Listen to Your Own Advice, Moms

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“The only thing that makes it hard is you saying, ‘I can’t do this!!’”

Maybe I should have been screaming that into my own ears.

I so often hear my own thoughts whispering, “I can’t do this”, throughout my trying days.  I allow myself to give up, but don’t have compassion on my children that are just as frustrated with their problems.

  • CHILDREN HAVE THEIR LIMITS, TOO

My heart needs to be softened to their struggles, and speak tender, encouraging words to help them believe that they really CAN do it.

  • JUST BECAUSE WE SAY “WE CAN’T”, DOESN’T MAKE IT TRUE

When I get to the throw-in-the-towel stage, I feel very alone.  Heaven helped the husband that walks in on a mother that is in this self-condemning place.  Unless he is a compassionate man.

Which brings me back to my first lesson….love and compassion….overlook the ugly…forgive the foolish….encouraging.  Those are the only available choices if you want to be a trusted mom.  These children remember how we treat them when they are down and out.

Oh, boy, do they remember.

  • BE READY TO CONFESS YOUR WRONG REACTIONS.

Showing our vulnerable and sinful places will build trust between you and your child.  Keep it real mom!!

Teen Tangled

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This past year and a half has been a crash course in tricky teenage technicalities.

I think I failed on the first few classes.

But one thing I have learned:

  • GOD’S PARENTING ARM IS LONGER THAN MINE

I have finally had the faith to try out that theory.  And it is true—God loves and cares for my children as much and MORE than I do!

When that youth can come to me and say they hold these boundaries that I have set as ones they want to set now for themselves, it makes the nights of painful-holding-back-tears-prayer-filled-sleep fade into the background.

  • YOUNG TEENS FOLLOW OLDER SIBLINGS

And it isn’t always the older sibling that is walking well that they follow.  “Good people” intimidate all of us so that we feel we might never measure up, so why try??  You have been there.  I have reached into the memories to *feel* this again, so I can have a noticeable compassion, the type that builds bridges instead of walls.

  • OVER-REACTING NEVER WORKS

To see our teenagers stepping off the cliff into a world that we have already tried, it brings a knee-jerk reaction to raise our voice and use words like “foolish” and “naive”.  But to the youth, that isn’t love, that is unfair judgement.  Where trust isn’t, intimidating judgement is.  How do we gain their trust??

Space.

Yep, they need to figure somethings out on their own.

And that requires time.  Plenty of safe time without me there “hawking” over every. little. detail.

  • DISCERNMENT ISN’T SOMETHING TAUGHT, IT IS CAUGHT.

I cannot ‘scream’ discernment into each one, or bully it in, or lecture it in….they simply are watching me.

Always watching me.

They see what I have done and can decide for themselves whether they want to take the risk to do the bad and reap a negative reward, or do well and receive the blessing.

Don’t tangle with the teens.

God’s arms are long enough to hold you while He guides them.

Peace.

Rare Commodities

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Before I was a mother, I never wondered where the tape was or if we had a pencil with an eraser.  I never had to look for my sunglasses or keys.  My purse was always well stocked with mints and gum.  I also did not have to purchase several extra pairs of scissors to ensure I could always find one.

As a child (youngest of two) my personal box of crayons was always neatly organized with all the tips up—sometimes arranged by rainbow order—and they all had their paper on.  I never even ventured to doodle on my school folders until the last month of school each year…yeah, I suppose they have some OCD label for students like that now.

  • CHILDREN–YOUNG AND OLD–LOVE OFFICE SUPPLIES.

A Wite-Out roller has never survived even ONE DAY in this house.  Rubber bands?  What are those?  Staples randomly emptied just to watch how they leave the stapler.  Dry Markers. Postage stamps—fine, if you used them for mailing letters…but they are NOT stickers!

Is there a 12 inch ruler in this house that still has a straight edge?  4×6 cards, card stock, printer paper, and post-it notes are in high demand here.

Glue.  Spilled Elmers or clogged tips made me think that Glue sticks were a perfect answer.  Could they get a string-type something to keep the cap near the stick??  I always find the cap too late to save the glue, or maybe the glue just has a 1 week expiration date on it.

  • IF YOU WANT TO PUNISH AN ARTISTIC CHILD…TAKE AWAY HIS TAPE PRIVILEGES.

