In Which I’m Brutally Honest About My Mothering Journey

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This mothering journey can be complicated at times. I thought I’d be brutally honest, and share with you a recent experience I had!

I invited my sister and her family over for lunch on Sunday morning, but I extended the invitation at 10:00 on Saturday night (normally the way I work!). The house wasn’t horrible, but I wanted it cleaner for them to come over. I knew if my children would get up Sunday morning and quickly pitch in, they could get it tidied up while I got lunch going in the crockpot.

In which I'm Brutally Honest About This Mothering Journey. It's not for the faint at heart!

It all sounds good in theory, right? Cheerful children, a happy mom singing as she cooks, a husband downstairs diligently preparing his Sunday School class (he has taught a class on the book of Acts for the last 2 years at church!).

Home from church after teaching Sunday School Class for two years!

Home from church, with a big smile because his class of 2 years is finished! 

The only problem is, my children don’t always catch my vision. 

Instead of it taking 15-20 minutes, I spent the entire morning asking 2 of my children to keep working. Thankfully I had 1 diligent helper, but the rest of the morning I was scrambling by myself to get the parmesan chicken in the crockpot, baths done for two of the girls, clothes ironed, girls dressed and makeup on. There was no time for breakfast, and the girl’s hair was fixed at church.

It’s real life over here. I wasn’t yelling at the children on the way to church, but I was very firmly talking to two of them, and grounded one of them who really struggles with laziness.

I arrived at church in a funk, but was hopeful that things would improve. It wasn’t meant to be though.

My 12 month old fussed all through Sunday School class. I walked all over the church building, gave her a bottle, tried to entertain her with a neat book, a squishy block that she normally likes, but she was having none of it.

Sophia drinking a bottle

Our first baby to be on formula. Yes, we are done breastfeeding. It’s a long story! I’m at peace though. 

Finally, I just gave up. My husband was finishing his very last Sunday School class, and I really wanted to hear it. Instead, I choked back tears, got in the van, and went home with the baby.

She was laid down for a nap right away, and I threw myself on the couch. A number of things popped in my head that I would like to do, but I decided to read the last chapter of Acts myself. At least I could finish the 2 year long journey that way.

It’s always amazing how the Lord can turn rainclouds into blessings.

I turned on some music, and enjoyed the quiet house. I’ve been working on keeping the house cleaner, and putting more effort into cultivating a lovely environment for my family.

Wildflowers given to me from my children!

Wildflowers given to me by my children. 

Instead of the paper plates I was planning on using, which would be served on our old, desperately needing refinished table, I got out the new tablecloth I had just found at Target. My husband had just blessed me with a brand new set of dishes, and so I unpacked those and set the table.
Table_set

Lunch ended up being a success, and I was able to bless my sister with not cooking for a change, and to enjoy a pretty setting herself.

Dinner table set with new white dishes and a tablecloth from Target!

It was a short moment of encouragement. The baby woke up, fussy and in a bad mood again. But the Lord had given me that brief period of time to be refreshed.

We are tempted to think we are all alone in this mothering journey.

Discouragement can weigh us down, and we begin a pity party. Our children will never behave the way we want them to, the house has never in the past, or will never in the future be clean, we are destined to live our lives with clothes that have spit up, food (and worse) on them. Our life feels like it’s over, because it only consists of baby toys, how long do we have until we nurse the baby, change a diaper, or hear the next argument taking place.

Don’t believe the lie that you are alone! I’d love to encourage you, by sharing with you a short series of free videos that two mommy bloggers put together. It’s real life conversations between two popular mom bloggers, who have 8 children and 20 years of mothering experience between both of them!

Here’s another brutally honest statement. I didn’t get anything out of the first video when I first tried to watch it. However, I turned it on again when I was really needing some encouragement, and I did receive a big pick me up from watching it. So give them a try, you can watch them here.

*FYI – you will want to watch all three videos, because something super, duper special comes at the end!

