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Posts Tagged ‘moms’

The Importance of Our Job as Mothers

“Children are a public trust – Now, that work which is of most importance to society is the bringing-up and instruction of the children – in the school, certainly, but far more in the home, because it is more that anything else the home influences brought to bear upon the child that determine the character and career of the future man or woman. It is a great thing to be a parent: there is no promotion, no dignity, to compare with it.”

-Charlotte Mason, “Home Education, Vol. 1” p. 1

It is often difficult, especially for those of us who stay at home with our kids, to feel purposeful, needed, useful as a mother. I’m not sure why this is, because it seems that even two generations ago it was not the case. But I have already established here in the past that I will make no impact larger than the one I make on my own children, my own family. So what if my training in music (or your training in…fill in the blank) is intended not to fill my own heart, or change the world as a whole, but ultimately to make an eternal impact on my own children and our home life? What if I create an atmosphere in my home where my children learn to live lives of worship? How much more impact will children who live lives of worship make, more than the person for whom I can facilitate a few minutes of encounter with God during a worship service (not to discount that, but obviously the impact will be less). What if this applies to all of our trades that we learned B.C. (before children)? Education, music, healthcare, business – whatever we did can be passed as a strength to our children through our willingness to give them those gifts…

Just something I’m thinking about…

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Good for the soul part 2

Posted something about husbands, here’s one about the kids. Good attitude checks for today.

Have a great day and enjoy your families!

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Your Mothering Style

Some days, (yesterday, as an example) my own expectations for myself completely overwhelm me and make for a miserable day for me and the kids.

I was thinking about this, this morning. I am one of the few people I know who actually thinks their parents did a pretty great job raising them. Of course they had faults, but they did a great job. The issue arises from the fact that my personality type is completely opposite of my mother’s. So, I think she did a great job, but because our personalities are so different, there’s no way I will ever run my household exactly the same way. I would go nuts. But that is still the ideal in my mind. Anybody else deal with this?

I’ve had kids for three years (very short, but it feels long), and I still don’t know what I want my household to look like day-to-day.

Organized? Spontaneous? Structured? Free-flowing? Outside work? No outside work? Tone? Schedule? Housekeeping style?

Some days I think I have this figured out, and then on others I question it all…

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Just ask for help!

I make is a habit to skim Foxnews.com every day. I like to know the major things going on. This is not a fun story to read, so don’t read it unless you have the stomach for it today. Basically a mother killed her two toddlers in a store bathroom.

My thought was, why did she let it get to that point? I know that feeling, that one where if one more person makes one more noise, I may just go over the edge. This woman may very well have been a single mother. Her two children may have, in her mind, “ruined” every opportunity she might have otherwise had. I have no doubt that her life was incredibly hard.

What makes me sad though, is that nobody saw this coming and reached out to her. We moms gotta stick together. If we’re having a day like that, we have to CALL somebody. If we see someone in that mode, we have to offer to take the kids, or just offer a cup of tea and some encouragement. We have to take breaks for ourselves, so that when we’re done taking that break, we can be better mothers. I don’t know what this looks like for you. Maybe it means re-prioritizing the family budget so you can have your house cleaned once a month (I did this once. I felt like a queen!). Maybe it means trading childcare with a friend so you can go sit at Starbucks and read for a couple of hours. Maybe it means explaining to your husband your intense need for a break so he can watch kids for a while while you Christmas shop. Maybe rather than doing anything else, you would rather sit in the bathtub and stare at the wall for an hour.

No matter what sounds fun to you, we have to make sure we do this! This is not selfish, this is our lives and the lives of our kids we’re talking about, or at the very least our quality of life. If you don’t have kids, offering to care for a friends’ kids so they can take a break is HUGE. If I am finding myself snapping about every little thing, and I can’t answer questions kindly, it usually means I am overdue for a break. For me, it also usually means I haven’t read my Bible in a couple days. Watching TV, although enticing to me, doesn’t fill me back up. So if I need a break and I choose to do that, I can count on not being much better off after that kind of a break. Spending some time talking to God makes a difference.

Our society is so isolated, but we (especially as Christians!) don’t have to be. People have said for decades, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Why would we ever think we could possibly do it alone?

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On playing outside

Hannah requested we go outside today. I don’t really remember the last time she asked.

It’s funny. Of late, I have not thought of myself as a particularly outdoorsy person. In the past year (or two!), we have done more tv watching than I care to admit. As we were playing outside today, I was thinking of all the things my siblings and I did outside as kids. When I was really young and we were living in California, we would spend hours outside – chasing chickens around the backyard, working in the garden, digging “streams” with the hose, riding bikes on the patio…the possibilities seemed endless. When we moved to Colorado we lived for a year out here in the forest before moving into town. We had an “Indian Camp” complete with teepees made out of small fallen trees and old sheets. We also built a stage by nailing boards between two trees and throwing sheets over it for curtains. We would take our old red wagon and give each other “tours” around the five acres. When we did move to town, I would spend hours in my garden.

So, not only have I been missing the outside, I’ve been missing my own creativity!

