I love It occurs to me lately that there are many experiences we have in life that can be occasions to learn things that will carry us through our lives, help us survive our reality…
For instance, my daughters (12 & 14 years) had the opportunity to be in a play, and it was a blast in many ways, but when we really got down to the brass tacks of it, they HAD to memorize their lines. There was just no way around it, but, I found that because of their experience “performing” in soccer games for years and years, they had the ability to PUSH themselves to finish well. It was cool to watch them be successful. It made me think, man, am I glad my husband is a coach and has kept my girls active and involved, but also about so many ways that I had been prepared for what I do now, being a mom…
Firstly, one really great thing was that I have a good mom. She was always cooking us nutritious foods and letting us help and reading to us, singing to us and with us, and letting us be children. I am very thankful for her role in my life. She is a wonderful Grammy, too, always sending cards and gifts, and pictures, calling to talk- I am very blessed. Since yesterday was Fathers Day, I would like to take this moment to thank her for not only being a great mom but also for stepping in and taking on the role of Dad after my folks divorced. You are really special, Mom! And Beautiful too!!
Secondly, I had lots of opportunities to witness good mothers, of all different genres throughout my life, and was even able to spend time helping or babysitting. This is an incredible gift you can give to a young woman, if you have little children, and need occasional help: consider asking a preteen/teenage girl to assist you one or two days a week and train her. This will bear fruit in your life (look, the laundry pile is shrinking), but in hers as well. She will see the way you do things and how you make life work, and this will be inspiring to her, she will glean your little pearls of wisdom, and if she pays attention, she will be able to apply these principals to her own life down the road. I am eternally grateful to the families that allowed me to work for them, and taught me things about babies, cooking, playing with children and caring for them! A note for parents who are yet to hire babysitters: you need to teach the young ladies how to do what you want them to do. Tell them what you expect of them, and reward them financially when they do a good job. There is no reason that after she puts the children to bed she can’t do up the dishes and vacuum the living room floor. But she may not be intuitively a cleaner so you may need to make her a list, or talk to her. Usually, if there is monetary gain, the babysitter will oblige your ideal scenario: coming home from date night to a tidied house!
When we have people and experiences in our lives that can train and teach us to do things in a certain way, we become another generation of people who know how. This is a gift. Not everyone knows how to plant a garden, sew a patch onto a pair of jeans, get laundry white, teach children to potty train, etc. Despite having a good mother I am still learning on the job quite often! I wish that young people were being taught how to care for a car, how to cut hair, how to cook- simple and yet important things that not all of us know about. This is two fold, Not only would the next generation feel a purpose in their life having the ability to help with aforementioned tasks, but they then could teach others- paying forward that knowledge to their friends, siblings, and eventually, their own children.
With all the craziness of this day and age, marriage being pushed into a term that means anyone who loves someone, and families being anyone who hangs out together in the same house, under the same roof, childhood being a thing that moms can choose to participate in….It’s pretty scary trying to raise a family. How can I be a parent who teaches my child about the importance of each child having a mother and a father, and that those genders: male and female are necessary, without creating homophobes? It’s important to stretch our hearts out enough to realize there is more than one type of person, and we can’t all be the same, and others who may be different than us are still loved and lovable. It’s hard to say, this lifestyle is not ok, yet we must be accepting and embrace the person. If you’ll notice, I thanked my mom for standing up and taking on some traditionally father-type roles in my life- this wasn’t an advantage for either of us. She only did these things because she had to…Those things that my dad should have been there for, but couldn’t or wouldn’t- only made me crave a stable father figure for my own children, it did not lead me to believe that we can be whomever we want to be. I feel those of us who are in this time right now have a very distinct calling to be like a tightrope walker, find the balance of love and doing the right thing, and hold on to Christ for dear life, because the mainstream is watching, and there is nothing more exciting to the masses than failure….
But I must remind myself, failure is how I learn. When I fail, I learn what not to do, which is a huge part of how I’ve gotten good at being a mom. I’m by no means perfect, but I do have more confidence now, after these years doing the mom thing, I can understand quicker and with less uncertainty what I should do next. The rhythm of my day is running smoother, I know what a healthy child looks like, and acts like. I can diagnose many ailments. I can conjure up a dinner with just a few staple ingredients, I can pack a bag and a bin for the lake in less than twenty minutes, including food and cutlery, I can pack my children’s suitcases for a trip in one day, and have enough changes of clothes, raincoats, swimsuits, and snowsuits in there to accommodate any sort of climate we may experience here in the Great Lake State. These are little tricks I have picked up on through time and watching professional mothers that I am lucky to know, and failing….a lot! There are certain things that may never really make sense…..
Like, when there are puddles on the kitchen floor from the children running inside to grab water from the water and ice dispenser and they each spill a little bit, creating a mess of muddy footprints, not to mention a major slip hazard, just laugh to yourself, throw down some towels, and install a soap dispenser: kill two birds with one stone! The children are now hydrated and clean and shine like the top of the Chrysler Building!
Or, when you live in an older home and there are plenty of windows full of non-tempered glass and you have had incidents with children and spouses falling through said windows and the kind folks at the ER begin handing out frequent flyer miles for the number of times you show your humbled face there, yet again: get smart!! Get rid of the darn glass, and buy a bloody needle and thread! Sew those darn children up and take the frequent flier miles and go to Austria for a cup of tea and chocolate with your bestie, shoot it takes the same amount of time as the emergency room….
Or, like when you’re tired of being tired, the world is miserable and the neverending list of things you “should” be doing to maintain your environment and yourself and the family seems to fly up and cloud any notion of joy, do like Pharrell and be happy, “Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof!” Pretend like you’re looking down on yourself from way up high, the first thing you’ll notice is how much stuff you have, then, how blessed you are, if you pan out and look at your whole neighborhood, you may see there are women who would like to be doing EXACTLY what you are sitting there in a slump about, day after day, taking care of wonderful little people!!! Ask yourself these basic self-care questions: Am I getting good nutrient rich food? Do I drink enough water? Do I take my vitamins? Vitamin D? There are many of us who are very deficient. ALSO, what is my exercise plan for this day? Even if it’s fifteen minutes, you will notice a difference in your energy and mood if you can carve out a bit of time to care for your body. I’m not even going to ask you if you get enough sleep. JUST DO IT….when you can.
SO really our good and bad experiences are valuable if we use them well. We may not have lives that we love one hundred percent of the time, we may suffer more in certain areas because of our own limitations, but if we temper ourselves to the task, ask God for help, and delegate as often as possible- we may just push on through to the end of the race. Shoot -we may even win heaven.