Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teachable moment

This morning my daughter came to me and asked me for a cup of juice, I told her to go find her cup, bring it to me and I would get her one. A battle began right then and there. My sweet 4 year old daughter is very strong willed and she decided that she didn't want to use the same cup she'd been using, she wanted a new cup and she wanted it NOW. I'll be honest, I almost just gave her a new one because I didn't feel like I had the time I knew I would need to fight this battle with her. But I reminded myself of the long term goal and dug my heals in right along with her. It took about 20 minuets but she did finally find her cup.

When she found it she brought it to me with a quiver in her little lip and tears in her eyes and very sweetly asked me for some juice. I can not even explain what those tears and that little quiver did to my heart! I gave her the biggest smile I could and stopped everything to get her some juice. I was so proud of her for overcoming her will and doing what I had asked of her.

When Lexi was younger my husband and I kind of lived in denial about her strong willed nature, we both acted like if we ignored it, it would go away. Can I tell you something? That is not how it works! The more we ignored it, the worse she got. The more we gave in, the more demands she gave. you would think that a two year old wouldn't be able to give that many demands. However, anyone who has had a two year old can attest to the fact that they can. It took us until she was almost 3 years old to figure out what we needed to be doing, neither of us had ever had any experience with a strong willed child so we pretty much did what we had done with our oldest. We got very different results!

As hard as it can be sometimes that I am still fighting these battles with her over seemingly insignificant things, I have to remind myself of the long term goal. My goal for my children is for them to grow into adults that love Jesus, live for Him, love their families, and work hard at whatever God has called them to do. There are things I would of course like to see my children do or be when they are grown but that is not my ultimate goal for them. It doesn't matter to me what their career is, or their hobbies are. If we can raise them to love Jesus and live for Him, I believe that I will have reached my goal.

When I ask one of my children to do something and they are not quick to respond, I can get very frustrated and even quite angry with them. However, I have to be honest, when Jesus asks me to do something i'm not always quick to respond. There are times I feel like everything on my to do list is much more important. After all, I have a house to run, meals to cook, kids to raise and a husband to take care of and be there for. Surely God understands right? I don't think He does. I think He expects instant action on anything He asks of me.

The verse of the day yesterday was "Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance." Proverbs 1:5. I think it's good as a parent to be reminded that although it is our job to teach and train our children, we ourselves are never done learning. We have to be a constant example for them and that also goes for constantly learning and being able to be taught.

Who knew that when I set out to teach my daughter something, I myself would be reminded of and learn a new lesson?! I love when Jesus works like that!

This post is linked up with the Time-Warp Wife, Women Living Well and the Raising Homemakers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Stay-At-Home Mom Regrets?"

I got a link to this article a couple of days ago and finally got around to reading it. It was written about a woman who chose to quit her job fourteen years ago to stay home with her 2 young boys. Her advice to mothers who may be considering doing the same... "Don't do it!"

I was completely blown away by this article. I know there is a lot of advice out there on both sides, but I guess I had never heard a woman who chose to stay home now so adamantly against it. Her reason for this opinion? Money. She is now on her own, her children almost grown and she is unable to return to the workplace and a job she once had.

My heart goes out to this woman, it really does. I can only imagine how hard it would be to be put in that situation. The worry. The fear. The uncertainty. But, I do not agree with her point of view, not even a tiny little bit!

There are two articles about this, one from the woman herself which can be found HERE and one from another woman who quotes and comments on the previous article. You can find that one HERE

I think the saddest part for me is how this woman is influencing other woman to continue working. I do understand that as a writer you hope that what you say will have an effect on those who read it so in that respect she is doing a wonderful job. It is however, the effect that concerns me. The woman who wrote the second article admitted that "Even though I’m a full-time working mom, I harbor fantasies of scaling back as my kids get older. Maybe going part-time, or just freelancing. I could still do the work I love, but also pick my kids up from school, supervise homework time, take them to swimming lessons." She goes on to say "Would this make me just like the proverbial grasshopper, whiling away the hours while the industrious ants prepare for winter? I think Read would say yes. Of course time with my girls is priceless, but maybe I should keep limiting it to before work, after work, and weekends."

