Back Talk

Don’t you love it when you appear to have it all together?  It’s a great feeling until you go home and realize that it’s all an illusion.  You are as messed up as the next person.

I have a wonderful friend who thinks I’m an expert at parenting and “wifery” because she must have noticed the one or two times my kids said “yes ma’am” or did something thoughtful or a tender moment between me and my husband.  My kids are wonderful, but they are kids.  They are like any who messes up, has a bad day or doesn’t live up to the expectations around them.  What makes a precious kid even precious-er is how they deal with it.  Shawn and I do love each other to pieces, but we  know how to scatter those pieces too.  I tell my friend that we’re just like anyone else…our kids tell us “no” sometimes and I give my lovely husband dirty looks from time to time.

However, I do have the ultimate link to wisdom…our Heavenly Father.  He’s the ultimate love-giver (I wanted to say lover, but that just sounds weird) and parent in all the land.  I also have some helps from the blue planet.  One of my favorite is called iMom.  I know I’ve shared about the practical website before but here it is again.  I get daily emails from them.  Some I read, some I skip.  This week, I got a doozy that ANY parent would find useful!  The subject-back talk.  Unless your children are mute, then this is something I’m sure you deal with.  And I assume that even a sweet, mute child finds ways to accomplish this universal childhood trait. Here’s the link.

Snow Day

One of the most magical childhood phenomenon are snow days.  {Adults like them too.}  We’ve had an active day today for a Thursday.  Close to 12 inches of snow has fallen and you’d think we’d be bored.  Wrong!  We’ve built snow forts, wrestled with our dog Maggie, and lost our breath playing Just Dance on the xBox Kinnect.  I’m not sure if my boys will remember everything we did today, but I hope they remember spending the day with Shawn and me.

I don’t remember what grade I was in exactly…probably 3rd or 4th.  It was back before schools sent emails and pre-recorded phone messages announcing those lovely words, “school is cancelled today”.  I would wake up and listen to the radio DJ or the morning news just hoping to hear or see the R7 School District included in the list of cancellations.  The most memorable snow day I can recall is actually a day I don’t remember many specifics.  I just remember looking out the front window to see a really strange sight.  My mom’s ’85 Honda Civic Hatchback was stuck at the end of our drive in the pile of snow from the snow plow.  She couldn’t get out of our driveway to get to work.  That meant I got to spend the whole day with her!  Like I said, I don’t remember what we did, but I do remember that feeling of being so excited she was going to be home all day from work the same day I was home from school!  Best snow day ever!

As a parent, I need to remember that the thing that will stick with my kids the longest is their time spent with Shawn and I…not necessarily all the activities.

Parenting Cheats

I love it when I come across a great resource that I ACTUALLY use.  The other day while on Pinterest, I came across  I got sucked in by their article of creative discipline…a subject I am always curious about.  They have worksheets, articles, recipes, free printables, movie and music reviews and activity ideas.  I immediately signed up for their daily emails and haven’t been disappointed.  It has an “Espresso Minute” to start your day with and then ends with a “Pillow Talk”.  The Espresso Minute is a quick read on the topics of children or marriage.  The thing I really like about those are they give you practical ideas to put the lessons into action.  The Pillow Talk area has a question or two to ask your kids at night when putting them to bed.  They are great conversation starters to help kids open up when their usual response is, “nothing”.

Check it out…

They also have one for dads (I haven’t read anything on here but I’m sure if they recommend it, then it must be good.)…

Mom Guilt {Part Two}

Babies turn into toddlers.  Toddlers turn into children.  Children turn into teenagers.  Teenagers turn into adults.  I know this is the natural order of things.  Mothers raise their kids to be self sufficient, responsible adults.  But, that “new mom” guilt is rising up in me again.  Maybe because I’m in a new phase of motherhood.  I think I still consider myself a mother of two toddlers because that’s how I see them.  I’m loosing that hands-on role I may have complained about years ago…excited that a day would come when they could make their own breakfast on Saturdays and I could sleep in.  They still need an attentive mom, but they are growing up and I have to adapt yet again.  They are in the beginning stages of building their own lives.

So what does this mean for me?  It means I need to accept who I am in their lives now.  I shouldn’t feel guilty when they have to spend a day not doing exactly what they want.  (That will prepare them for having a family.)  I shouldn’t feel guilty when they have to go back to their room over and over to clean it because they continue to clean it half-way. (That will prepare them for having a job.)  I shouldn’t feel guilty when I check their homework and tell them to go back and correct the spelling and punctuation. (That will prepare them for high school.)  I shouldn’t feel guilty making one compromise their desires for the betterment of their sibling.  (That will prepare them for marriage.)  I shouldn’t feel guilty when I force them to pick up a mess that they didn’t make.  (That will prepare them to be a good friend.)   Sometimes at the end of the day I feel like the worst mom in the world because my boys didn’t enjoy their day like they had planned.  Or because they got mad at me for asking them to do something they didn’t want to do.  Well, as an adult, their day will be full of moments of doing something they didn’t want to do…it’s called responsibility.

