For three weeks now the conversation has been all about parenting.
This week I want to share two last parenting tools that I’ve come to trust and rely on. These are go-to’s that I’ve learned to appreciate over the years. Hopefully you discover and implement them sooner than I did
Prayer and inspiration…LISTEN TO YOUR GUT
I hate to admit this, but I ignored some intuition in the early years of parenting one particular child. She hated to work, and I turned a deaf ear to the persistent thought that I needed to make work fun.
‘Fun?’ I thought. ‘Work isn’t supposed to be fun. You just get it over with. I’m not going to make it fun. She needs to learn to just get it done.’
Big mistake. She still hates to work. And it’s too late for sticker charts and reward trips to the dollar store. Let’s just say…I’ve learned my lesson. I wish I could get a do-over on this one.
But here’s a recent time I did listen to inspiration.
I was at my wit’s end with this same child. Facing a very near deadline for a massive due date in school, I felt crippled with anxiety for my daughter. But how was she handling it? The girl was procrastinating like a rock star!
In desperation, I turned to God and asked, “What I should do with her? How can I force inspire her to do her work? What is my proper role as the mother in this scenario? Watch her drown? Throw her a life preserver? What actions do I personally need to take?”
These are some of the tough questions of motherhood! And I have no other explanation for the answer that came except that it was from above, because what I heard in my heart to do was contrary to every feeling I had about her and the situation.
“Have fun with her,” is what I was told.
Fun?! That was the last thing I wanted to do with this girl that had a mountain of homework and little time left to do it! It was crunch time! But then came memories of being Mama Fun Kill in the early days, and all the regret that has come since then…
So with much reluctance and doubt, I went with it. I ignored my instincts to banish her to room without her phone for the rest of the day, and that night my husband and I took her to a movie and to dinner.
What happened? Well, it was actually…fun. For just a little while, the pressure released. I forgot about the tension and the deadline, and I remembered how much I liked this daughter of mine! Perspective began settling back in to the situation. That said, did she still have a lot to do? Yes. Did she have to pull an all-nighter to get it done? She did. Was that stressful and impactful to me? It sure was. But guess what? Now, months later, I don’t even remember what grade she got. What I do remember is the love we felt for each other that night, despite the predicament. And now that it’s all said and done, that is more important to me than how many pages of her packets she could have finished that night.
Trust prayer and inspiration. We have all the answers we need if we just ask.
I’m a get-‘er-done kind of girl. There is nothing quite so satisfying to me in life as checking off lists. Maybe you’re a little like that too?
So in the face of conflict or challenge, don’t we all want to just fix the problem? Immediately? As in, yesterday?
That’s a pretty normal human characteristic, especially in a mom. But that’s another hard-learned lesson in parenting – some things just require time before they can resolve. Someone once told me that everything has a “perfect incubation time… ” i.e., babies are born when they are ready. Some come early, some come late, some come right on time. Those late ones try our patience, but forcing something to come before it’s ready usually just creates more problems.
When we are looking for solutions to help our kids, sometimes all we can do is wait until they are ready for the solution. It can be hard, but I’ve learned to look at it this way: I can spend large amounts of time and energy trying to force a solution (which is exhausting and ultimately ineffective)…OR…if that solution doesn’t seem to be coming easily, I can better invest my time and energy in something else, while still being prayerful and aware of the situation. Later, the solution arises almost effortlessly.
Patience pays off – big time! So let time work for you. Don’t fight against it.
A few summers ago I was sitting at the computer in my office, while my kids were in the other room playing, probably fighting, and generally making messes and having fun. I had just had a particularly successful coaching call with a client, and I was thinking about how much I loved my business. Then came a clear thought into my head:
Give your best to your kids.
It seemed random at the time, but now I know exactly where the thought came from. That was direct inspiration that my best efforts should be invested in these five people I love the most in the world.
In our society, motherhood isn’t often seen as the most prestigious career. But in my bones I believe that the greatest work I’ll ever do is within the walls of my home. It’s such exhausting, exhilarating work. I don’t think that any of us mothers knew exactly what we were getting in to! But hopefully these blog posts, The Mom Conference, and these conversations help us remember why we do what we do, and find the answers we need to do it well.