Basics of Motherhood – You don’t need to fix your child.

This week on the podcast, Amerey and Kathleen finished up the Back to Basics Series with Basics of Motherhood.

Are you a mother?
Do you often feel isolated or alone?
Do you feel as if you need to “fix” your child so they are like everyone else?
Do you have doubts, struggles and wonder if other mothers have the same issues?
Then this is for you!

You don’t need to fix the child.

On the The Whole House Podcast  this week, Amerey and Kathleen talk about a lie that mothers often believe. What is that lie?
That your child needs fixed. From the time our child is an infant we encounter people who tell us:

The child isn’t sleeping – fix it.
The child needs to be rocked to sleep – fix it.
The child is not reading by the time they are 4 -fix it.

It’s a never ending list.
While there are guidelines and stepping stones of development, your child doesn’t need pushed through them. God made her the way she is. Your job as a parent is to meet her where she is, not to fix her.

Your child can’t be wrong in her makeup. She is born a certain way. You can’t say that a baby’s sleeping/eating/coping patterns are wrong. You don’t need to fix the child. Don’t stress yourself. Don’t say, “Her child is right and my child is wrong.”

If you just accept your child as she is then you will feel free. You will be free to parent the child the way she needs parenting.

Don't believe the lie that your child needs fixed

You have probably already found things that work for your child.

Don’t feel guilty for doing those things. Don’t look at other parents and measure yourself against their yardstick.  You’re not failing just because you aren’t parenting like another mother is. You are doing exactly what your child needs right now. That’s good parenting.

 You are doing a great job! Go YOU! Your job is to make them feel safe, secure, and cared for. If a child has a capital letter syndrome, then we make special accommodations for her (or we should).

Even if a kiddo doesn’t have a capital letter syndrome, we should parent her in the way she needs parenting. Cecilia is Amerey’s little one who has trouble sleeping. She doesn’t have a capital letter syndrome, but at age five, she uses a weighted blanket and needs melatonin to sleep.

Adults are picky. Why can’t kids be picky?

Our culture expects kids to conform to whatever we tell them to do. Kids are humans. Each child has a personality. They will have likes and dislikes just like adults. It’s okay. Don’t force your kiddo to like something because you think she should. It will backfire. Don’t try to shove a square peg in a round hole.

Eating Issues.

You want your child to feel comfortable at the table. So, if she doesn’t like what is always being served, don’t make it about the food. Make it about nutrition and relationship. Family dinners should be about connection.

Do unto other’s as you would like to be done unto you.

Listen to your kiddo when she is expressing a need, fear, like or dislike. That’s what adults want. Kids want the same thing. Think of your child as a person.

Motherhood is steeped in whatever is going on in the current culture.

When you’re born, whatever your culture is doing, we naturally do it. That is dangerous.

We have a family culture. A church culture. A culture.

Ask yourself these questions:

Why are we parenting this way?

What is my purpose as a mother?

What are my morals and values? What are my morals?

Am I living out those values.

Pause. Examine yourself. We should be laying up our treasures in heaven. Do we want to not invest in our children so when they grow up they are floundering. They are asking – is this the right religion? Is this the right religion?

Find a Group of Moms who support you.

You can feel isolated. You can feel like a lone wolf.  Then you isolate and the then hyper focus especially if you are a perfectionist.

Moms tend not to talk about the things they really struggle with. They tell poop stories and other things, but are often afraid to tell the truth about the struggles they are going through.

 You need to reach out to other Moms and find some who are going through similar situations.

Walk away from groups/friends that don’t encourage, equip and educate you! Friends who support your on your journey and don’t judge your child or want you to fix her are the kind to keep around.

Keep in mind your mission is to raise up a well-balanced child. Your mission is NOT to create a carbon copy of everyone else. Parenting a child as if she is “right” not “wrong” will help her navigate life with confidence. The end goal is heaven and a “Well done good and faithful servant” from God, not an “Atta boy” from the world.

Want the rest of the story? Listen to the podcast!

 

 

 

WHOSE JOB IS IT ANYWAY?- THE MODERN WOMEN’S GUIDE TO HOUSEWIFERY PART III

Thanks for following along for this super short series!

