Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Musings - Parenting is...

Finding time to laugh...at, I mean with each other.

On any given day parenting changes its look. Sometimes its laughter, on occasion it may even include crying. It’s not above me to cry over spilled milk, broken glass, or my child’s bad grade on a spelling test. Nor is it above me to laugh out loud like a hyena at a funny situation.

 You put the good times with the bad and parenting is….

Watching your kids sleep peacefully as you wonder, how before their next tirade.
  • Enjoying the laughter AND the quiet moments.
  • Not sweating the small stuff.
  • Taking time to play together.
  • Knowing that things don’t always go as planned, and that’s ok.
  • Unconditional love.
  • Learning to laugh at yourself.
When you feel like you’re working overtime at parenting, it’s time to take a lunch break (figuratively speaking). Take a few deep breaths, go into a Downward Dog Yoga pose, or whatever it takes to feel relaxed. Read something funny.
If you heard that a good hearty laugh burns belly fat, would you laugh more? An article titled, Laughing can help you loose weight, said that scientists believe laughter gives the body a “mini aerobic” workout (www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/4221778/Laughing-can-help-you-lose-weight.htm). Lose weight?, that’s all I needed to hear. I started laughing right away.

 Find a reason each day to laugh at something. Below are a few quotes about parenting to get you started:
  • “You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going.” – A.J. O’Rourke
  • “When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished I climb out.” – Erma Bombeck
  • “Human beings are the only creatures on earth that allow their children to come back home.” – Bill Cosby
  • “A two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.” – Jerry Seinfeld
What is parenting to you? Leave a funny quote for someone else to enjoy.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Words of Inspiration

Heaven's Grocery Store

I was walking down life's highway a long time ago.
One day I saw a sign that read 'Heaven's Grocery Store'.
I got a little closer, the door came open wide.
When I came to myself, I was standing just inside.
I saw a host of angels. They were standing everywhere.
One handed me a basket and said, 'My child, please shop with care'.
Everything a Christian needed was in that Grocery Store.
All you couldn't carry, you could come back the next day for.
First, I got some PATIENCE; LOVE was in the very same row.
Further down was UNDERSTANDING, you needed it wherever you go.
I got a box or two of WISDOM, a bag or two of FAITH.
I just couldn't miss the HOLY SPIRIT, for He was all over the place! !
I stopped to get some STRENGTH and COURAGE to help me run thi
By then my basket was getting full but...I remembered I needed some
I didn't forget SALVATION, for SALVATION was free.
So I tried to get enough of that to save both you and me.
Then I started up to the counter to pay my grocery bill,
for I thought I had everything to do my Master's will.
As I wind up the aisle I saw PRAYER and I just had to put that in.
For I knew when I stepped outside, I would run right into sin.
PEACE and JOY were plentiful; they were on the last shelf.
SONGS and PRAISES were hanging near, so I just helped myself.
Then I said to the angel, 'How much do I owe? '
He just smiled and said, 'Just take them everywhere you go.
'Again I smiled at him and said, 'How much do I owe? '
He smiled again and said......'
Author unknown

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kickin’ & Screaming

Clothes and clutter and mess, oh my!

I recently read an article in Parents magazine that talked about discipline without screaming. It reminded me of chaotic days in my house. Have you experienced this scenario…kids staying up late watching T.V. on a school night, whining, “Just 5 more minutes?” Or you have said too many times, “Clean your room, finish your homework, get your things ready for tomorrow.”
I repeat myself so many times that I get tired of hearing my own voice. I start out sounding like Dr. Seuss. “Get this room clean, get it done now. I don’t care with what, I don’t care how.” Then I turn into Dr. Jekyll as I growl, “Get it done now!”

My son out smarted me on one occasion when it came to cleaning his room. He relocated everything…to the hallway outside of his room. His rationale was, “I have to take everything out of the room so I can organize it.”
By the time my son finally accomplishes his task, I feel like I need to call Dr. Phil. The kickin’ and screaming begins, all the way to the bedroom. This time it’s me. I grab a pillow and scream into it. I have realized that a lot of challenging situations with my kids are power struggles.

In the Parents magazine article, it states that, “the power struggle is a contest about who has the upper hand at the moment (May 2012 issue).” We want to prove to our kids that we are the one in charge. The ‘no-scream’ solution is to get ourselves out of the fight mode. The idea is to work together with the child to find a solution, rather than focusing on winning or loosing the battle.
In the situation of getting a child to clean his room, setting boundaries may help. For instance give him a time limit to have everything done and state the consequences of non-compliance. You will notice I said in the situation of getting ‘a child’ and not ‘my child’ to clean his room. My child does not fit the norm, he is an outside the box thinker.

You have to determine what will work best with the personality of your child and adept the advice you receive. Sprinkle it with prayer and keep the faith. Kickin’ and screaming is tiring and it doesn’t really resolve anything.
What situations have caused you to want to pull your hair out when it comes to having to discipline your child?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Driving Miss Daisy

Erma Bombeck said….

“I’m trying hard to understand this generation. They have adjusted the timetable for childbearing so that menopause and teaching a sixteen-year-old how to drive a car occur in the same week.”

Donovan at 4 years old

Donovan at 14 years old in front of the school he attended at 4 years old.

I feel like I am experiencing Erma Bombeck’s words this week. My fifteen-year-old is learning to drive and I am experiencing many emotions. I am excited that he is maturing, learning independence, and that he will soon be able to help me with errands. However, I am still working on building up my confidence to let him drive with me (grandma is better at this than I am).

