From Older Moms to Younger Moms- Three Things We Need from YOU

*This post was spring boarded from a post by Jessica Bolyard. You can find it here. 

My children aren’t small anymore. There was a season when I had seven children at home. It seemed as if it would last forever. There were meals to prepare. Diapers to change for years on end. The dishwasher/washer/dryer needed unloaded constantly. Kids were fighting. I couldn’t see the end in sight.

Other days, the sun shone. The children got along for a few hours or a child had a breakthrough in learning and I was there to see it. Or we made cookies and watched a movie. We stayed up late and watched the moon. I prayed those days would never end.

They did end. Kiddos grow up. Go to college. Get jobs. Get married. And we Moms enter a new season. Every season has merit. Every season has value. When Mamas enter the phase of life when the kiddos are not so little, things change. Drastically.  We enter a new phase of our lives. We become the mentors. It’s biblical. I like that.

 Older women similarly are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor addicted to much wine, teaching what is right and good, so that they may encourage the young women to tenderly love their husbands and their children, to be sensible, pure, makers of a home [where God is honored], good-natured, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.-Titus 2:3-5

I shared Rachel’s post above. When our kids aren’t little anymore, what we need from you who have littles:

  1. Listen to the wisdom that we share that is biblical and sound whether we can use Twitter or understand Tumblr. Knowledge of social media or lack thereof is not a measure of wisdom. Some of the ladies you need to hear from don’t Facebook or tweet. You’ll have to meet them for coffee ( I do social media but prefer real time coffee). We may not be able to see the pain in a tweet or post. We grew up seeing facial expressions, not reading emojis. When we say, WHAT? We mean we don’t get it. Don’t think we don’t have the wisdom or experience to meet you where you are if we don’t know how to tweet an answer in the characters allotted.
  2. Don’t discount our advice because our older children have chosen alternative lifestyles or left the church. Our wisdom and experience combined may help you. These are our children’s choices. Not ours. Your children will make their own choices one day. You probably don’t like all the choices they make now, but it seems so much more controllable when kids are small. When they are grown, be prepared to find a listening ear when your kids choose things you wish they hadn’t. Get your shoes of peace on. Apply liberal amounts of grace and keep the relationship going.
  3. Ask us. You may be surprised by our willingness to share. Just because we look as if we have it all together (myself excluded) doesn’t mean we haven’t had hardships along the way. We each have a story. When we tell them, healing springs forth for the listener and the story teller. We can’t step into your home and tell you how to run your household unless we are invited into your lives. We can’t tell you how to love your husbands unless you ask. If you’re asking the young mom at the soccer field what to do or finding your answers on social media, you may not be getting the wisdom you need. It’s not that these women don’t have some answers, they don’t have years of experience to draw from.

Younger moms, we are here for you. You aren’t alone. No, your season won’t last forever, but that doesn’t make some days feel like forever. I get it. Some nights seemed as if they lasted an eternity when babies were sick and couldn’t sleep. Those moments when everyone got a long for a few hours were glorious. I didn’t think the season of raising children would ever end. Now, I’m in a new season, trying to find my way around. I haven’t forgotten you, young Moms. I’m just a text or phone call away. Don’t expect me to have all the answers. I don’t. What I do have is a listening ear, experience and a prayer.

 

Should You Attend the Empowered to Connect Conference?

Remember that old commercial, “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids!” That rabbit never gives up, he keeps trying to capture his share of the sugary cereal.

That’s the same scenario that plays out when people see the banner, post or tweet about the Show Hope’s Empowered to Connect Conference (April 8th and 9th) They think, “Silly me, that conference is for foster and adoptive parents!” It’s not just for for adoptive/foster families. It may be for you:

 

If you counsel  families and children….

 

If you are a teacher…

If you are a judge….

If you are a psychologist, teacher, therapist, have a special needs child, have a specialization in child development, work with children on the spectrum or work with children on a daily basis, this conference is for YOU.

If you are scratching your head, wondering what T.B.R.I. (Trust Based Relational Intervention), watch this intro video and share!

