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?
🙂 Oh Teri Lynne, I was the best parent I knew before I had kids… and as they've gotten older I've become more humble about the task. It is truly by the grace of God that my kids are who they are today! Wonderful advice. I too have found early bed times to be of great value in our house. Not only for the peace it offers me, but some of our most intimate chats with our kids have come on the bedside in the shadows of the night light. And early bed times offers time for that too. What an encouragement you must have been to these weary moms. 🙂 And doesn't it stink a little when you realize that you're the "elder woman"… 🙂
You know I'm singing Amen from the choir! I remember teaching my preschool children that when I was reading a book, I WAS doing something. They were welcome to sit quietly beside me (or ON me) and look at their own books. I wanted them to understand not only the value I placed on reading but also the blessing of sitting quietly. Didn't always work, but sometimes…it did!
Love this!!! A big resounding AMEN!!!
My rooted habit is getting up early (in addition to the ones you've listed) My mornings – alone, quiet, and early as precious as gold to me and give me the foundation I need to be a good wife and mother.
I too love the early bedtime! We get criticized often for how early we put our kids to bed – however, it's hard to argue when I tell them I get some sweet time with my husband with our in-home dates once they're in bed!!!
Enjoy your Friday!
I'm in the middle of the MOPs years and I love your advice! I know you were a blessing to the women there!
Erin @ Closing Time says
Great points for any mom! I wish someone had said those things to me before my girls were born! The women at that MOPS meeting are blessed indeed to have heard your wisdom!
Layton Family Joy says
I love the idea of wooing our husbands! How beautiful – those women were greatly blessed to hear it along with the many who will read it here!
Kristi Stephens says
Love, love, love, love it. 🙂
This is something new my husband and I are doing (spending time together AFTER the kids are in bed). We coslept with our kids for years – they are now 2,3 and 6 and the room isn't there to let them sleep with us. Thought 1 of them at least the 2 or 3 year old ends up in bed with us by early morning hours.
Nevertheless that time from 9 pm – 11ish my husband and I now cherish.
OH and the asking him what I can do for him today thing brilliant. I know I haven't done that as I should.
My devotional this morning was this – Tell God the NEGATIVE, tell your husband ONLY the positive. I must try to do that more.
I'm in both the MOPS years and in the post-MOPS years, and I parent so very differently now than I did the first time through. And I think, more than I care to admit, my poor hubby gets lost in the shuffle of our chaos here. Great reminder to get in gear a bit more in that area!