Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

What’s Important?

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

let it be love

The older I get the more I come face to face with who I am and what my purpose has been while living on this earth. I’ve been here 50 something years which means I’ve had plenty of time to get some important things accomplished. However, every day it seems as though I’m bombarded by voices telling me that I’ve fallen short and that I’ve wrecked some of the most important assignments God has given me.

As a follower of Christ, I really really really want to be faithful to what God has for me. I don’t want to waste time (yet, I have wasted so much selfishly) nor do I want to be superficial to anyone needing to see Christ in me. For years, I’ve thought foolishly that by being real to people (my friends & family) I was portraying a truthful look at what walking the Christian faith means. Fall down, get back up. Live forgiven. Do better.

I don’t know what God is doing in my life these days. My life feels like it’s on a perpetual high-speed wooden roller-coaster and I cannot get off when it screeches into the station for more passengers. Just more crazy thrill-seeking people hop on and I’m still strapped in for ONE MORE WILD SCREAMING RIDE! Like I can handle it.

I’m not really handling it well. I go up with my emotions and then crash down like a violent wreck that no one walks away from. Maybe that sounds a bit dramatic (remember, it’s my life not yours – don’t judge). In spite of the very real and frustrating reality of my husband’s unemployment for the last 8+ months (September 9th 2016, not that I’m counting!!!) I’ve got bigger issues that are nagging me and pulling me towards sadness.

I’m at a real turning point in my life. It’s a “here on out” kind of time and what I do from now on is just as important as what I was doing when I was tucking kids in at night and making chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Only this time, I have a lot more freedom. No one is relying on me for guidance or protection or personal care. Matter of fact, they don’t even want me to offer a suggestion or opinion.

After a lifetime of parenting….they reach a point of NOT EVER LISTENING TO YOU AGAIN. That’s cool. I get it.

I’m faced with the question, what’s important?

Not all the things that I placed value on truly mattered. Some did, but not all. I mean, who cares about tons of home-cooked meals? Or spiffy, yummy smelling clean clothes? Those are just perks. Not true necessities. Kids who ate drive-thru meals and repeat wore so-so clothing are fine people and function perfectly well in society. Right?

I had a thought bubble pop up last night while I was loading the dishwasher – I wasn’t always very nice to my kids. As soon as the thought hit me, I felt a stab of regret. I was mean. Not all the time but enough that it hurts me to reflect on it. Maybe all moms are jerks at some point or another. I honestly don’t know how anyone purposefully hurts their kids (I did not do that…. but there were times I wasn’t as loving or kind as my kids probably needed me to be). I’m sorry for it.

Still, what’s important from me as a mom? To be nice? To be fair? To make homemade mac-n-cheese? To show love? To give of my time and energy? To let them make their own choices? To pick who they want to be or where they want to go? To butt out? To zip my lip and not point out weaknesses or celebrate strengths?

I’m here to tell you, all of that is important. Afterall, I am standing on the other side now and looking back….I can see clearly what worked and what didn’t. Instead of relishing all the things I did wrong – I think it’s important to focus on what I did right. I can’t help what anyone else does with their life (even my own kids) but I can tell you that if you don’t try your best to make an impact on the people in your life — God will hold both you and me accountable for it.

I chose to parent my kids under the headship of Jesus Christ and I would do it again. If my kids have children, I will continue to teach the love and forgiveness of Jesus to my grandchildren. It’s in me and it will always be until the day I die. I’m a Christian (a sinner saved by grace) and I will not waste my time or His while I’m here on earth being silent about my faith. If I’ve learned anything in 50 years it’s that life is fleeting and there are no guarantees of a tomorrow. Being nice and not offending someone with the gospel of Jesus Christ is dangerous. While I don’t want to live with earthly regret…. knowing I’ve shied away from sharing Christ with someone who dies and goes to hell is a consequence beyond regret.

It’s important to do the good work of Jesus as a parent, friend & stranger. This world doesn’t just need “nice” people it needs the faithful who care about the eternal destination of those around them.

What’s important to you?

stand firm

Who Needs Maturity?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

mature me

Remember when you were pregnant with your little bundle of dreams? Oh the sweetness of what was to come, right? I imagined all the moments I’d share with each of my babies and nothing in my mind ever had anything to do with teaching them maturity.