 I haven’t yet let my son back out of the driveway, parallel park, angle park, nor put the car in reverse. I am working up to that. Well, the first time I let him drive was what I call my, “Driving Miss Daisy” experience. It didn’t have anything to do with the personality of anyone in the movie by this name. The experience related to the fact that I had to give him constant direction.

 I wasn’t as calm as Miss Daisy, when Donovan’s size 14 shoe barely fit on the brake pedal as he prepared to put the car in drive. He appeared to be calm. I, on the other hand, had a death grip on the armrest. My feet were planted on the floor like a pole in cement. I think I prayed before he drove off.

We drove along a four lane road so I was pretty comfortable with Donovan’s initial driving. Obviously he was too because his speed increased. “You can slow down a little,” I told him.

“I’m only going 45mph.”

It was true, he was doing the speed limit. It just felt like we were on the autobahn from where I was sitting. We made it to our destination safe and sound, only two miles from the house. When we got back home I sang a stanza from the Marvin Sapp gospel song, “Never Would Have Made It.”

The lyrics to the song say, “Never would have made it, never could have made it, without you,” referring to the Lord. As I make light of Donovan’s driving skills, I really do have to stop and pray. I give thanks for how far he has come and pray for the distance he still has to travel along his path to adulthood.

 Donovan was successful in Driving Miss Daisy (me) to the store and back home safely and I only lost a small piece of my sanity. What experience have you had with your child that made you think of a movie or a song title?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When this fast ends, I’m going on a diet

What is the purpose of fasting? There are many reasons why people fast. The most import reason for me is for spiritual growth. I’m glad spiritual growth was my goal during this season of lent, and not weight loss. I did gain spiritual growth during this time, but I also gained weight. I am the only person I know who can go on a fast and gain weight. I didn’t gain a lot, just the same few extra pounds that follow me off and on.

The fast was not the type that eliminates food altogether. Our charge as a church family, was to give up meat or something else significant to us, during the lent season. I gave up meat and Diet Coke. I assumed that because I gave up meat, naturally I would loose a little weight. It didn’t happen that way.

I believe the weight gain came from the things I used to substitute for the missing items. I turned to coffee, with lots of cream, to replace the missing caffeine. Sometimes I ate larger quantities of the foods that were allowed during the fast. Fasting can be a challenge, as I learned. I’m sure that’s part of the reason fasting and praying go hand in hand.

On one occasion, as I reached for a Diet Coke from my fridge, I heard a voice say, “You can’t have that.” I thought it was my subconscious was talking to me. It was my youngest son reminding me, “You’re not supposed to be drinking that.”

“How do you know?” I asked

“Because you told me you gave up Diet Coke for lent.”

“So, you can remember what I gave up, but you can’t remember to put away your clean clothes…hmmm?”

Anyway, I put the Diet Coke back in the fridge and left it for another day.

This year was the first time that I have attempted to fast. I’ve learned that as challenges come, you pray about it and work through it. Even if you stumble along the way, you keep pushing forward.

Now that lent is over, I have gone back to drinking Diet Coke (but, less often) and I’m trying to control the portion size of the foods I eat. I’m still a work in progress. As a weight watchers
“graduate” (If there’s such a thing), I know eating in moderation is key.

I’m not really going on a diet (too many restrictions), because I’ve ‘been there done that’. I will look at establishing a healthier lifestyle. Fasting was a good experience, it was cleansing to my body and I did a lot of soul searching.

What is your experience with fasting?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

10 things I wish I knew about parenting before I became one

I’m pretty sure I’m missing some pages to the proverbial parenting manual. It must be the pages that answer the “why” questions. As I was giving my teen son his chore list I became tired of responding as he kept asking me why. “Why do I have to clean up? Why does the house always have to be clean?”
I searched my bookshelf for a parenting manual that would tell me why...why my son had to keep asking why. There was no such thing in existence (not in my house anyway). My sons’ questions caused me to ponder the many things I wish I knew before I became a parent. Here is my list.
10  - kids do not listen the first time you tell them to do something.
9 -  Kids favorite words are: I want, I need, can I have. These words especially ring true when you’re shopping with kids.
8 – Kids will embarrass you when you least expect it. A friend once told me that when her daughter was in preschool, the teacher asked the kids about their parent’s careers. Her daughter said, “My dad just sits on the couch and drinks beer.”
7 – If you have boys, “potty training” never ends. If only my bathroom floors could talk.
6 – Kids will test your patience…a lot. Choose your battles wisely.
5- Parenting requires being organized or at least being able to coordinate things. When the kids are little you have to remember the diaper bag, toys, play dates and so on. As they become school age, you have to coordinate their activity schedule with yours.
4 – You can skip buying expensive toys for your toddler; they would rather play with the box the toy came in.
3 – Once kids learn to talk, they never stop. When they’re teens, they try to talk back.
2 – Kids grow up fast. This is not just a saying, it’s true. My oldest son is in 10th grade…already. I feel like I only have two years left to prepare my son for the next stage of life. What have I been doing for the past 15 years???
1 – Parenting should be rated PG for prayer guidance suggested. Somewhere along the way you will need prayer, either for yourself or the kids.
So what have I learned about parenting over the past 15 years? You never stop learning. I love my kids and everyday is a new adventure. What would you include in your top 10 list of things you wish you knew about parenting before you became a parent?