Whose job is it anyway? That’s the main question that started this series of articles. When it comes to the home, whose job is whose? In the first article in the series, I shared a few questions wives can ask their husbands to get some clarification.

Today, I’d like to focus on what a stay-at-home Mom (or one with a home based business) does. Here’s a definition from Wikipedia (so you know it’s true):

A housewife is a woman whose work is running or managing her family’s home—caring for her children; buying, cooking, and storing food for the family; buying goods that the family needs in everyday life; housekeeping and maintaining the home; and making clothes for the family—and who is not employed outside the home.

Hmmm. Two aspects of this job description stick out to me.

  1. That’s an awful lot of responsibility.
  2. Really?! You haven’t updated this definition since 1950? What about taking the kids to sports events, play practices, or the multitude of other things kids do nowadays-Occupational therapies, speech therapy, tutoring and the list goes on forever…

I googled stay-at-home mom and got all kinds of blog posts and some advice I wouldn’t repeat on here. I saw kids called rotten words that I couldn’t imagine coming out of a stay-at-home Mom’s mouth. Not only has most of our current culture devalued the purpose of Motherhood in general, we Moms are devaluing ourselves. YIKES. Just ask any Mom what they do for a living. Even if they have a part time job at Starbucks (which I wouldn’t mind if I got to drink coffee all day) they will mention that before “I’m a Mom.” Or “I’m a home administrator.”

Then I found this gem on forbes.com:

“…the typical stay-at-home mom works almost 97 hours a week, spending 13.2 hours as a day-care teacher; 3.9 hours as household CEO; 7.6 hours as a psychologist; 14.1 hours as a chef; 15.4 as a housekeeper; 6.6 hours doing laundry; 9.5 hours as a PC-or-Mac operator; 10.7 hours as a facilities manager; 7.8 hours as a janitor and 7.8 hours driving the family van.

Salary.com aimed to market price Mom in the same manner it prices a job. For 10 titles, a nearly 100-hour work-week and a six-figure annual rate, moms may be the most valuable workers in the country.”

That’s good news, right? We Moms have a monetary value and should be called the most valuable workers in the country. You want to know the real reason what Moms do isn’t valued like Forbes suggests?

You can't put a dollar amount on a Mom_

You cannot measure the value of what a Mom does in mathematical terms. It’s not dollars and cents. It’s not something you can plot on a graph. What Moms do is invest in relationship. Yes, she does all the work listed above. Those are important, but they are actually footnotes in the larger scheme of things. You can’t put a dollar amount on a Mom:

  • investing in a child’s character
  • teaching them how to navigate life
  •  teaching them the foundations of family
  • unconditional love
  • the value of grace and mercy
  • forgiveness
  • steadfastness
  • how to pray
  • reading great literature
  • baking together just because
  • sitting by the fire with hot cocoa and having an in depth conversation with a teen about life

The reason our culture struggles with valuing Mothers is that you can’t really put a numeric value on it. It’s an eternal value that can’t be seen. But when a Mother has not done her job, you see the gaping hole in a child’s life. When you see a child who can’t manage to navigate the world when he is older, who do you blame? The Mother.

So, Mama if you are reading this and you have believed the lie that what you do is not valuable, remember this- C.S. Lewis said:

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”

 

The Myth Of Multitasking

Ever feel as your mind is cluttered and if you add one more thing on your spinning plate, you’ll lose it? 

Do you constantly think about what you have to do next instead of what you are doing right now?

Do you unload the dishwasher while talking on the phone and planning out your week’s menu?

Does thinking about everything you need to do in your day fill you with dread?

The truth is, women are great multitaskers. It’s true. We can hold the baby, cook dinner and fold laundry with our eyes closed. With today’s fast paced life, we have bought the lie that we need to be productive all the time. So, we multitask more. The problem is, it’s killing us. Literally.

Women’s body’s respond differently to stress than men’s. In today’s world, women can have it all, but that means we have to manage it all. If we don’t, we can respond to stress in a variety of ways. It effects our emotional, physical and spiritual well being. We can have symptoms such as:

  • Skin issues- itchy rashes, breakouts and/or hives
  • Sleep problems- insomnia, racing thoughts at night
  • Emotional issues, irritability, anger, blue moods
  • Stomach ailments (stress can make you reach for junk foods)
  • Headaches

This is the short list. Stress attacks our immune system and leaves us wondering why we feel sick all the time.

