I don’t ever feel like I’ve got this motherhood thing down, but some days are worse than others. I have moments when I pat myself on the back for handling a situation well . . . but then there are mornings like this morning when I wonder how much counseling my kids are going to need someday. Seriously.
I try to put safeguards in place. I try to have rules and consequences. I try to make sure they know I love them. I read plenty of parenting books. I pray for them. I read the Bible to them. I take them to church. I search for the balance between mercy and consequences.
There are many a days when life gets in the way of attentive and intentional parenting: Housework. Work work. Errands. Reality. A migraine. Emotions. I lose my temper. I don’t give my kids the time or attention they need. I am human.
Then there are other days when I feel like I am really on my A-game, yet still I watch my child making bad decisions. I catch her disobeying. And sometimes it isn’t just a little thing. Sometimes it is a big sin.
And I feel sick to my stomach.
But I have to remind myself: God is in control. He loves this kid more than I do. I will answer to God for my job as a parent and a wife . . . but she will answer to God for her own sin. I can shepherd her and guide her, but I can’t control her. She will make her own choices. I don’t answer to God for her choices.
I stumble. I fall. But if I keep my eyes on Jesus, I get back up.
She will stumble. She will fall.
And just like I am sure my heavenly Father aches for me when he watches me screw up; my heart breaks when my daughter makes bad choices.
My job is to be there for her; encouraging her to get back up. And reminding her to keep her eyes on Jesus.
A Call for Advice from Experienced Moms
I love my kids, but there are days when being a mom is a punch in the gut. Parenting shows me how little I know. How can I set a good example when I struggle with the very things I need to teach my kids?
Other moms, do you feel the same way? Especially for those who now have grown kids . . . any words of wisdom to share? Any secrets of success? This is a call for advice from moms who have successfully navigated the tween and teen years. Any moms of grown children want to chime in?
Here is what I am struggling with right now. And I know there will be many more decisions and dilemmas as my kids get older.
The Infamous Cell Phone Dilemma
- 6th grader wanted a cell phone. She begged for one for about a year. Cried many tears. She wasn’t “cool” and was the only kid in her class without a phone. She made lots of promises, including doing chores to help pay for it.
- I read all the arguments for and against, but my husband and I ended up getting her a cell phone and gave her some basic rules on usage.
- I snoop on her phone. I know there are probably parents who disagree, but I paid for the phone and she is my kid in my house and I need to know what she is viewing and doing on the phone.
- I added NetNanny . . . not sure if that is the best tool, but I wanted something on the phone to restrict her ability to get on inappropriate sites.
- Last night I found out she was texting boys. Ugh! Nothing inappropriate, but one of the boys told her he wasn’t allowed to text girls and she has continued to text him. Double Ugh!
- She hasn’t been completely obedient with the rules my husband and I set (she is only supposed to use it for games or texting after she has done her homework and cleaned her room), but we haven’t been consistent with making sure she follows the rules. We’ve never really grounded her from the phone or taken it away.
So now my husband and I need to come up with a new game plan for the phone usage and rules.
Moms, I’m not looking for specific pros and cons on cell phones (I’ve read a million arguments for and against), but more high-level suggestions. I especially long for suggestions and encouragement from moms who have already raised preteens and teens.
- What is the best parenting advice you ever received?
- How did you guide your preteens and teens through relationships with the opposite sex?
- What is the best parenting advice you can give?
- Any suggestions on communicating with kids ages 12-18?
- How did you teach your kids to be wise in choosing friends in middle school and high school?
Moms, we need each other. For you moms with more experience, your wisdom is much-needed for us moms now entering the preteen years. It is daunting . . . and any insight you can share would be much appreciated!
I’ve been married for 13 years this August. I’ve been a mom for over 11 years. These are very important roles for me – loving my husband and children, taking care of them, providing for them, etc. But sadly, they have often taken a back seat to my career and the busyness of life. Several years ago God started to put on my heart that they are more than just my family. They are my mission field.
In August 2014 I was sitting in a Bible study on Gideon (by Priscilla Shirer) at the Gretna United Methodist Church and I was praying for God to reveal his grand purpose for my life (and I was convinced it was grand) and it suddenly hit me: My purpose was to be a missionary. In my house. To the man I married and the two children I love.
And I’m embarrassed to say, since then I’ve had a million excuses not take that mission seriously. But God keeps bringing me back. I keep looking for my grand purpose in my career. Or a grand purpose through other “mission” work – service projects, church volunteering, humanitarian organizations, christian ministries, etc. And while all that is important and good, God keeps bringing me back to that calling I heard several years ago. He closed the door to my old life as a political fundraiser, so I took another full-time job in a non-profit organization. He closed that door. He is telling me over and over that my mission field is right here. In this house.
My number one priority is to spend time with him every day and follow him.
My number two priority is to minister to my husband and children.
I get it. I finally get it and accept it, but it is still a struggle. I’m learning what it means to be a missionary; usually by way more trial and error than success. I’m learning to resist the daily temptation to start chasing a “mission” that looks a lot more exciting than Mom/Wife. But I feel at peace that I am finally in the place God wants me. And I know he’ll give me the strength to run this race and will guide me to the end.
P.S. I’m reading through the Bible in a Year – using the YouVersion or Bible.com app. My reading today was a good reminder on my keeping my priorities straight, following God’s direction, and the importance of observing the greatness of God and passing on that message to the next generation. Psalm 48:12-14: Walk around Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. (NIV)