Category Archives: Parenting

Being made new…

MadeNew

First off, I want to give a big shout out to all the moms out there – new moms, old moms, want-to-be moms, stepmoms, adoptive moms, foster moms, fill-in moms, angel moms, and any other moms.  Praise God for giving you hearts filled with joy in the midst of trials, minds filled with strength and hope in the midst of chaos and panic, courage and faith in the midst of worry and fear.  Thank you for doing the best job you could do – a job only a mother can do!

Now that you’re feeling like you’ve accomplished something, many of you are really a mess, right?

You’re tired.
You’re worn.
You’re not just worn, you’re exhausted.
You’re overjoyed.
You’re emotional.
You’re desperate for a potty break alone.
You long for a phone call that doesn’t sound like an all call to the screams and cries of toddlers and teens.

You’re heart is full for your babies and children but is it full for you?  And I’m not just talking to the younger moms.  I’m talking to you older moms who’s kids are either soon to move into adulthood or perhaps already there.  Your hearts are full too.

Full of worry.
Full of questions.
Full of doubt.
Full of concern.
Full of hope for their future.
Full of love.

I’m figuring out, this being a mom thing brings on a whole world of emotions all on its own.  As if we women didn’t have enough emotions already?!  Thanks, Eve ;)

Listen up, moms.  Stop.  Right now.

Stop the worrying.

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  Matthew 6:27

Think back to when you were younger.  Did YOU make any dumb decisions?  Do YOU make any bad choices?  I doubt anyone can answer that truthfully with a, “No!”  Did you learn from your mistakes?  Did you grow through them?

So will your kids!

The message I want to share with you today is to stop worrying and simply love them, unconditionally.  Support them.  Encourage them.  Believe them and believe in them.  Talk to them and listen to them.  Share your faults and failures and let them know that we are all human.  Tell them it’s okay to make mistakes.  Remind them that you will love them no matter what.  Let them know that God will love them because He wants to, not because of their good deeds or perfections.  Teach them that’s no excuse for sin, but to seek God in their sin, to turn to Him in the midst of their failures, in the middles of their storms, to seek Him with all their hearts.

And, if they aren’t there yet, be patient.  How patient has God been with you?  Don’t judge them or turn away from them.  Love them.  Pray for them.  Let them know that a mother’s love is only second best to God’s love.  Prove to them that you are their biggest fan, that you will love and protect them at any cost but also let them know that God is first in your life.  Lead by example.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

And moms, you’re going to fail.

You’re not always going to make the right choice or the best decisions, either.  And just as you’re patient with your children, God is patient with you.  He understands we make messes and He’s ready to help clean them up.  Let Him.

Stop trying to write their story.  Give the pen back to God.  He’s writing your story and theirs.  Let Him work in their lives and instead of trying to write their story, simply be a part of it…a good part, the part God intended for you to be.  He intended for you to shower them with love and praise, to encourage them, to protect them, to support them, to believe them, to love them.  Do your part and leave the rest to God.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

You are being made new and so are they.  Every day is another part of the story.  Every triumph and trial is another part of the story.  Let Him be your author and theirs.  It won’t always be easy but it will be worth it!

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The reality of choices…

GoodChoiceBadChoice

Of the three little people who call me mom, the oldest and I tend to butt heads sometimes most of the time.  We always have.  That’s probably because we’re pretty much made from the same mold – too much alike.

Lately, I’ve been trying to think things through a little better, really think about what I’m going to say and how to handle situations with him and the other two little snuggle buddies that have free rent here.

Well … that’s not working out so great.

I harp and preach to the three about choices and yet I fail to listen to myself.

Thing is, maybe I feel I’m exempt?  Perhaps I think because I’m the parent, I have a right to my feelings or can justify my actions?  Why wouldn’t they have that same right?  Because I’m the parent?

My point is, we all have choices, yep, even me.  Well, this isn’t quite going the way I intended it to – I really thought I’d blog about how I’m wisely teaching the boy to be aware of his choices and how to make the right choice.  Hmm…

Instead, I’m learning, even through this blog post that we ALL have choices.

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

When I react towards them, their mistakes, their whines, their annoying kid moments, out of anger, I’ve made a choice.  I’ve chosen to put aside a loving mother reaction and instead, chosen to allow the stresses of life to get in the way of a proper response.

I’ve been trying to encourage my kids to make good choices and to understand that bad choices have consequences but what kind of example am I setting for them when I make bad choices with how I respond to them.

So today, I walk away realizing that if I want to teach them, I can’t just preach it, I have to live it.  I have to learn to control my own responses and make good choices with my reactions and responses.

Do you struggle with this?  Have you found something that helped or worked for you?  Please share :)

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Who Made This Mess?

MotherhoodMessy

Motherhood is messy.

Goldfish in the bottom of your purse.
Army men in the toilet.
Snot on your shoulder and maybe in your hair.
Toilet paper on the floor and none to be found on the roll.
Dog hair in YOUR brush.
Bubble gum on their shoe, and yours.
Up the back diapers – you know what I’m talking about?!
Scribbles on your checkbook, your wall, and that one of a kind painting.
Splashes from bath time all over the floor.