 

 

A Vision for Family Meetings

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This post was written by my husband, Sean. This is part 1 of a 2 part series.

Oh, the family meeting. Could I take a moment to recommend these to you? The fact is, your family needs to get together. You need to sit down and talk, and you need to do this frequently. You are a family after all, right? You’re in this thing together, right? You’re a unit. You’re a team. You’re stronger together than you are apart. You have big plans, big hopes, big dreams and you need everyone’s participation to help make them a reality.

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Does your family view itself like this? If it doesn’t, it won’t do a lot of good for me to go on about family meetings and such. Let’s start by laying out a vision, and then we can get to some nuts and bolts later.

We’re still working on this, but there was a time when my family felt like it had nothing to work on together, but lots of things to work on apart. Do you know what I’m talking about? Dad has his work, his interests. Mom has her work, her interests. The children are content to be merely spectators, waiting for the next meal to arrive. Eventually, though, the whole family gets the message – “Just find something to do and do it, but don’t expect a lot of help. It’s ok. Everyone’s busy and we need to stay out of each other’s way.”

Might I suggest to you a better way?

You can read the rest over at the Character Badges Blog!

 

Dear Mom – Don’t Give Up

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Dear Mom,

Maybe you think that others don’t see or understand the work you do every day, but there are those of us that do see. And what we see, when we allow ourselves to, is frankly astonishing at times. It doesn’t make sense, certainly not in this “survival of the fittest” world we live in today. You’re human and as such one would expect you to be inherently selfish, but so often you are found battling back the baser tendencies of your flesh and pouring yourself into other people.

You can't quit mom. You're simply too important. To others your work doesn't look like much and I know it often doesn't feel like much but if you left off sweeping your kitchen and nursing bruises and staging impromptu tea parties and the thousand other things you do to enrich the lives of your children, the world would fall apart. So carry on, dear mother. Let those who have eyes to see look on and marvel; for in you we see the love of God.

Only these are not simply people. They’re little, very vulnerable people and save it were for the compassion that you, and others like you, have on them they wouldn’t have a hope in the world. I’m speaking, of course, about your children.

In a very strict business sense, you have nothing to gain by helping your children in the immediate future, maybe not ever. They come to this earth fully equipped with an array of needs and wants that couldn’t care less about your plans or expectations. This is why during the time you’ve set aside for sleeping they wake you 4 times by their crying because they’re hungry. Or, after you’ve cooked your meal and readied your table, they dump their plate, spill their drink, or simply pull the table cloth, and everything on top of it, plum to the ground. It’s why they mark your walls, break your dishes, stain your carpets, and get sick at the most inconvenient of times. It’s why they weary you with questions, scream to get their way, treat things as if they didn’t cost money, and seem diametrically opposed to tidiness.

Click on the link below to read the rest of this post! My husband wrote this and I was personally so encouraged by it. 

 Read The Rest Here: The  Character Badges Blog

4 Ways To Make Your Children A Priority In 2016

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4 Ways To Make Your Children A Priority In 2016

In my last post, I talked about the importance of making a firm resolution to bless your children this year. If you haven’t already, you should do this – it’s never too late! Just like life, we only have so long and then, our time with them is gone forever. Of course, different seasons will come, but they’re only little (or teenagers even!) once. It doesn’t matter how old they are, you need to seize this age and make the most of it whether it’s 2 or 7 or 15.

Who looks back on life and thinks, “Gee, I wish I would have spent one more hour a day perusing my social media accounts,” or “You know, I really should have watched more cooking shows,”? Almost everyone, though (even the most devout parents) looks back on the years of parenting with some sense of longing or even regret. Now is the time to ensure that when you eventually reflect on your stewardship of your children, you do so with the least amount of regret possible.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Look, I love my children already! Why do I need a resolution?” Well, loving your children is half of the battle. The resolution is all about the way in which you will go about loving your children this year and it has everything to do with that finite resource we mentioned earlier – T-I-M-E.

