Yesterday I did something I’ve never done before. Seems strange now to think that it was a new experience for me. It was, after all, something most of my peers did several years ago and something many of my younger friends do regularly now. But for me … it was new.
Not as a mother or a mentor … but as a panel member. A bit strange to me, this recognition that I have become one of the older mothers. Feels a little bit weird to imagine that anyone would ask me a question about mothering … about anything!
The truth is, my confidence as a parent has decreased exponentially as my daughter ages.
Basically, I was much more sure I knew the answers ten years ago than I am today … truthfully, today, I just pray I’m asking the right questions!
So, as I sat in that room and looked at these women who wanted answers to the hard questions, I offered them these three simple pieces of counsel:
- Institute early bedtimes. When money is scarce, energy is depleted, and days are long … early bedtimes offer an opportunity for “Date Nights” at home, a much-needed phone call with a far away friend, a warm bath and a good book, a too-big bowl of ice cream while watching an old movie. Take advantage of sending little ones (and not-so-little ones) to bed at least an hour before you need to go to bed. And enjoy those moments!
- Everyone needs down time! Don’t feel guilty about needing a quiet moment or two … make time for it!! And, give your children the gift of down time too. Teaching your children to embrace times of solitude is important as is helping them understand to respect the need of others for “alone time.”
- Woo your husband. I could speak for days on this topic because it’s SO important but basically what I shared with the MOPS group was this: Be positive to and about your husband! Give him the place of greatest affection (just below the Lord, of course!) in your heart. I try to ask my husband every day, “What can I do to help you today?” It’s little things done over time that can destroy a marriage … but the reverse is also true. Those little acts of encouragement, support, and love done over time can build a marriage that weathers the storms and celebrates the joys of life.
As I shared with them, I realized how much those three things have become a part of who I am. Daily winding-down with my husband after the girl is in bed, teaching the girl – and myself! – the difference a few moments of time alone can make in attitude, and intentionally building up my husband every single day … habits that have taken root in my heart and life.
What habits have taken root in your heart and life?