When I got pregnant with Hannah and then had to recover from the c-section, it changed the way I related to the outside. Suddenly everything seemed uncomfortable and full of germs. Even the way I moved seemed to change. Does anybody else relate to this? I became an old lady! 🙂

Add to all of this a dumb fear I have always had of looking silly or undignified, and you have a recipe for someone who does not spend much time outside. I think one of the most profound things on TV is Bert and Ernie. They have this one episode in which Ernie is talking to an elephant on a banana. He encourages Bert to try it. It goes something like this:

B: I don’t want to. I’ll look silly.
E: Silly’s fun, Bert!
B: I’m not really good at that kind of thing.
E: Just try it.
B: I’M JUST NOT EMOTIONALLY SECURE ENOUGH FOR THIS, ERNIE!

I can relate. When did I become so self-conscious?

But today, we just went outside and we played. I taught Hannah to catch a ball (well, I taught her to hold her hands and arms close together so I could strategically drop the ball in her arms. Ya gotta start somewhere!). I gathered up some of the millions of pine cones and threw them toward one area so we can actually mow, and the girls can walk without tripping. Hannah picked at the bark on a tree – the first time she’s ever seen that. Audrey looked at pine needles. We discovered a feather on the ground. I showed Hannah how to blow a dandelion puff. We picked wildflowers. We enjoyed the clouds and sunshine.

And I gotta say, this beats being a grownup any day. I’m never going back.

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Waste

The title of this blog reminds me of a Phish song from my hippie days. Sigh.

So, I’ve been working on reading through the Bible in my quiet time. I wasn’t sure what to read, so I just decided to start at the beginning. I was hit a few months ago with the thought that I don’t really know God like I want to. I know lots of things ABOUT God, but I wanted to know HIM better. What does He like? What things make Him happy? He has a personality, you know.
Anyway, I have worked my way to Numbers. There is a whole lot in the book of Numbers that is…less than thrilling. I cringed inwardly when I got there. However, I have been asking God to reveal Himself to me, and He is faithful to do that.

I have been struck, as I read through the ceremonies and traditions outlined in Numbers, by the concept of sacrifice versus waste. The Israelites were told to sacrifice a baby lamb – one in the morning, one in the evening, every day. They also were to make a drink offering – just pour out good wine on the ground in a holy place that God would see. This is just one of a long line of sacrifices in a long line of occasions that had to be made to forgive the sins of the people.

But God, what a waste! What about poor people? What about the sheep’s mothers who carried and birthed those babies only to have them burned up – not even used for food? What about the expense that was? Surely there were people who needed those things to feed their families! It’s not like God needed them! I guess that is the age-old argument against tithing too.

In the world’s eyes, sacrifice will always look wasteful. Why would you allow yourself to be uncomfortable for somebody else? For me, why should I stay home with my kids and do dishes over and over? (I always mention dishes. They are my least favorite.)

I think there are several reasons.

1. We are not really our own provider. We work and try to be productive because it’s what we are supposed to do, but God is the one who provides for us. Ps. 127:2, in the alternate translation in the NIV, says, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for while they sleep he provides for those he loves.” When we give away some of ourselves, we surrender control over our own destiny. It’s not all up to us. I think it is possible to tithe out of habit and not remember this, by the way. Don’t give out of compulsion.

2. It changes who I am, to sacrifice. I was telling Nick last night that nothing I do strokes my pride anymore. I have had to find all new reasons to hold my head high and invest in people. Hard. But best for me. Wearing trendy clothes all the time, being on stage, achieving, looking like I have it all together… That’s where I used to find my security. I have spent the past 5 days with a flaming case of pink eye, wiping green running noses, rocking crying babies with stuffy noses late at night, coughing my head off, disinfecting, washing my hands until they are raw, and resolving not to worry – we’ll get packed and moved on Friday…somehow. Not exactly food for the ego. But, once the transformation is complete (it might take years!), I will be secure in my value. It won’t depend on my performance anymore. I like that outcome.

3. God said to. I think sometimes, with certain things, we need to be able to say “I don’t understand, but I will do it anyway.” We know in our heads that we can trust God. So, trust Him. If He says something, don’t question it – just do it. I have to pretend sometimes that I’m trusting. I don’t feel it. I will say out loud – “I am letting go of this, this is Yours!” And that’s the end of it…until 2 minutes later when I have to do it again. Sometimes I think we can over-complicate our lives by demanding answers for everything. I try to explain to Hannah why I need her to do most things, but there are times she says, “How come?” And I just can’t explain it, so the answer is “Because.” That HAS to be okay coming from God. Just because.

Another thought that comes to mind in this area is our new pastor that we voted on yesterday. More than 95% approval. Cool. It does, however, make me wonder about that 5%. Why would they vote no? Do they think they know better than everybody else? From the first announcement, I decided to trust the process. We elected a selection committee. They prayed and fasted. We prayed for them. They spent months looking at the options, trying to hear from God about who He wanted to be pastor. They settled on Brady Boyd. Not who anyone expected. But why would I question the decision? If I couldn’t agree to submit to the authority at that church, I would go somewhere I could submit to. There is rest and protection in trusting people. And I can still say that after what our church has been through. Anyway, kind of a rabbit trail there, but maybe not so much. I believe God wants me home with my kids. So I do it. I can’t expect anything in return because staying home does not guarantee me obedient, healthy kids. But I’m doing it anyway because it’s what I’m supposed to do.

Welp, I better go pack boxes, reminding myself of my sermon the whole time. Two more days!

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Encouragement for moms

Hey, if you’re a stay at home mom, this sermon by Pastor Brady Boyd is very encouraging!

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