Mom Guilt {Part one}

Last night I spent at least two hours reading other mom’s blogs.  It all started on Pinterest which led me on a rabbit trail  from one mom/kid expert to another.  People seem to have everything together when they’re writing a blog. One mom refreshingly said  to not think that her family is perfect…they’re not always able to stick to their schedule (which was amazing) and that she sometimes has a melt down.  I appreciated that honesty.  Coming from a mom who homeschools her nine children, she can’t really live in a fantasy world now can she?  She even takes an hour to herself every day, half of which is devoted to napping.  I think her and I could be friends.

All this blog jumping got me thinking.  I was really able to pinpoint some of the feelings and frustrations I have with myself when it comes to mothering.  I’ve said from the first day of being a mother that the thing that surprised me the most about motherhood was the amount of guilt I felt.  No one ever warned me about that.  Little did I know that I would scrutinize every decision I make and begin to compare my mothering to all other mothers. Now, most of that subsided as I got older and came into my own as a mom.  I gained confidence as my little men began to reveal their personalities and I began to predict their moods, frustrations and desires.

Moms have to be so hands on when their children are little.  We literally follow them around, chase them down if needed, worry about every little cut and bump and we plan our day around their meals and naps.  Fast forward 11 years to the present.  My little men are 11 and 9.  They are very self sufficient. They are growing up before my eyes.  But, deep down, there is this little part of me fighting to hang on to my babies.  Now, they drive off on their bike to a friends house and I say, “be back in an hour”.  Instead of chasing them down, I make them come to me.  Most cuts and bumps they can bandage themselves. (If it’s a doozy I still help.)  And for the most part their schedule flows around mine.  Plus they can make their own food, give themselves a bath and one is even wanting to learn to mow the lawn.  When did all this happen?

(Part Two coming Friday, August 3rd)


No Regrets

I’m feeling the pressure today. I’ve been challenged…challenged by God. I’ve got to step up my game, get off the bench and without sounding too much like High School Musical-I’ve got to get my head in the game!

Let me explain. Last night at church Shawn and I got to talk to a young girl about living with no regrets. Regrets never go away, they can stay with you forever. She was very responsive and we hope she took our words to heart. I guess I needed to hear my own words. Of course talking to a teenager, my mind was only on teenage regrets.

Then today, I get on my computer at work and find in my email a daily devotional and something caught my eye…
Today’s Truth
“She watches over the affairs of her household…” (Proverbs 31:27 NIV).

I felt my heart strings being pulled ever so slightly. So I read on…
I have always seen a mother as a lighthouse, or beacon in a child’s life. Think about it. A beacon is a landmark that her children can always count on. She shines the light of Christ at night and she serves as a landmark by day. She is watching out over the sea of faces to protect her tiny fleet. Like the Proverbs 31 woman she “watches over the ways of her household.” She is present. She’s available. And she’s on guard.

The last couple of weeks have been the toughest mothering I’ve experienced so far. I know, I know all you mothers of teenagers…it’s only going to get harder. But before I go into complete depression, I have to deal with the present before I get completely freaked out about the future.

Lately, I’ve seen such a rebellion in one of my sons and it scares me all the way to my toes. Disrespect doesn’t begin to describe what I’ve been witnessing. It’s like I’m watching a spiritual battle take place and my son is the battlefield. It’s not very easy to watch. I’ve found myself sobbing at his bedside at night just because he looked so peaceful and I hadn’t seen him look like that in a while. I prayed like crazy. Shawn and I are always trying to think of things we can do differently to help our children. I know, we have a huge roll to play in his life, but I also know that I am not in control of him, that only God is. Right now there is nothing we could tweak to make this better for him. This was on God. But, you know, what I learned this week (which I thought I already knew) was that God wants control of our kids. I hold on to them so tight that I leave no room for God to do anything. He was telling me, ” He is my son, not yours. Let me take care of him!” So I did. I backed off, and let God move in. What a difference. I felt that I was loosing him already, but little did I know, that I had to give him away to gain him back!

My hands were busy through the day.
I didn’t have much time to play
The little games you asked me to,
I didn’t have much time for you.

I’d wash your clothes.
I’d sew and cook,
But when you’d bring your picture book
And asked me please to share your fun,
I’d say, “A little later son.”

I’d tuck you in all safe at night
And hear your prayers, turn out the light,
Then tiptoe softly to the door…
I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

For life is short, the years rush past.
A little boy grows up so fast.
No longer is he at your side,
His precious secrets to confide.

The picture books are put away,
There are no longer games to play.
No good-night kisses, no prayers to hear,
That all belongs to yesteryear.

My hands once busy, now are still
The days are long and hard to fill.
I wish I could go back and do
The little things you asked me to.
(Author Unknown)

(I’m sorry this is so long, and if you’ve made it this far, I’m almost done, I promise. I probably wouldn’t have read any ones blog if it was this long.)

So, I want to live as a mother, with no regrets. I want to be that lighthouse, on guard, at my post, watching over my family. But I’ve learned the best way to do this is on my knees. Thank you God for teaching me, for not giving up on me even when I do stupid things and try to take your place. Please forgive me for all the years I’ve been parenting and I haven’t let you parent them at all. I love you! Thank you for loving me and my family as much as you do!