If you are interested in attending the Show Hope Empowered to Connect Simulcast and you live in the Fairmont, Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Morgantown (WV) area, you can find more info here. If you would like to attend and live elsewhere, click here to find a location near you. Hope to see you April 8th and 9th at the Empowered to Connect Conference!

*For CEUS, make sure you register here. This is a separate registration than regular attendance and MUST be done online.

Everyone has Limitations

We sat on comfy overstuffed furniture in the cafe and sipped hot drinks at the Mom’s Tea last Friday. The topic was escaping. When I had previewed the lesson, I thought, this doesn’t really apply to my ladies. I know them. They struggle more with not taking a break then escaping into alternate realities through the internet and other avenues, like drugs and alcohol. It is a relevant topic for today’s culture. Are we living in the moment with our children in the real world or are we too busy posting seemingly perfect pics on social media? I’m not against posting an occasional update for friends and family. I do that myself. What we were discussing was much more serious in nature, having to do with addictions and not living in real life in real time.

Through our discussion, I gleaned some information that I find are reoccurring themes with Moms. See if you relate to any of these.

  1. Moms feel guilty taking time for themselves.
  2. Moms work themselves hard and expect more from themselves than they do from others.
  3. Those Moms who work themselves like pack horses are often too exhausted to ever do anything fun or  reward themselves.
  4. Moms who work themselves too hard, having unrealistic expectations, are prone to not only physical exhaustion, but sickness
  5. Moms feel as if they need to be the best ALL  the time (Perfectionism)

As you can see, our conversation quickly too a turn from escapism to guilt. Do you find yourself in any of these statements? Can I let you in on a secret?  I see myself in every one of them at one time or another. Maybe one or two a day.

Why?

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I’m speaking from the experience of a homeschool Mom, it’s almost as if there is some invisible edict floating around our culture that says if you choose to stay home, you had better do it perfectly. My house should be sparkling because I am home. My children should be clean, respectful, well-mannered, because I am teaching them. I should prepare organic meals that take me hours to prepare and my kids love to eat them. Or maybe you work part time, or full time and you believe that lie that you can have it all and do it all.

Guess what? I can’t do it all and neither can you. We are human. We have limitations. We might be bossed around by cultural edicts, but we can ignore them. Guilt might rear its ugly head if we don’t do everything all the time, but we can tell it to be quiet.(Tweet that)

We try to balance our bank account and not spend all the money so that we don’t have overage fees, yet we over spend our mental and physical accounts. When we do, everyone pays the overage fees. Our bodies shut down. We yell at our kids. We are cranky.  Instead of keeping up our standard of perfection, we crash.

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Back to the list. Guilt is a scary beast. Moms don’t like guilt. Don’t let it boss you around. Take some time for yourself. Jesus did.He wanted to get away from his public (Mark 7:24). I’m not saying run around town every day and ignore your kids and home. Schedule time to do something you like. Coffee with a friend. Writing. Crafting. Something you like. It’s important for your kids to see you doing something of value apart from them. Your children will eventually treat themselves the way you treat yourself. (Tweet this) 

As far as work goes, we Moms quote scriptures like ‘whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might.’ That is a great scripture. Notice, it doesn’t say, do everything. How about one thing?  How about whatever is before you? Not the panoramic view. The one thing. (More on this in another post).

You are not a work horse. You don’t have to do everything all the time.

“Each day, ask God what god wants us to do today; then ask God to help. A simple request, but so profound and far reaching it can take us anywhere we need to go.

Listen: all that we want, all that we need, all the answers, all the help, all the good, all the love, all the healing, all the wisdom, all the fulfillment of desire is emodied in this simple request. We need say no more than Thank You.

This plan has been made for us and it is not one of deprivation. It is one of fullness, joy and abundance. Walk into it. See for yourself.”- Melody Beattie

Last, but not least, listen to your body. Don’t ignore the signs of stress. Don’t ignore that sore throat or exhaustion. God gave you indicators for a reason. Just as you wouldn’t ignore the oil light in your car, don’t ignore the physical and emotional signals that you need a break.