We are busy – all of us. There is such a tyranny to the pace of modern life. We feel as if something disastrous will happen if we don’t keep up with this, or that, or the other. Sometimes this is true; oftentimes it’s not. It all leads to a frazzled state, which leads us to look for ways to ‘cope’. In the meantime our children are pushed further out to the fringe. I’m not saying we don’t all have important things to tend to. Just keep in mind that for every ‘yes’ you give to this pursuit or that pursuit, there is a ‘no’ given somewhere else. Too often these ‘no’s’ sound in the ears of our children.

We show our love for our Savior by keeping his commandments. Through deeds. Our love for our children is shown in precisely the same way. Here are a few recommendations when it comes to taking back (or improving upon) your time with your children.

Have a Family Meeting

Sometimes you just have to pause life, get everyone in the same room, and air everything out. I don’t mean initiate a family brawl. I mean get together and have a time of transparency. If mom is exhausted, the children should hear about it and the family should discuss ways to lighten her load. If there’s been negligence on the part of the parents or children, it should be frankly confessed and talked through. Stuff has a way of building up and putting everyone on edge. A family meeting (or multiple family meetings) can act as a reset button of sorts and help everyone start fresh.

Take Control of Your Calendar

If you don’t, everything else will. Special events and field trip opportunities are often scheduled out a year or more in advance. If you see something your family would enjoy, get it on the calendar even if it’s 8 months down the road! It might not always be possible, but the earlier you say ‘yes’ to an event, to easier it will be to say ‘no’ to the flurry of things that will try to knock it off your calendar! This goes for vacations too. Our family has been horrible about this. We only take vacations if they drop out of the sky and hit us on the head (they don’t normally do that by the way). Sit down, plan it out, and get it on your calendar – today!

Just keep in mind that for every ‘yes’ you give to this pursuit or that pursuit, there is a ‘no’ given somewhere else. Too often these ‘no’s’ sound in the ears of our children.

Get Deliberate with your Child Training

As precious as children are, they seem to have a keen sense of when your yes means ‘yes’ and your no means ‘no,’ and that’s normally after the third yes and the fifth no (provided your voice is raised). 🙂 Caroline and I made raising our children early on much more difficult by not “saying what we mean and meaning what we say.” For a while, the only correction we handed out was either yelling or standing in the corner or grounding (in that order). Most offenses didn’t justify grounding, and corner time only works so well, so we mostly just threatened (and our children called our bluff, nearly every time). What’s worse, when they were well behaved we rarely rewarded them. We were just overwhelmed. These are some of the reasons why we created Character Badges. Character Badges has really helped us to be deliberate in the way we reward good behavior and correct poor behavior. Just as well, our children love putting checks on their charts, earning badges and coins, and receiving rewards for their good efforts. It’s a win-win.

Character Badges Rewards Kit!

Read the Scriptures and Pray with them

EVERY DAY – This is the most important one by far. It’s truly amazing how profound an effect a routine devotion time can have upon the life of your child. What’s even more amazing is how easily we neglect this time, even though we know this! All of these recommendations are meant to work together, but this is the one that causes all the others to work like a well oiled machine. There’s no other way to say it – you must pray with and read to your children from the word of God every-single-day.

I heard an excellent quote today. It went something like this, “You can do anything you want to do. You just can’t do everything you want to do.” There’s no shortage of things to do. There are even a great many important things to do; but before you say ‘yes’ to anything else this year, be sure you say ‘yes’ to your children. You have to choose, dear parent. Choose wisely.

~Written by my husband Sean! 

Through Monday, January 11th you can save 10% off any order at Character Badges, plus every order of $50 or more will receive 2 free coin banks!  Try implementing this brand new creative child training system and get a fresh start on your year!  Use the code: SAVE10NOW at the checkout!

Character Badges is a creative child training program