The last part of that stopped me in my tracts and I haven't been able to get it off my mind since reading it. Is that what children are viewed as in this world now? Simply something to fill your left over hours? As a stay-at-home mother myself my heart is completely saddened by this article and this view of children and the importance of raising them.

I understand the pressure mothers feel to be it all and to have it all. I understand having a passion for a job and a desire to do that job. What I don't understand is having more of a passion and desire for that job than for your children. I also understand woman who financially have to work, times are hard right now and it can be very challenging to live on one income. Believe me, I do understand that! But I do not understand the view that a job and an income are more important in the long run than raising your children.

This was a hard post to write because I have very good friends that have children and have chosen work outside of their home. I do not want to offend them or anyone else in any way! I do believe that staying home to raise your children is the best choice, but I understand that this choice isn't always available for each family. I guess the point of this post is to present the other side of this argument. I believe that the absolute best thing you can do for your children as a mother is stay home to raise them. There is no doubt in my mind about this. Unless there is abuse in the home, I don't believe there is a situation that the child would be better off in a daycare rather than with their mother. I believe a great disservice has been done to both mothers and children by pushing women back into the work place. I also believe that we have seen and will continue to see the ill effects of this on the generations to come.

I feel that it's time for woman to start taking pride in their role as mother, wife and homemaker! I don't think I am missing out on anything by staying home with my children. Quite the opposite in fact, as I am blessed beyond words everyday as my children fill all of my hours, not simply after work hours. The thought of not having these precious moments day in and day out with my children breaks my heart.

As I said before, it's not always easy and it's not always possible but I encourage mothers to reevaluate their situation and see if it might be possible to stay home. I do believe it is the best choice for your children and I understand that it can and will take some major sacrifice. But after all, isn't sacrifice what parenting is all about? Just some food for thought...

This post is linked to the Raising Homemakers link up, the Women Living Well link up and the Titus 2 link up.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back and forth. Up and down.

Last week I talked about striving to become more like the Proverbs 31 woman. I shared a little bit of my heart and even asked others to join me in this effort. I then spent the next day failing miserably. Things were horrible in my home. I did very little house work, I argued with the kids (yes I do know that I am their mother and there should be no arguing with my children) and did not go out of my way to help my husband with anything around our house.

It's so hard to explain but I woke up the next morning completely overwhelmed with the task I felt had been placed on me. I got out of bed feeling inadequate and started to believe that it was already to late to make any changes. The second my feet hit the floor I was hit with shame over everything i've failed at as a mother, a house keeper, a wife, and the list goes on and on. I should have seen this for exactly what it was, an attack from Satan himself, but I didn't. I allowed myself to wallow in my self pity and inadequate feelings for most of the day.

But by 6:00 that evening I finally started snapping out of it. It almost felt like blinders falling off my eyes, allowing me to actually see what was going on. I managed to get myself up, make dinner for my family and get my house cleaned up. I ended up creating more work for myself my putting it off for most of the day but by the time I went to bed that night things in my home had been righted. I had a clean house. I was able to love on and snuggle my children. I also was able to give to my husband, I took care of the kids at bed time so he would be able to get his work done that he'd not been able to get to.

Since that day I have worked on pushing those feelings away anytime they try to take over. Yes, they do still come, quite regularly in fact. But i'm doing my best to see them for exactly what they are, an attempt to distract me and discourage me from doing what God has given me to do. There have been more failures, I have sat down when I should have been up working. I have fed sandwiches when I should have cooked something. I have sent the kids to their rooms to play when I should have gotten down and played with them. But, I have not quit. I will continue to fight this fight and not give up. I love what Paul says in Philippians 3:12-14 "I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back."

That's where i'm at. I'm not there yet, not even close, but i'm still pushing forward. Like I said before, this is a long term goal and I refuse to give up!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Am I her?

Do you have a mentor in life? Is there a woman that you look up to and dream of being like one day? I personally have had several women I greatly look up to but I don't honestly have a woman that i'm close to and work towards being like. However, in looking a little closer I did find a woman that I greatly admire. This woman is everything I want to be. She is a wonderful wife. She is a blessing as a mother. Her home is well kept. Everyone who knows her feels blessed just for knowing her. Would you like to meet her? You can find her HERE. That's right, she's the woman in Proverbs 31.