Did I mention motherhood is messy?

Not only do we face sticky situations like the ones I mentioned above, but we also face challenges with knowing what to teach our kids, how to teach them well and how to help grow them into responsible, intelligent, compassionate adults.

Having an unstable family growing up, I never really felt mothered like I imagined it was suppose to be.  When I became a mom, I had no idea what that meant, how I was suppose to act or treat this little person, other than to simply love him and even that came with difficulties.

I didn’t really understand love.  I had never really felt loved.  I knew in my head that my grandpa loved me with all his heart.  There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that he loved me.  He was always there when I needed someone.  He was the one decent father figure I had after one had abandoned me and the other abused me.  He was always kind.  He was my best friend.  But, he was all I really knew about love.

What I thought I knew about love had been all wrong.  Every.single.person shy of my grandpa, that I thought loved me, had hurt me tremendously.  Love meant they left me, hurt me, used me, made fun of me.  Most of what I thought I knew about love was painful, hurtful and lonely.

So here was this new little baby boy, beautiful, innocent and fragile.  He needing nothing more than protection, nurturing and love but I didn’t know how to give him that.  I had not been protected.  I had not been nurtured.  I felt unloved.  How could I give him what I knew nothing about?

My role as a mother became hell.  I felt myself growing further and further from him.  While I knew in my heart that I loved him so dearly, I did not know how to show that or accept his unconditional love for me.  I pulled away, distanced myself.  I sunk into a horrible, deep, dark depression.  I spent my first mother’s day, alone.

It took a long time to move past that.  It took giving up, not on life, but on controlling my life.  It took a breaking point, a vision of the own abuse I had suffered through, to change me.  In a moment of sheer desperation, I cried out to God. 

“I can’t do this anymore.
I can’t do this alone.
I don’t know how to love.
I don’t know how to be a good mom.
I don’t want to hurt him like I was hurt.
He deserves more than that.
He deserves a good mom.
He deserves to feel loved.”

And in that moment, I let go of the reigns and gave them to God.

Things didn’t change over night.  In fact, if you talked to that little boy today, who is now a thirteen year old teenager, he would probably say I’m an okay mom but I’ve had my moments and many of them at that.  He would say, “Yeah, she’s okay.” or “Yeah, she yells a lot.”  But I’m pretty sure he knows that I love him.  And there’s no doubt in my mind that I would do absolutely everything in my power to protect him, to show him love and to make sure he knows that I am here for him, through anything.

So, this whole mom thing is pretty messy.  Much of this mess, I created myself.  Add in two other kiddos and there’s a whole world more of messiness around here, LOL!

The thing is, it’s good messy.  It’s fun, it’s happy, it’s hopeful.  And while there are still times of frustration, while there are still times when I fail horribly, I have learned to accept my faults and to apologize.  I have looked at my children, after yelling at them over something silly, realizing my anger was really from my own issues and not theirs, and had to apologize.  Learning to apologize for our shortcomings and our faults is not easy, especially to the people we want to respect and obey us, but it is so importantThey need to know that it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s even better when we can admit them.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8

That’s my messy mom stories for today.  What’s yours?

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31 Days | Day 13 – Colorful Blankets

Have you ever had that moment when you realized you just stole the joy from your child?  I have and it’s a hard one to digest.

A couple weeks ago, we heard the excitement in Olivia’s voice as she showed off her fancy made bed to her brothers.  The boys had cleaned and made their beds early in the evening and she wanted to be a big kid like them and do hers all by herself.  She proudly came running into the living room shouting to her dad and I …

“I made my bed!  It’s pretty colors!  Come see!  Come see!”

Of course we went without hesitation to her bedroom.  There, we found about 10 multicolored baby blankets neatly flattened across her bed.  She had done such a wonderful job getting them just right.  I praised her on a job well done and her great choice of colors and asked, “Are you going to sleep under all those pretty colors tonight?”  She quickly replied, “Yep!”

In a completely innocent attempt to give her something special, I said, “Hang on, I have something special for you!”  

I ran to the closet and pulled out the most special blanket.  My grandmother did a lot of sewing.  My mother kept many of my grandmothers fabrics.  She had cut out some Holly Hobby dolls (the profile view of the little country girl wearing a bonnet) and never did anything with them.  Well, several years ago, my mom had a large quilt made for me with those dolls and before we ever even knew about Olivia, she also had a toddler blanket made from them, just in case I ever had a little girl :)

I went in Olivia’s room with this awesome little blanket I’d been dying to give her.  I started to remove her beautiful arrangement of blankets and place the new blanket on her bed.  With excitement, I said, “Here, this is a very special blanket that Nana had made just for you!  Don’t you love it?”

To my dismay, she didn’t.  I had ruined her moment.  Although I had the best of intentions, I had minimized the specialness of her sweet combination of colorful blankets arranged so perfectly on her little bed.

