Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

The Mom I Wish I’d Been

Saturday, May 11th, 2019

What good does wishing do, right? I’m not whining and beating a regret drum, I promise. Simply reflecting on a few ways that I might change if I were given my mom days again. I’m in a great and happy place today. My kids are grown, I like all 3 of them and the people they’re married to and I’m proud as proud can be of every single one of them.

But if I were wishing…

I wish I had relaxed more.

I was wound up banjo tight for most of my mothering days. I worried too much, held on tighter than I needed to and managed to invent nonsense reasons to get all stressed out. Looking back, I wasted so much needed energy on crazy stuff that NEVER HAPPENED!

I wish I’d taken better care of myself.

I worked myself into a frenzy most days. Which was not only tough on me, it was hard on my kids. I could’ve sat reading another story instead of mopping my way to bed. Kids just don’t stay little long. The housework never leaves!

I wish I had chilled out more.

I confess, I was high strung. I didn’t need to be so intense but my personality is just like that naturally. I am pushy, bossy and well….a bit queenie like. I suppose I wanted to make some kind of perfect life for everyone (didn’t work) but if I had it to do over again, I’d let all kinds of stuff goooooooooo.

I wish I had forgiven myself more.

I tried so hard to get it right that inevitably I messed some things up. When I fell short, I took it hard. I beat myself up and challenged my capabilities to extreme. It was a dumb form of self-punishment. I didn’t deserve any of it.

I wish I’d shown more grace.

I could point out that I did not mother like my own mother and puff myself up for that tiny victory but the truth is….I was tough on my family many times and missed opportunities to show grace. Not always but enough that it stings a little to think back on.

I wish I had given my kids more jobs.

I didn’t want to throw all my work onto my kids like my mom did me. I thought I was protecting them from a life of slavery. The reality is that I raised up kids who couldn’t do a lot of things (not everything) once they moved out. I learned way too late that jobs around the house are very important character builders. It doesn’t kill anyone to help out in a family.

I wish I hadn’t compared myself to other moms.

Who cares? Who gives a rip, really? What works in my house may not in yours and vice versa. Stop worrying about who does what better. It absolutely will not matter once they leave your nest. Just ask your grown kids. No one cares. Beverly Goldberg’s kids will grow up and leave and so will Mommy Dearest. Note: Please don’t whip your kids with a coat hanger.

I wish I’d have known how quickly time would fly.

People told me, I didn’t listen. When you’re in the trenches of being a mommy to a pile of kids, the days are l o n g! But dang it, the years just whiz on by. I would love to have all three of my kids sleeping under my roof just one more night. It is the peace-y’est my mama heart has ever felt.

Wishing just doesn’t cut it though. My course has run. I won’t mother the same ever again and that’s okay. I’m not in a war with what I did or didn’t do. I’m confident that what my kids needed, I provided. My role in their lives was to be the best mama I could and to love them unconditionally. I tried to do just that. I believe each of them know I could’ve done better but none of them hold any shortcomings against me. Life goes on whether we are good at it or not.

I feel privileged to be a mother and even more so that I have made it to the other side…..I’m getting ready for my new role as a grandmother! October can’t get here fast enough! I cannot wait to look into the face of my 1st grandbaby! Who will this person be? How much love can I smother all over him or her?

Look out world! I hear this is where the parenting thing takes a back seat and grandparent life takes off like a rocket ship! I AM READY!!

Growing My Own Wings

Monday, February 18th, 2019

Two weeks have gone by since we brought home our puppy, Beck. I’ve been consumed with him and every living moment has pretty much revolved around him in some way or another. He’s 9 weeks old and no matter where I take him…..people gasp and come running over to meet him because there’s something really special about new puppies and babies.

He’s our empty nest baby.

You can laugh, it’s okay. I know something inside me needed him. I have a deep wild desire to be needed, by someone or something. A dog at this age in my life seemed to be the healthiest direction for me to go. So, here I am…mothering the cutest yellow lab ON THE DANG PLANET!

In 2 weeks, my oldest will marry his dream girl. In 2 1/2 months, my middle will marry her true love too and the baby…well, she’s been married almost 2 years! It’s a lot. All coming at me rather fast. But, I’m ready. I’ve been preparing for these days my whole life. Still, mama’s don’t stop being mama’s. My role has been evolving and revamping for the last 6 – 8 years.

They don’t need me to do what I did during their school days. No cupcakes for the class or to pick them up after band practice, but they still need me. They don’t need me to wake them up or to make macaroni & cheese, they just need me to grow my own wings.

It sounds crazy but children aren’t the only people to grow up. Parents are on a path of growth that no one seems to mention when sitting beside you at the basketball games or as you gather to pray for the youth group leaving for camp. Strangely enough, you don’t even notice you are growing — until you stand face-to-face with a young adult and hug them goodbye as they leave to go back to THEIR OWN HOUSE!

It all happens in baby steps.

Without meaning to, mama’s wrap all of who they are around the children they raise. I remember the first time I realized they were gone, like…really gone and not coming back. I was dancing around in my kitchen to Stevie Nicks belting out Landslide when I started crying at the words.

I knew they’d leave.

Still.

I BUILT MY DANG LIFE AROUND THEM, you guys!

I’m not the first mama to let go.

So here I am reflecting back on them and realizing that while I was investing in them and teaching them confidence….God was hatching my own little sprout of wings. I can fly too!

Lord,
What a gift to be a mother. I never knew all the things, so many things that would happen in my heart just by watching my children grow and go. I am so proud of each of them and I owe them all a huge thank you. I have courage to move forward and to take on the next great things to come in my life. I have my own wings and I’m excited to use them!
Amen

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! šŸ™‚

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.