Most women have read the description of the good and virtuous women in Proverbs 31 and most likely at some point it has put you on a bit of a guilt trip also. I know it has for me! I've read it my whole life and thought "That's what i'll be like when i'm grown up!". Well i'm grown up now and so far i'm not quite measuring up. I've read it. I've studied it. I've memorized parts of it and i'm still not her. To be honest there was quite a while that I didn't even fully understand exactly what she was like, King James english can be a bit confusing at times! So I decided to read it in the Message version and it really opened my eyes to what she was like.

There have been times in my life where I have failed miserably at being more like her. She would in fact have probably hung her head in shame at the things i've done and the way i've kept my home and family. For some time i've let the guilt of not measuring up keep me from my dream of becoming like her. However i'm determined to no longer let guilt hold me back. I have decided to push harder than ever towards that goal of becoming like her. Will I completely become her? No. Will it happen over night or even all this year? No. But this has now become a long term, ever present goal and something I will probably work on for the rest of my life. I am going to try to no longer allow quit when I fail, or become discouraged when i'm not changing fast enough. I will simply push forward with even more determination through every trial and obstacle that tries to slow me down. I encourage you to do the same. Let's all work and push towards becoming this woman like never before so that we may teach our daughters to do the same. I believe it's time for the Proverbs 31 woman to become known in this world again. Our daughters, and even our sons, need to see her walking around once again.

This post is being linked to the Raising Homemakers link up. and the Women Living Well link up

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A new year

So 2010 is over and 2011 has begun. Most people who have a blog i'm sure wrote something about the new year a few days ago, I of course i'm a little late in getting to it. :o) But better late than never right?!

I am personally not a huge fan of new year's resolutions, I have never made one that i've been able to follow so I simply stopped making them. That's not to say that I don't have things I want to do and change each new year. But somehow as long as I don't put "resolution" in front of it, it becomes reachable. Don't try to understand it. There is no logic to it. Just go with it.

So what are my goals for this year? First of all, I want to get healthy. I have decided I am going to start cooking healthier foods for our family. This will involve veggies. I hate almost all vegetables. I like green beans, corn, salad and tomatoes. That's it, list ends there. But you can't eat healthy unless you add some veggies to the mix so I guess that's what i'm going to have to do. By the way, if anyone has any good recipes feel free to share! :o) I also joined a gym! I have never in my life been a member of a gym or done any kind of work out regularly. I've gone walking with my friend before but that usually only lasts a few weeks before we get tired of it. But I am now an official member of a gym! My friend Chelsea and I went yesterday for the first time and are going again today. My plan is to go at least 3 times a week in the mornings before Konner goes to school. I have a goal weight that I want to be and i'm determined to not quit this time until I hit it. Surly with eating better and working out I can do it right?! Right! :o)

Second of all, I want to improve as a wife and mom. This is something I work on every single day (well, most every day!) but I want to work even harder at it. I think i'm going to try to set challenges for myself for each month. What these challenges will be, i'm not sure yet. But it's always good to challenge yourself and push yourself to grow and improve. So as I figure out what the challenges will be i'll come back and share.

Third of all, I want to defrump. Since i'm a stay at home mom it's so easy to simply throw on jeans and a tee shirt and call it good. But I want to get better about dressing nicer and fixing up more often. This morning I actually wore a dress to church for the first time in a long long time, actually can't remember the last time I wore a dress. A big part of it is I simply don't have dressy clothes so shopping will be involved in this challenge. Believe it or not that will be a challenge in itself. I love to shop but I always feel guilty buying myself things. However I'm going to get over it! I already started yesterday. Colby and I went out to get me some new tennis shoes for the gym and I ended up getting shoes, some work out clothes, a dress (that I wore this morning), a couple of tops and some pants. So i'm off to a pretty good start!

And lastly but most importantly, I want to grow spiritually. I'm looking for a good bible study to get into because I feel so thirsty for more of God. I want to go deeper this year than I ever have before. I want to look back a year from now and see such a different person. I want to love deeper, laugh harder and live more for Jesus than ever before.

So there you have it, those are my goals for the new year. Hopefully I can keep all of them and a year from now be a better, improved version of myself. Happy New Year everyone! :o)