In the end, she did love her new blanket special from Nana.  And for years to come, I will remind her just how special it is that it’s made from my Nana’s fabric and a gift from her Nana. 

Right now, this was a reminder to me though, to enjoy her moments, for her.  To let her have her moments and to build her up through her own creativity.  It was an awakening that I don’t have to fix everything or try to make everything better.  Sometimes things are just right the way she chooses.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

31 Days | October 2012 Series

In my journey to do more with my blog, I’m finding many other awesome blogs.  One of those happens to be the Nesting Place.  Each year in October, the “Nester” does a series on her blog, 31 days of …

Last year, over 700 bloggers joined her.

This year, I am going to be one of them :)

This series runs from 10/1/12 – 10/31/12.  This will be the landing page so I’ll add links here every day so in the end, they’ll be easy to find!

I had the hardest time choosing a topic but finally settled on

 

Day 1 | Bedtime
Day 2 | Yard Work
Day 3 | Soccer Mom
Day 4 | Backwards
Day 5 | I Flied
Day 6 | Wrong Feet
Day 7 | Good Job Kid
Day 8 | Purple Hair
Day 9 | 3 Feet
Day 10 | Her Coat
Day 11 | Rice Krispies
Day 12 | Go to Bed
Day 13 | Colorful Blankets
Day 14 | Delightful
Day 15 | Another Baby
Day 16 | Obviously
Day 17 | Late Night
      
How did you decide on kids quotes?

Too often, we go through the hustle and bustle of daily life only hearing a fraction (maybe 10%) of what our kids really say (the other 90% we’ve mastered tuning out, right?!).  Sometimes they say things that to them mean so much, but to us, seems so silly.  Other times, they say the funiest things and minutes later, after a good chuckle, I’ve completely forgotten what they said.

My mom is always on me about writing down the things they say and honestly, while I know I should and they’ve said many things I wish I’d written down, I usually allow other things to get in the way.

This month, I’m vowing to take the time to listen and to write these things down.  Best of all, I’m going to share them with you all!

I hope this will help me tune into them more than tuning them out.

I want to hear them.
They need me to listen.
What they have to say is important.

If I don’t listen now, when they are little, who will they turn to when they are older?

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Three T’s for Tuesday – 9/11/12 – Spanking

**What works for my family, may not be the right thing for your family but I have learned a lot through trial and error, mistake and prayer.  I am no expert on families, but I am an expert on mine.  My opinions and suggestions are simply that, opinions and suggestions.  Take from them what works for you and put aside the rest :)

The first topic in our new series, Three T’s for Tueday:  Tackling Tough Topics is…

To spank or not to spank?  Is it abuse?  Is it discipline?

What are your thought on spanking?

Let’s get one thing clear first and foremost.  Spanking is not the same as beating, bruising, blistering, or any other physical harm.  Anything more than a gentle, corrective swat, is not a spanking, it’s a abuse.

I had a great conversation, with a dear friend, on spanking just a the other day.  While our opinions on some things vary, it prompted me to give more thought on my own feelings and beliefs as well as dig into what God’s word says.

First off, I will say that in our home, we have and do occasionally spank.  Personally, I think there’s an age this works best, about 2 years to 5-6 years of age, but I certainly don’t consider spanking the only option for discipline.  In fact, it’s typically the least used in our home and has often been the least effective.

Each of our children respond differently to discipline.  For our oldest son, spankings were the least effective.  It took years to figure out I was simply doing things wrong with him.  Once I learned that taking things away meant something to him, his behavior improved leaps and bounds.  With our two younger children, spanking seems to work, though I often look for other alternatives.

The most common form of discipline we use for our boys who are 12 and almost 8, is writing sentences.  It started out as a simple “I will not lie” kind of thing but I felt it needed to be more and there were other lessons they could gain through sentences.  I also started using Bible verses.  I looked up verses that fit whatever they had done such as, “Do not lie to each other” Col. 3:9a.

During the conversation with my friend, as I was explaining having my kids write Bible verses, she commented that she didn’t want her kids to see the Bible as punishment.  I don’t look at it that way.  I look at it as an opportunity to show them that not only were their actions wrong as far as I am concerned, but that God’s word says it’s wrong as well.  It’s also a time for them to be in His word, to teach them that in times of trouble, we can and should lean on Him.

I’ve often heard these verses used to defend spanking:

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.  Proverbs 13:24

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.  Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.  Proverbs 23:13-14

The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.  Proverbs 29:15

The best explanation I have read against these defenses was, “The “rod” was not meant to hit children.  In fact, we find in scripture where it says, “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4b.  The rod and staff were used by shepherds to guide sheep along their path.  It was not intended to exhort parents to hit their children.”

The most important thing with any discipline is following through with a discussion.  We discuss what actions they did, why it was wrong, how to make better choices and why I chose the punishment.  I reassure them that I am going to love them even through their mistakes and bad choices but that I am their parent and it is my job to teach them right and wrong.  I want them to know that I love them and don’t expect them to be perfect, but that I am here to help guide them and teach them in the hopes that they will learn to make better choices.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com