Dr Debra Villar says in her book, Urban Women’s Syndrome, our modern rushed lifestyles are contributing to chronic lifestyle disorders such as auto-immune diseases, infertility, stress and hormonal imbalances.

Today’s societal pressures contribute to the multitasking myth. We women believe we must be productive all the time, but often let the culture determine what we should spend our time doing. We often feel guilty if we don’t:

  • Have a perfectly clean HGTV house ALL the time
  • Have our nails, make-up and hair done
  • Have our children dressed as if they are in a photo shoot
  • Have organic meals served every day
  • Have thin, toned bodies even shortly after giving birth to a child
  • Have our calendars full of good things such as church events and charity work

These are just a few of the things that cause stress in a women’s life so we multitask our butts off to get them all back in order. But, at what cost? Why doesn’t our to-do list include hanging out in the hammocks with our kiddos? Reading a good book? Going out for coffee with our besties and just talking for an hour about nothing.

It's #NewKicks Friday!

The book The 4 Disciplines of Execution states it well:

“Improving our ability to multitask actually hampers our ability to think deeply and creatively… the more you multitask the less deliberative our become: the less you are able to think.”

“Just because we women can do everything doesn’t mean we should. Trying to do everything all at the same time usually leaves us with stuff strewn all over the kitchen, a baby crying in one ear, a friend chattering over the phone in the other, and a pot boiling over. Doesn’t sound like fun to me.”- Kelly Balarie, Battle Ready

While we women can’t avoid multitasking altogether, we can begin to practice the discipline of focusing on one thing. It is a discipline and it takes some practice. You can start the practice today! It’s not too difficult and the benefits are health and life.

Try this today, while you are doing whatever you do, meditate on it. Think about it. Proverbs 4 speaks of meditating on the word because it is life to all who find it and health to all of your flesh. Why not apply this principle to your life? Think about what you are doing while you are doing it. Instead of thinking about what is for dinner while you are reading aloud to your child, think about what you are reading. Look at her face, feel the softness of her hair, read the story with every ounce of your being. While you are in your exercise class, instead of thinking about the drive home and the tasks awaiting you, think about your muscles. Think about what great things you are doing for your health. Focus on the moment.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, – Ecclesiastes 9: 10a

The verse doesn’t say, find lots of things to do and do them with all of your might. Just do the thing in front of you, one thing at a time. It’s unrealistic to think we can give up multitasking all together, but let’s make an effort to focus on one thing today!

When Your Child Leaves the Nest…

I cried myself to sleep every night after my oldest daughter graduated and went to college. Then I had  a brief respite of four years before five kids graduated in a row.

My friend Lori is going through her eldest graduating this year and it has been an emotional roller coaster for her as well.

“Why didn’t you tell me it was like this?” she asked me.

I told her I hadn’t recovered from the trauma of it myself.

No one ever tells you that part. We go through seasons of just wishing this part was over when the sleepless nights drag on and on. We Moms wish the kiddos would get to the next stage, whether that is walking, talking or just plain growing up.

And then it happens. Senior year rolls around. It flies by. The independence has already heightened by this point. Part time jobs. Volunteering at the soup kitchen, babysitting, being a camp counselor. We’re so proud. We pat them on the back and say, “Great job!” So many accolades the last few years of school. Then senior pictures roll around and we Moms feel as if we have been sucker punched in the gut.

It’s almost as if we want to call it back, “I didn’t mean it! I didn’t really want you to grow up!”

But it’s too late. They are looking ahead to the future with stars in their eyes and we are looking back with tears in ours.

There are all these spiritual mantras about shooting your arrows into the world. When you train a child up in the way he should you, you shouldn’t be afraid to let them go. All of these are true. But, let’s talk about our emotions. Those are real. They don’t just disappear when someone preaches some platitudes.

