Archive for the ‘Mothering’ Category

When Mommy Doesn’t Feel Well

I have been in treatment for chronic Lyme Disease for almost 9 months now. And during this time, I have learned that when Mommy doesn’t feel well, it greatly affects the rest of the household. While not all of us are struggling with a chronic illness, many of us have suffered bouts of morning sickness or short-term illnesses that have affected our ability to mother and run a household.

What steps can we take to make those times easier on ourselves, and on our family? Although I definitely don’t have everything figured out, God has taught me many lessons this past year, and I (very humbly) share some of these with you.

1. Simplify. This often includes simplifying meal plans. Crock pots are such a useful tool for everybody, but especially for moms struggling with feeling poorly. Also, when I am feeling better or have more energy, I try to make meals to freeze. That way when I’m not feeling well, I will hopefully have something in the freezer that’s easy to heat up and serve.
Simpifying may also mean cutting down on our commitments outside the home. Maybe this is a year to take off from children’s extra activities and spend more time together at home as a family.
I have also had to simplify our homeschooling this year. A couple of months into our school year, I made some curriculum changes that allowed my children to work more independently. For example, we switched from Rod And Staff English to Easy Grammar for my sixth grader. This was much easier for me to quickly explain a new concept with her, and allow her to do the rest independently. This was so helpful on days that I wasn’t feeling well (sometimes homeschooling from laying on the couch in our schoolroom!:) )

2. Delegate. I will admit I’m not the best at this. The prideful part of me thinks I need to be able to do it all, to be “supermom”. But the truth is that God has allowed this in my life not only for my benefit, but for my children’s as well. God wants to teach not only me during this time, but my children also. That may include becoming more independent and taking on more responsibilities.
I remember hearing somewhere that if you want a child to be more responsible, give him more responsibilities. Children are capable of more than we probably give them credit for. And when Mommy isn’t feeling well, it provides an opportunity for children to serve each other and others.

3. Make the best choice. A wise friend of mine who has herself struggled with chronic illness for many years gave me some wise advice: ask yourself throughout the day “What is the best choice in this situation?” It might be choosing to have a simple breakfast that morning instead of trying to make something from scratch. It might be choosing to stay home that day instead of going out as you had planned or choosing to go to bed on time. Or, it might mean making the best choice in something very small (giving the kids their apples or sandwiches whole instead of taking the time and energy to cut them up). There have been days that I have had to ask myself “What is best?” all day long.

4. Ask for help. This is another one that I’m not very good at. It is humbling to ask for help, to admit that I can’t do it all. But I also have to remember that asking for help provides an opportunity for someone else to serve the body of Christ.
Asking for help can also include hiring help. Perhaps having someone come in to help clean every other week would be a huge help just for the next several months. Or maybe asking a friend’s daughter to come be a mother’s helper once a week.

5. Know that this is God’s will for you right now and it is for your good.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

6. Give thanks and praise him, even in your suffering.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

These last two are the hardest for me to live out. But God’s Word is Truth. And God has blessed me when I have chosen to obey Him, praise Him, and give Him thanks in the midst of this trial. May God bless you.

I would love to hear from you other Mommies. Do you have any additional suggestions or ideas about managing in times when you are not feeling well?

-Beth

Linked to Raising Olives

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Trusting God for the Spiritual Growth of our Children

As mothers who are pouring our lives into our children, seeking to diligently train and disciple them, there are sometimes moments of discouragement (Will she grow to have more of a servant’s heart? Will he ever have victory over his lack of self-control? Will they grow up to follow Christ or are my efforts meaningless?).

I recently read an article by Tracy Klicka on this topic that was so encouraging to me that I want to share it with you. In this article, Tracy shares the secrets of the bamboo farmer and how that relates to the spiritual growth of our children. Although she specifically mentions parenting teens, I think this metaphor is relevant for all ages.

“I love the story of the farmer and the Chinese bamboo tree, for it accurately reflects what the teen years are often like. When a farmer plants a bamboo tree in the ground, though he waters and fertilizes it for a year, he sees absolutely no growth. The second year he does the same and he sees…no growth. The third year is spent doing the same. Again, no growth. At this point, I’m wondering how the first bamboo farmer kept going (!) for once again, in the fourth year, though there is the same faithful watering and fertilizing…there is alas, no visible growth.

This last adjective is important to notice—for several years the farmer sees no visible growth. This is where as parents so many of us can relate. We invest in our children’s hearts, giving them the Word of God, praying with and for them, seeking to bring the truth of the gospel into their lives. Then we wait with longing to see spiritual fruit and genuine faith come forth from their hearts. And for many of us, what we see is similar to what that bamboo farmer sees—a tiny, little stub of a bamboo shoot, certainly not reflective of what we’ve been pouring into our children for so many years!”

Read the rest of the article here at Tracy Klicka’s website.

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6

-Beth

Teaching Babies and Toddlers to Sit


I want to share a great video by Bonnie at Mom By Example. In this YouTube video, Bonnie expains how to teach a baby or toddler to sit quietly. This is such a valuable skill to teach little ones, and she explains it wonderfully. Click here to watch.

If you want to read Bonnie’s post about it, go to Mom by Example.