Who even thinks of stuff like that?

no baby

Guess what? Maturity is at the top of the list for real life adulting and I’ll tell you why –>

To get an education beyond high school, a kid needs to have a certain amount of maturity. Remember, there are no mom’s at college! No one wakes you up, no one feeds you. No one forces you to go to class or to study….or do homework. All that requires some discipline which painstakingly attaches itself to maturity.

To get and hold down a real job, a kid needs to know how to work for a real life boss. Working for someone teaches responsibility and offers lessons beyond what can be taught at home. Life isn’t fair and a job gives honest experience to the real world. Plus, hard work is rewarding.

To own a home, car or pay adult bills…a kid needs to have a grasp on financial responsibilities. Money doesn’t grow on trees or come in the form of a hand-out. My hubby and I have laughed (even though it’s not really funny) about how our lives were so different than our kids at similar ages. No one paid for our cars, our rent, our school, our insurance….and yet, we made it. We lived to tell about it. Kids today are still struggling way past the age of 25. I had a baby by then.

To be a husband or wife, a kid needs to be able to think outside of themselves. One of the most disturbing handicaps we buckle to our kids is that life is ALL ABOUT THEM! This is very bad! Ask someone who’s marriage has failed due to the lack of compromise or inability to put the other person ahead of self. While loving yourself is important, loving yourself too much is dangerous.

To be a parent, a kid has to really know how to die to self. Marriage is one thing, parenting a whole nother. Babies don’t have the gift of waiting around for you to get your crap together. It’s swim or drown! Nothing in a person’s life can compare to parenting little humans, a lack of maturity will lead to failure….in more ways than one.

To be a Child of God, a kid has to know who he or she is to God. Maybe this should be our first focus as parents. Teaching our kids about God’s love for them and how important it is to love God back. Turn on the tv, watch the people rioting (in America), shop in a store, drive down a highway, stand in a line on Black Friday, make a comment on social media etc… I bet you’ll come across a few folks who DO NOT LOVE GOD and are proud to prove to you that they don’t. Loving God and respecting WHO HE IS equips us with an understanding that loving others that we disagree with or have nothing in common with is necessary to live a cohesive life here on earth.

experience

So, see….parenting is tough. It’s full up with responsibilities and lessons. All those lessons are a direct link to our children’s maturity. Every chore, every correction, every NO, every YES, every new experience — all of these help us, help our kids…learn maturity!

What are your thoughts? Is maturity important? And are you teaching it?

PS-I love my kids! I’m amazed at how mature they are in spite of all my shortcomings as their mother. I dropped the ball too many times and I admit, they got jipped! Still, they rock!

When Your Kids Hurt You

Monday, August 10th, 2015

No one can jack up your mom mojo quicker than a full-on jerky kid. Not the “stranger” kind either, I mean the one you carried inside your once flat tummy and pushed all day long to bring into this janked up world. Those people. They are the ones (two or three or however many times you thought producing arrows of righteousness would bless you) who can really rip out your heart and stomp on it like NO ONE ELSE IN THIS WHOLE WIDE WORLD.

And then ask you for something right after the sucker punch to your heart.

Kids are ruthless. They can also be pretty selfish. Who can we blame though? We play a pretty significant role in how self-centered our kids grow up to be. I know I can only blame myself for many of my own kids “issues”.

I was chatting with a friend today who was feeling all the hurts that come with dealing with grown up kids. That’s not to say that all grown up kids are being rotten or uncaring…. Sometimes, that relationship becomes all wonky and the results can be rather uncomfortable for both parties. I’ve experienced my own share of growing pains with my big kids. It can hurt in so many ways just trying to navigate normal everyday life.

Heck, I’ve cried over some stupid things.

I tried to encourage my friend because what I’ve learned is that these feelings are normal. It’s all part of God’s bigger plan. Kids grow up, they marry and move on. Our lives don’t end because of that. Matter of fact, it’s just getting started. All the years of investing in the great people they are were not a waste.

We can celebrate knowing that we played a part in who they are today.

Now, how they treat us is their business. It’s on them. If they are snarky or jerky – find a way to overlook it. Also, be prepared to do a heart check of your own. Are you holding on too tightly? Are you stifling them? Do you invade every aspect of their lives and hold every fun thing they do without you over their heads? Stop it. Learn to let go (ha, easy for me to say..huh?) and give them the space they need to soar.