I learned this week that electrical tape doesn’t work to tape drawings on the walls.  Well, Blue 7 taught me that after the littles got their Scotch tape dispenser taken away.  (How did they find the electrical tape?  I am sure I would have looked forever for that)

  • OFFICE SUPPLIES MAKE PERFECT GIFTS FOR ANYONE 5 AND UP.

Or just give the mom a gift certificate to Office Max.

Am I a Good Listener?

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Someday, maybe after I am long gone and my children are looking through my archives, I hope Pink 4 will see what a great help she has been to me.

You see, I have a track record of not being the best listener.  I tend to think over my next statement while the other person is talking….or I simply interrupt with my “important” thoughts.  I have done this to my husband and friends….and most regretfully, to my children.

  • INABILITY TO LISTEN BREAKS TRUST

I can see in the children’s eyes that they don’t trust me to *hear* them.  Especially my teen daughters.  I have a long road ahead to change this pattern in my marriage, my parenting, and my friendships.

So I have a set a mini goal for the start of this change:

  • STOP WHAT I AM DOING – GET ON THEIR LEVEL – AND LISTEN!!!

Pink 4 was instrumental in teaching me that certain responses get the opposite results from what I desired.  Lecturing, yelling, answering with *auto-no’s*, and ignoring are all very unkind and disrespectful.

  • GOOD LISTENERS DON’T HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING.

Some times in life there are no words for a proper response.  Just listen….and leave with a hug.  Now for some wisdom for when that time for silence is.

Thank you, Pink 4.

Ugh, Can I Just Break This Mirror?

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  • CHILDREN ARE THE MIRRORS THAT REFLECT MOM’S ATTITUDE.

I really couldn’t be more discouraged each time I realize that my family is simply reflecting my poor attitude back to me.  I am tired of being that one that “always” has to have my game face on.  Sometimes I just want to act like I feel!!  Childish, I know.

Ok, rant over.

My EarlyMorningChildren are quite loud today, and my LateMorningChildren are probably hoping for another hour of sleep.  I wonder if I could have a “do-over”??  I know this post is probably not very encouraging, except that know you know you are not alone :)

Giving Thanks

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This morning I was inspired to keep a 2 minute Grateful list.  The idea is to take two minutes and write down as many things as you can that you are currently grateful for.  Kids can do it, too!  Here’s mine:

  • checkbooks that balance to the penny
  • children that play together quietly
  • checking things off the to do list
  • my grown son sitting next to me for lunch
  • soft, soaking rainfall
  • homemade food
  • sticky kisses
  • coffee
  • flavored creamer
  • scales that give good reports
  • empty clothes baskets
  • calls from my married daughter
  • google
  • women’s Bible study
  • unlimited texting
  • tiny arms around my neck for a long hug
  • crushed ice
  • sleeping baby that wakes happy
  • freshly bathed kids

So, I guess the lesson I have learned from mothering is:

  • I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY CHILDREN

Don’t Take The Good Days For Granted

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On those days that I find myself with my face in my hands I really have a hard time remembering that there have been….and will be….more Good days to come.

So what type of a day reduces me to a puddle of tears and sighs?  Well, there can be a million reasons a woman can have an emotional day.  But the type of day I am talking about is simply an overwhelmed-cannot-believe-God-thought-I-could-handle-so-many-children-feeling. 

And it is just that; a feeling.  The children haven’t done anything super-outrageous—for children. Just normal stuff.  Laziness, sibling rivalry, testing boundaries, making messes.  Some are more, some are less, but all are about equal in their need for growth, maturity, and the Lord Jesus.  Time will help.

But it is the span of ages that seems to have me the most weary.  It makes me able to see “down the road” to when the next couple get to that point and I shudder at my lack of strength to handle today, let alone the next 19 years!! (that is the amount of years until the baby reaches the age of the oldest)

Is there any encouragement for a woman?  One simple verse will snap me back:

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matt 6:34)

Just like I cannot worry about tomorrow….I also cannot live in the memories of yesterday -OR- wish for tomorrow to come sooner. 

  • TODAY IS ALL I HAVE

Knowing that we cannot assume we will always have another day, I must do my best for and with each child, while I have this day.

  • ENJOY EACH LOVELY MOMENT
  • HUG MORE
  • SMILE OFTEN
  • LET THE CHILDREN LAUGH, AND LAUGH WITH THEM

I might be learning these things, but I have many miles to go to display them consistently in my everyday life.

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