-Beth

Giving Children our Expectations

It was a mess. My kids had brought the grocery bags in for me, and I was putting them away. That’s when I noticed the raw egg dripping onto my hands, the refrigerator shelf and even my clothing. I knew just what had happened.

My five year old son had brought the bag of eggs in for me and abruptly plopped the bag down on the ground, causing 19 of the two dozen eggs I had bought to crack. (boys have a knack for doing things like this- gotta love em ;)). I was frustrated. “He should have known better”, I thought.

And that’s when it hit me. He didn’t know better, because I hadn’t TOLD him that there were eggs in one of the bags and I hadn’t TOLD him he needed to put the eggs down gently. I hadn’t given him my expectations.

But isn’t that what we do many times with our children? We get frustrated at their behavior, but we haven’t given them clear expectations of what their behavior should look like.

I believe most children WANT to please their parents. Shouldn’t we make it easier on them by giving them clear instructions and expectations BEFORE the situation arises?

For example, before church we might remind them: “remember, if an adult speaks with you after church, look them in the eye and answer them politely”. Or, before we go into the store we might review the rules with them. “Keep your hand on the cart and use quiet voices.”

Giving our children specific expectations gives them something concrete to remember and strive for. This helps our children succeed.

Then we can praise them for their efforts if they’ve met our expectation. (I believe I remember reading that the Duggars try to praise their children 10 times as much as they correct them!) Sometimes this will require follow-up. (Did they complete their morning chores thoroughly and correctly?). Sometimes they won’t meet our expectations, and of course we need to correct them.

But we can help our children succeed in developing godly character and behavior by lovingly giving them our clear, specific expectations, and then generously praising their progress and obedience.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold
In settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11

-Beth
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Joy is a Choice

I don’t know about you, but Mondays can be hard around here. The house is often recovering from the weekend. We miss having Daddy with us all day. We have a hard time getting back into our usual routine. Some of us are cranky and tired.

I was reminded today, though, that God desires for us to have joy, even on Mondays. 😉

He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD! Psalm 113:9

In her book “Seasons of a Mother’s Heart”, Sally Clarkson speaks about this Monday morning phenomenon that happens in my home once a week. :). I need to choose joy.

There is a tension that God is asking me to acknowledge and accept- the tension between ideals and reality. True joy is found by living somewhere between the “ideal life” and “daily realities.” That is where Jesus meets me, where His Holy Spirit empowers, and where I learn how to live the Christian life with supernatural joy.

To me, to celebrate life is simply a choice. Every day God extends his hand to offer me the gift of another day to live. I have the choice to take that gift and turn it into 24 hours of real life in Christ, or just let it become another 24 hours lived in a broken world. If I choose to accept it-to transform those minutes and hours into life lived for and with my Savior-I have the opportunity to see God at work, enjoy his presence, wonder at his creation, appreciate the expressions of his beauty and love, and touch the minds and hearts of my children with his reality. That’s certainly what I desire, but it is a choice I have to make.

…the. Homeschooling lifestyle is your best opportunity for celebrating life as God meant it to be. If you make the choice, it can become a journey of joy!

May we as mothers choose to display the joy of the Lord, even on days when things aren’t going the way we wish it would. Even in the tough places when it’s hard and tiring to be a loving mother to our children. May we choose to be thankful and content. May be glorify the Lord through our countenance, even on Mondays! 😉

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Update: check out this link to Raising Homemakers. Very relevant to this subject!

-Beth

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My Bib System

Okay, so it’s not really a system. But, it makes me feel organized to think I have a system for bibs.:).
I love the bibs we use. They are called Bumkins Bibs. We started using these when my oldest (who will be 12 next month) was a baby. One of our current bibs has even been around that long! That’s how durable they are. These bibs are
comfortable, easy to wipe off, and durable.

They are plastic, so they can be used for more than one meal (as long as there is no spaghetti or chocolate pudding involved). You can just shake out the pocket or wipe down, and use later. When a bib starts to get beyond the shake/wipe stage, just toss in the washing machine.(I have even put these in the top rack of my dishwasher).

After a bib is washed and dried with the laundry, I put it here on the booster seat chair.

I like this system (I guess it is a system after all…;) because it saves valuable drawer space.

Here are the Bumkins Bibs at Amazon Love our Dr. Seuss Ones! (I promise I am not getting any commission or profits!)

These bibs work for us!

This post is linked to WFMW over at We Are THAT Family

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How Are Boys Like Puppies?

My first two children are girls. When I had my first son, of friend of mine told me that boys are kind of like puppies. To keep them happy, feed them well and walk them everyday. While this sounds a bit demeaning (boys are certainly much cuter and smarter than puppies 🙂 ), there is some truth to her advice.

My two -year-old is in the throws of the terrible/terrific twos. 🙂 But let him outside and he’s like a different child. My five year old is almost always happier outside as well. I love how God made my boys to want to challenge themselves physically, to take risks, to explore and create. The outdoors is such a perfect environment for this.

Often, it requires a sacrifice on mom’s part to take the time to bring little boys outside to play, especially when it is cold or rainy (or both, like it is here lately! ). However, letting boys play outside certainly keeps them happier, which makes for a happier mama! 😉