Kids are not our property. They are on loan from God. A heritage. Oh who am I kidding? They are our everything and then POOF! They are gone. Deal with it!

Mama’s, in the words of 38 Special –> Hold on loosely! But, don’t let go! If you cling too tightly, you’re gonna lose control! Your baby needs someone to believe in….and a whole lotta space to breathe in!

Adult children have a completely different need from us as parents. They need our support but they need us to butt out. They need our love but they need us to not focus completely on them. They need us to be happy without their presence. They need us to let them fail and fall flat but they also need us to help them up (IF THEY ASK). They need us to NOT BE SO DANGED SENSITIVE but they also need to show respect and thoughtfulness. They need to know that no matter what they do or say, we love them and care for them but they also need to be considerate of our feelings.

Look, parenting never ends. It just changes. For some, it gets easier. For others, it takes on a strained or forced battle ground. Don’t let it wreck you. Don’t stop living because your kids have grown up and moved on. Start all the things you couldn’t do when you were knee deep in mac-n-cheese and tying shoes. Get out there and find your happy place.

kids go

And for goodness sakes, make your husband your #1! Hubby’s take the backseat too often while we’re mommying it up. Love your guy, smile at the face that still swoons over you and let your rotten kids go! 🙂

kids love

How Do I Know?

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

being a parentI can't remember a time that I didn't want to be a mom.  All my fantasy play revolved around some sort of "family" dynamic while I was growing up.  My Barbies were in family groups, my dollhouse people and even my pets.  If I played with it, I created a family scene and gave everyone names and lives.  I was obsessed!

I wanted to be a mom, someday.

Now that my own kids have reached adulthood, they talk about their future as a spouse and parent.  Some of their questions and ponderings make me laugh…

Will I find a spouse to love forever?

Will I be a good parent?

Why don't I want kids right now?

Will my kids be cute?

I only want boys!

Are all kids crazy?

Kids are cute but I don't think I like them.

How can I know if I'll like parenthood?

What if I don't like them (kids)?

I understand the pressure and the curiosity about GROWN UP LIFE when you're a young punk.  I did all that dreaming too.  I wondered about my life and the people who would be in it while I was growing up.  I imagined all the "perfect" possibilities that could be my future.  I thought long and hard about what my kids would look like and how many I would have.  Honestly, none of what I imagined…happened.

Why?

Because, God.  God gives way more than a person can wish or imagine.  While I was daydreaming through Pre-Algebra and writing fake kid names on my notebook….God had already decided who I would marry and the children we would parent together.  Looking back, it's probably a good thing I didn't really know what was ahead for me (I would've surely messed it up with my TAKE CHARGE personality).  All I know is that I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A MOM!

So, how do you know if you're supposed to have kids?

This is just my theory.  It isn't a proven fact or a set-in-stone gospel….just what seems logical to me.  The world is full of unwanted children; abused & broken, molested and mistreated…..thrown away and left to others to care for and some are even killed by the people chosen by God to give them life.

The choice to be a parent is heavy.  I get it.  That's why I think actually doing it isn't for the faint of heart.  It's a forever decision.  I believe if you want to know if it's right for you, ask yourself these questions:

1.  Can I imagine NEVER holding a baby/child in my arms and calling them mine?

2.  Do I feel an "ache" in my heart for a child?

3.  Can I love someone else more than myself?

4.  Is God calling me to parent a child or many?

5.  Can I give up my freedom to raise a child?

6.  Is being a parent all or much of what I think about?

If you can answer NO to 3 or more of those questions, parenting a child may not be the direction for you.  I don't say that to criticize or hurt anyone.  I say it because being a parent involves all of that and more.

The emotion of holding a child in your arms for the first time cannot even be described…..then knowing, God picked you makes that connection even more overwhelming.  Your heart will never be the same.

Speaking of the heart.  For me…..my heart ached (hence all the daydreaming) for a baby of my own.  I couldn't shake it.  I wished, I imagined little sweet faces, I picked out names, I numbered my brood and I prepared my life for a future with kids.  But, not without a husband.  I knew that future included the right man to raise all the kids my heart was aching for.

