. I imagine other mothers or wives need it too.

If you have any thoughts, or let me know. I'd love to hear it.

Proverbs 15:22
Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.

Monday, November 25, 2013

You're A Bad Mom...


Just moments I got a call from a teacher at my son's school, saying he felt nervous because he was presenting his science project and parents were coming to watch and he forgot to tell us. Luckily, even though my daughter and I were in our pj's, Jeff has Mondays off, so I sent him on a whim. He had to get there in 10 minutes, but he was all set to go anyways, so he walked out the door immediately. The sad part is, why didn't I know about this already? I'm the one who helped him (basically did) the science project with him. But there is a part of me that feels like a bad mom because how did I miss that today was his presentation day. Was there a paper sent home that I missed? Did Wes tell me at some point and I forgot?

What is it that makes a bad mom? 

I was on a whole rant inside my brain last week on this topic because of the overwhelming posts on my facebook newsfeed lately with vents on other parents, and how and what they 'should' be doing...
Honestly, parenting is hard enough. It's hard making decisions based on each individual child's needs. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. If you are a parent of multiple children you know this. Parenting is exhausting and scary and frustrating. It's hard enough without trying to feel like you need to live up to the standards of what another parent chooses for their children, much less a single person with no children. That's the worst.

Parenting is not black and white. It's a whole lot of grey.

Unless something is specifically morally corrupt, it's hard to say what is wrong and right or what is best and it boils down to the child and the family and their schedule and the family's needs.
Where one mom has to work, another mom feels it's necessary to stay home with her kids.
When one parent feels homeschooling is the answer, another feels like pushing their child socially is what their child needs to develop certain skills.
When one child needs communication, another needs strict discipline.

I have felt like a bad mom on several times. On my own. With no one's help.

And I will admit, other people have made me feel worse. I have felt the pressure to homeschool from homeschool parents, as I hear of all the evils of the public school system. But what people don't know is what goes down in my home when the topic of homeschooling comes up. It's a fight of parent against parent...and unfortunately one of us looks like we are 'taking sides' with the child who 'wants' to stay home and avoid people. I've finally taken a back seat on this discussion, because I am choosing to honor my husband in what he feels is best and in the end, this is best for my son...seeing that I respect the decisions that Jeff makes. 
End of discussion. Unless Jeff changes his mind.
I've felt like a bad parent because I knew people disapproved that my daughter used to like Justin Beiber at the age of five. I really had no problem with it when he was a child. I knew he would grow up and get into trouble. It's inevitable in the celebrity world. And I knew his background and upbringing was Christian... 
So, I never felt the need to forbid Jada to 'like' Justin Beiber, because I figured it would wear off just like Dora The Explorer and the "witches" on that show or Barbie and all her ridiculous 'materialism' or My Little Pony and all the 'sorcery and magic.'

Although I usually skipped the "witchdoctor" episodes on Dora, but now what do I do about Barbie and her two mile long closet filled with that many clothes? Really? Barbie? C'mon! Clearly, that's not right to teach my child either.

Eeesh. Parenting is exhausting.

Everything out there, every single cartoon, every single musician is filled with some sort of thing that many parents would consider having a 'negative' effect on their children, some other parent may disapprove of because of their personal convictions. Where one parent may really disapprove of My Little Pony, they may be totally comfortable with letting their kids watch Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer with a story about Santa Claus. Is both the sorcery and the lie about Santa wrong? Probably. Do we all feel as strongly about the extent we carry our convictions out? Probably not.

Do you or do you not let your kids watch Elf?
Do you or do you not laugh at "it's a sucky thing" just like everyone else?

I honestly don't think their are alot of "bad" parents. 

At least not what sometimes we deem as a bad parent. There are certainly those who are abusive or neglect. There are certainly those who can't seem to take care of their own lives, much less try to raise little children to be capable, decision making adults...
but a parent that schools their children a different way, feeds their children a different way, lets their children celebrate holidays a different way, watch or listen to different music or tv shows, parents who do discipline a different way than we do are not bad parents.

It's funny because when my kids go to my parents house, my dad will never let them watch Goosebumps. I guess because the very nature of the show is supposed to be scary or something. And I can guarantee if that show existed when I was young, we would not be allowed to watch it.
But it's the cheesiest thing I've ever seen, so I have no problem with it.

This morning we were discussing shows with "ghosts" with my kids because Leila wanted to watch Casper and Wesley was just asking me about the scariest movies I've ever seen the other day... and personally in general I'm not crazy about it, for my kids in particular, because in essence, ghosts are 'dead people' walking around, and why do I want to let my kids watch death, even when Hollywood tries to make it cute?  (This is despite Slappy the talking doll on Goosebumps...is that a ghost? I don't know. Probably.) Wes brought up that I had let him watch Scooby Doo and I was like "Well, maybe I shouldn't anymore." And Jeff said, "Yeah, but in Scooby Doo, it always just ends up being a person, not a ghost."
Well, yes, that's true too...

And on the other hand, Jeff sure does love watching The Walking Dead...
Um, double standard?

That's what I mean. Parenting is hard. Parenting is not black and white. All situations are NOT the same. All kids are NOT the same. I definitely cannot discipline Wesley like I do Jada. Wesley covers his ears in fear, cowering in  the corner and screaming like we are going to hurt him~literally, 
when we even raise our voice. Jada looks at us and laughs likes its a joke. Not kidding.
She has actually told me when I was yelling at her, while laughing at me "You're face looks weird."
That's a whole new level of discipline for that one, than the one who thinks you will kill them just because your voice goes up a notch or two.

We don't know the situations of families inside their homes. We don't know what parents have done and tried with specific kids. We don't know what parents have talked about with their kids, what they have been through, what disabilities they may be dealing with...so why do we presume to 'know" and to make assumptions and give unsolicited "advice."

Sure, we may think it when we see it when we see the mom yelling and dragging the screaming child in the grocery store, but do we need to make her feel worse? One person may think "Wow, I need to call social services on that lady." While another person thinks "Oh my gosh, that poor woman, I should help her. I know what that is like." While yet another person thinks, "Why doesn't she control her kids? She must "spare the rod and spoil the child. She needs to discipline."

How do you know that she doesn't discipline when she gets to the car?

And for the record, in the beginning of this school year, Jada is eight now and came home from school telling me she didn't like Justin Beiber anymore because she heard from her friends about some of his latest shenanigans in public. I didn't pat her on the back (although I was proud of her decision), I told her "Well, honey, I think when people get famous, they get alot of pressure from other people and alot of times they make bad decisions and do stupid things. We all make bad descisions. Instead of saying we don't like them, why don't we just pray for him, because I know his mom and other people are praying for him too."  And she agreed.

It just frustrates me. The level of judging people do on what is probably the hardest job in the world.
We all need to rely on our own intuition and the needs of our own children and families. If we need advice, we ask for it. Honestly, for me, I pray alot about things that I'm not sure about. There is so much grey. I wish it was all black and white. I wish we all had a handbook, but God made us parents so he has given us the ability to do this, whether we feel like we are doing a good job or not.

One of my favorite blog posts about parenting was written on the Matt Walsh Blog. If you ever feel like you've been judged by people in public, because of the way your kids are acting, you will love this:  
This one is also good:  

There are other people who do relate to you. Not everyone is judging you.
You ARE a good mom or dad, despite what people say on facebook or how you feel after you just had a meltdown in the presence of your children.  I watched this video and I cried...When mom's feel like they aren't good enough, their children see them quite differently.




and this is HILARIOUS if you need a good laugh about being a parent. 
Thanks to Brooke for sharing it with me...



 
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