Ladies, we have physical limitations. We are humans. We hunger. We thirst. We need breaks and times of refreshing. It is profitable to take them. We reap a fresh outlook when we sow seeds of the proper sort of escape.

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Wednesday! Join us!

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Play-dates for Moms

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There has long been a debate about ‘me’ time for Moms. During my early parenting years, it seemed to be frowned upon (by the church body as a whole). Then it seemed to come back around to the idea that it was okay for Moms to spend time away from the little ones, provided they strapped a heaping helping of guilt on their backs.

I’m thankful that there has been a paradigm shift for Moms. If you are a younger Mom, you probably heard of Mommy time in a positive light. And that is good. I’d like to delve a little deeper into the concept of ‘me’ time or play-dates for Moms.Young Moms are fed the important truth of put your own oxygen mask on first. This looks different at different stages of our parenting journey. With infants, it could be napping while the baby does or reading an encouraging book or watching a movie with hubby. It could be having your momma over for the day to help, to talk to or my favorite to craft or created something for the home. Play-dates morph into other Moms coming over with their little ones to play. Moms talk intermittently while kids play. Kids eat snacks and make friends. Then this practice moves to soccer field sidelines, birthday parties, libraries, parks and farmer’s markets. Sometimes, these snippets of conversation are enough to sustain a weary Momma’s soul. But, there is a catch.

A BIG CATCH.

These play-dates are only helpful if they encourage.

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Here’s an example and it all stems from the book of Genesis.

I love watching home renovation shows. I could watch them all day long. Here’s the catch: watching HGTV is great for me (in moderation) if it encourages me to do projects within my budget (physically, emotionally, spiritually) i.e. it inspires me to be a better keeper of my home with excellence I love Holley Gerth’s definition of excellence-

“Excellence is doing what you can, with what you have, where you are, as you are.”

When renovation shows lead to inspiration that translates into improvements within my scope then they are beneficial. This translates into work (perspiration) which leads to satisfaction and I say, “it is good” (Genesis 1:31)

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HGTV is not good for me when it leads me down the path of discontent. When I watch a show and suddenly feel my house is too yellow, too old, too outdated, then I need to switch the TV off. It’s not building me up, it is tearing me down and I eventually tear my family down when I complain to my husband that my home is not _____ enough. Eve had the same struggle before the fall and she had it all. She let the deceiver convince her that what she had wasn’t good enough. She “saw that the tree was good (suitable and pleasant)for food and that it was delightful to look at” and she ate it and gave it to her husband. And that act of discontent changed the world.

The same principle apples to play-dates for Moms. Will the time satisfy our desire for connection and inspire us or incite our lust and give us a contempt for our present circumstances? When play-dates become the bait in the comparison trap, we moms need to spare ourselves the trip (Click to TWEET). We all have those times we leave an outing feeling deflated instead of encouraged. We have all had or been those Moms who is quick to  one-up during conversations to make ourselves feel better or hide the truth to make ourselves look better. Truths like it took everything within you just to get out the door to this get together. Kids were whining and hanging on you, You got peanut butter rubbed on your pants and had to change. A kid accidentally spilled the cats water on your freshly blow dried hair (true stories, I don’t have to make this stuff up). We Moms need to be authentic with each other in order to encourage one another. (Click to TWEET) We adoptive Moms who are raising children from hard places need someone to be real with. Someone who won’t judge us and make us feel like we are “all wrong”. We need support and encouragement and the hope that things will be “all right”.

So what does an encouraging play-date look like for us Moms? Does it have to be fancy? Or can it be out on the weather-worn deck with cups of coffee. Does it have to always be dressed up in real clothes instead of yoga pants and t-shirts? Do any of these things matter? Friday, my girls and i will be answering these questions:

What do you think an encouraging play-date for Moms looks like?

What do you think is the most encouraging thing a Mom friend could say to you?

What do you think a discouraging play-date looks like?

Who has been a great play-date friend and how did she accomplish it?

Feel free to join us and share you answers in the comments!

A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor and Three word Wednesday!

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