I knew that having a baby would be a sacrifice and having more than one would be a total giving of all that I "thought" was important.  I would have to think of someone else before myself….forever.  Having a child means loving someone more than yourself.  Ask any mother, any good mother.  It's not about you anymore.

Just because your body can make a baby doesn't mean you are supposed to.  It's very important to seek God in all that you do and parenting is probably one of the most incredible callings ever.  Make sure He's calling you to that life.  It is forever.

When you become a parent…..your freedom is no longer yours.  Time as you know it, never exists again.  Life revolves around that little person….even after they move out.  A mother never stops thinking of her kids.  It's all part of the nurturing phenom.

Dreaming about the future is normal for everyone.  But if your dreams don't include children…..that is a big clue.  It may be that you're just not ready yet or it may be that it isn't your cup of tea.  Don't be afraid to choose to never be a parent.  God doesn't call everyone to do it.  Parenting is a life choice that just doesn't go away and if you're doubtful…..probably not a good move to go all willy-nilly and get pregnant.  A baby will not necessarily make you want to be a parent.  I think we all can agree, the world is full of sad stories of harm done to children by parents who felt trapped or sorry for having them in the first place.  So, don't make a forever decision on a "chance" experiment.  What you think about most….is probably a safe bet as to what is important to you.

My dreams of being a mom have exceeded my imagination.  Nothing in my life has ever been more rewarding, painful, stressful, exhausting and amazing all at the same time.  I was meant to be a mother and someday……I will (hopefully) be a grandmother.

I hear….that being a grandmother is so incredible, women wonder why they didn't do that first.

 

 

Tough Mother

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

If you're around my age, you probably remember a completely different world when it comes to parenting.  I grew up in the 70's & 80's (I was born 1966).  I recall what it was like around parents, grandparents and teachers–you didn't mess around!  That's not quite how it is anymore.  Time has treated this parenting phenom as a patsy to "being liked" or "not hurting their feelings" and all I can say to that is hogwash!

Parenting is hard work and there aren't any shortcuts.  Admit it, you've been out in the world and ran into the bratty kids that run the show in their house?  Maybe it was at your favorite restaurant where the sidedish was a giant heaping of wild youngin'!  No matter how many annoyed glances you flashed, the parents of "said youngin" just kept on eating and enjoying their meal while you sat there wondering why you even came out to spend your hard-earned money on a good meal.  Or possibly you've grocery shopped lately or gone to a movie?

I hate being so blunt…but I loathe going to Walmart (aka Scream Mart) it oozes bad parenting.

Now I know what you're thinking….[Gee, why so harsh?]  Because it's a symptom to what our society has become.  Kids rule!  Gone are the days of being afraid of adults.  I'm not talking about fear for your life or of some sort of abuse.  The fear I'm referring to is of LETTING SOMEONE DOWN!  Remember being ashamed?  Or embarrassed for a mistake?  That's called mistreatment today or abuse.  I say, it's crazy!

If I didn't spend 9+months of my life with kids (high school) maybe I would see it differently.  But as it stands, I witness the lack of parenting on a daily basis just walking down the halls of my public school.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed (that in my lifetime) I would hear students/kids talk the way they do now TO YOUR FACE!  I can't imagine what my mom would've done to me if the principal had called her to inform  her I had cursed out a teacher/staff person.  It would have meant serious punishment and I would have been made to make it right, no question about that.  Nowadays, if you call a parent (you don't even have to since the students use their own cellphones to TELL ON YOU now) you can be sure that it will be met with an angry finger pointing in your face–for picking on their child.

I call it twisted parenting!  That's where we are these days.  Parents have stopped being scary.  No longer is it common for the parent to place boundaries on their kids and actually enforce them.  Oh, they want them to "behave" but only enough to make them look good and not interfere with whatever they want to do.  You see, parenting has become a hobby and most just dabble at hobbies and from what society looks like to me–most of us are just dabbling our way through raising our kids.

I really don't want you to get the idea that I'm a parenting expert or that I even THINK I am.  I'm not.  I'm a product of an era that EXPECTS GOOD BEHAVIOR out of my kids.  Not because I don't want to be embarrassed by them…but because they are going to live and function as adults in the world I live in.  They will inevitably be someone's spouse or parent someday and I want them to have the character that God desires most.  I want them to be all they can be and to honor God with their lives.