Three things I want Moms to remember about your kids growing up:

 

  1. We worked all these years to attach. Detachment is a hard job. We have to detach in a healthy- go make some decisions kind of way without being a helicopter parent. That’s hard. Like REALLY hard. And even if our child seems as if he isn’t making the decision we want him to, we need to let him decide (I’m talking about selecting majors or getting jobs, not illegal stuff).
  2. It’s okay to mourn. When our kids leave home, we go through a grieving process. We need to. If you don’t cry, you can’t move on to the joy that comes in the morning. Lori-It’s as if sadness and crying is looked at as a weakness or a problem to fix. If you’re not a crier, find another way to grieve. There’s a time to mourn and a time to cry…that’s where I am.  I know there will be a time to dance. But you have to let all those times happen….not squash them.

Don’t skip the crying just because it’s hard..png

Don’t skip the crying because it’s hard…work through it and realize it’s only a season.  Then the dance will be so much sweeter

  1. Find friends who have gone through what you are going through. Cling to them. Ask them questions. Don’t try to bear the burden alone. There is wisdom in many counselors. Find some people you consider wise and pick their brains.

When it’s time for your kids to start adulting, prepare for the emotional roller coaster. You’ll be happy and sad at the same time. As Lori said on the podcast this week, when she realized that she was graduating her son, “I did it!!!! OH, WAIT, I did it.”

We Moms spend years attaching, teaching life skills, helping our kids learn how to read, how to fill out an application for a part time job, keeping them safe and the list goes on. We teach them to be independent. Suddenly, they are. They want to make choices without us. We rejoice over this, but with it comes a feeling of being left behind. It’s okay. Perfectly normal. Grieve. It’s okay. It’s just a stage in the journey. That same son/daughter who doesn’t want your opinion on a major will be calling you next week to ask you how to make mashed potatoes. True story. Hang in there Moms. it gets easier. It gets different, but easier. Before you know it, your son or daughter will be coming to you as a friend, a companion. There is a season for everything. This is just one of those seasons.

 

 

 

 

The Superpowers of Motherhood

Moms, did you know you have superpowers? Maybe you don’t feel like it today. We understand. Here’s some good news. Moms do have superpowers. One of them is the power of your powers is influence.

Influence is “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others,” according to www.dictionary.com

Moms have superpowers

Today, a congregation of women scream, “WE WANT POWER,” a cry of a hurting world.  Movies portray the powerful in the role of savior or destroyer. Super heroes rescue. Hobbits triumph over evil, hurling it back into the depth of the pit whence it came. Evil overlords pronounce supreme rulership over the world and wield destruction as their weapon.

And yet…it is the woman— the wife and mother— who wields the power of influence. She is that quiet warrior behind closed doors who scrubs bacteria from toilets, tucks wiggly bodies into beds, makes peanut butter sandwiches and judges Lego building contests.  She covers the words of the Lord with sticky-tabs and prays in the gray dawn for her husband, her children, and those sick in the church body, noticing those hurting souls. She makes the house feel like a home whether it is a trailer, an orphanage sick room, a suburban house, or a mansion in a gated community. She plants flowers, reminding the family that beauty exists when the money’s too tight to travel to a museum. She has water fights with teens in the backyard when the move to a new city just isn’t working out. She laughs at a child’s first attempt at a joke.

The mother holds the “flagon with the dragon, the chalice with the palace, the cup of poison” (The Court Jester, with Danny Kaye). She can share the poisoned cup and live in a negative environment, full of negativity and strife. She also holds the honey-flavored drink of kindness that she can dispense regularly for a sweet environment. It is up to her which one she drinks and shares from and which she throws out.

Our culture tends to look at the work of a mother with disdain and pity. She is viewed as powerless. The common belief is that mother must leave the home for a full time career to influence the world. But C. S. Lewis, in one of his collected letters, wrote, “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only—and that is to support that career.”

Oh, she is powerful enough to turn the earth on its axis! Night can quickly become day, or vice versa, under her influence. The power I lacked in the orphanage was authority over medical issues and freedom of transportation. I was not powerless. In spending time with them, interacting, playing, I was answering the question, “Is life good?” My children needed a “Yes!”  answer. They needed to know there was more to life— a different life— than the neglect and mere survival they had experienced. (excerpt from A Positive Adoption Story: The Door from Theology to Reality)

Listen to this week’s The Whole House Podcast for more about the Superpowers of Motherhood! Subscribe on iTunes here.

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