It takes hard work!  I'm willing to keep at it, even though my kids are 17, 19 & 22. Still, I can't take a day off from being their mom.  They are looking to me for direction, rules and expectations.  If I start to waiver now…what is my message?  I don't mind if my kids think I'm tough on them.  They'll thank me later!

I've thought up 5 active ways to be a TOUGH MOTHER

KNOW WHAT'S IMPORTANT–don't waste time or energy trying to be "like" someone else.  Find what works for your family and make it your goal to do your best.

REALIZE YOU ARE NOT GOD–I have had to learn so many things the hard way.  I don't have as much control as I like to think I do.  I NEED GOD & I NEED HIS HELP with every parenting step I take.  My kids really belong to him anyway…why not TRUST HIM with them?

BE THE BOSS–society has stolen the role of boss from every parent across this nation. Stop letting your kids rule the roost.  Make decisions and stick with them. Do you remember having so much control over your family when you were a kid?  Yea, me either!  Note to the sistahs:  YOU RULE!

GIVE GENUINE LOVE–everyone likes to think their kids know they love them, but the more I talk with teenagers…the more I see parents miss the mark on loving those weird creatures.  It's a strange time in both your lives.  Don't stop showing love because they might think you're being weird.  This is a pivotal time in their life and they will look for love, somewhere.

BE CONSISTENT–the world is unpredictable.  Parents should be firm.  It's comforting (even if it crashes any fun plans they have) for kids to know their parents are not going to fold like a cheap tent when they insist on wearing you down on something.  Stay strong, even when you hear, "Everybody else is going to….getting….aloud to!".  No, they're not!  Trust me.

yes My ideals may not match yours and that's okay.  Just know, there isn't a more important job than being your child's parent.  They're watching everything you do or don't do.

_________________________________________________________________

It's ime to adjust the a/c here in Indiana.  Today our temps are a whopping 100+ degrees.  Even my dogs are surrendering to the heat.  It's baths for them and laying around inside today.  Wherever you are, stay cool & most of all BE TOUGH!

She Gets It

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

My youngest child has been a little challenging to raise. She has a strong spirit and  a short fuse but she can be the sweetest most loving child I have. There have been times that I wondered if I’d get her raised with my mind still intact.  The jury is still out, she’s only 17.

It’s not easy being the baby and it’s really not easy being the mama. Children are hard work. Raising them to have manners, integrity and good sense takes an enormous toll on a parent. Especially the mama’s! We’re usually the ones who have to do the hard stuff->

—————-

It’s mom’s who go without something so their little darlin’s can have something even better.

It’s mom’s who need Botox by the time their kids are teenagers. {Think, mean mom face!}

It’s mom’s who do most of the disciplining! {Time out, To your room, You’re grounded, Spankings}

It’s mom’s who clean up the poop, puke and the weird stuff stuck to the carpet in the car.

It’s mom’s who fall into bed exhausted every night because her “to do” list is a mile long and there is no maid to pitch in and help.

It’s mom’s who have to sit in weird spots so everyone around her will be happy. {Think: the car, movies, at events, on rides}

It’s mom’s who make the best meals and make sure your favorite outfit is washed and ready to go.

It’s mom’s who fill out the forms, make the phone calls and write the checks for every important big deal.

It’s mom’s that eat less so everyone else will get all they want.

It’s mom’s who wait to replace stuff she needs because her family comes first.

It’s mom’s who end up neglecting DAD because they get their parenting management off kilter. {Sorry, Dads}

—————–

I’ll stop there. You that are mama’s know, I could go on and on. Being a parent takes a sacrificial person.  It  isn’t for the faint of heart. That’s why I’m still reeling from the text message I received from my sweet youngest child.

From: Gates
I appreciate you as a mother and a kind woman.

She’s babysitting 3 little sweeties on her Christmas break. Need I say more? 😉

Dear Lord

I’m so thankful to be a mom.  It really is the greatest job in the world.  Forgive me when I feel frustrated or tired.  I know it’s only a matter of time and they’ll all be grown.  Remind me, that I’m raising someone’s spouse & parent when I want to give up.

Amen