Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Proverbs 22:6 reads, "Train a child in the way he should go; and, even when old, he will not swerve from it." I've been turning this verse over and over in my mind as I attempt to raise my children. I hope my daily doses of direction and discipline aren't going in one ear and out the other...

My mother let me know Lilli "has a problem with talking back" the other day. I try to take negative critiques of my children in stride. It's always hard to hear criticism because I spend so much of my time in child-rearing... I want their behavior to be perfect. Perfect children are a fantasy. And, I choose to live in reality.

I agreed with my mom. I have noticed Lilli's back talking lately and I have started to deal with it. However, I don't parent like she parented. I never have and I (most likely) never will. I felt a great deal of love from my mom growing up. However, I also feared punishment if I disobeyed. This is not a bad thing. I believe my mom was the mother I needed.

I parent with logic. I used to parent with immediate negative consequences to their behaviors when my children were toddlers and pre-schoolers. Now, my girls are in elementary school and my son is almost a teenager. Therefore, I parent differently. My kids have to learn self-control. I can no longer control their actions as I could by "redirecting" them when they were toddlers. They must direct their own actions.

Often when I correct Asher and ask him to stop a behavior, I can see his stubborn will in his response to me. He obeys me but their is defiance right below the surface. I could punish him for the observed defiance... however, would the punishment teach him self-control? Can I force him to respect me? Asher must learn to govern himself. I always point out his disrespect of me. We discuss his responsibility to "honor his father and mother" on a weekly basis.

Lilli does have a problem with back-talking me. I have noticed the problem and I have been quite diligent about pointing it out to her. Should I punish it out of her? Or should I discuss with her how unacceptable her behavior is and give her the time to learn self-discipline? I believe she has to understand the benefits of listening and obeying me. This approach takes time and consistent discipline.

Asher's defiance of authority should be accelerating as he enters the teenage years. I have spoken to many parents who warn me about the coming apocalypse in parenting. I listen to their warnings. I also see my son come to me with a humble attitude after he has been disrespectful. He apologizes, asks for forgiveness, and tells me he loves me. This gives me hope.

Self-discipline is learned. By teaching accountability, respect for authority, and responsibility, I hope I am teaching my children the skills they need for an abundant life. There are many bumps along the road to adulthood. I want to be the hand my children reach for in their walk. I use the rod to guide them into the safety of the sheepfold. That's my method and as long as I continue to see positive results I will use it with patience and love.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

In Defense of Motherhood

The latest buzz in the media is Ann Romney, wife of Mitt Romney (the presumed Republican presidential candidate), being referred to as "old fashioned when it comes to women." Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen, also said Ann Romney "has actually never worked a day in her life."
Ann Romney responded to Rosen's words by opening a Twitter account and tweeting, "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work."

I am not writing about the issue of motherhood because it has become the latest battle ground between the Left and the Right. I am writing about motherhood because I believe it to be the single most important job a woman can have in her life. Women who choose to be a mother are taking on a 24/7 job for a few decades. Elizabeth Stone described motherhood beautifully with her quote... "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."

Motherhood is a daily struggle. It is a battle between self-serving and serving others. It is the ultimate laboratory of humanity. It is daily research into what works and what doesn't when raising up a responsible, productive, and loving human being. It is working to provide the best physical nutrition for growing bodies. It is cleaning house. It is finding the words to discipline, comfort, admonish, guide, and love a changeling who sheds growth stages like dirty clothes. It is keeping up with multiple schedules and activities. It is living on a budget. It is explaining the unexplainable. It is lack of sleep. It is rocking babies. It is laughter and tears. It is bandaging wounds. It is giving. It is worry. It is agony and amusement... despair and delight... heartbreak and hope...

Motherhood is a roller coaster of daily ups and downs. Successful motherhood includes failure. In order to succeed in mothering, the desire for success must be greater than the fear of failure. Never giving up is essential in child rearing. Children, in a sense, are a project. However, they are not a project to be thrown in the trash or scrapped because of lack of funding or lost interest. Children are the world's most valuable resource. Therefore, motherhood is the most important job.

I am blessed to be a mother. I am further blessed to be able to make the choice to stay at home. I am exceedingly blessed to have a loving husband who finds great satisfaction in providing for his family. A husband who gives me the freedom to choose to either work for money or to work for my family. A husband who is a terrific father.

I am not "old fashioned." I am educated by the world's standards... holding a Master's degree... However, I am in the middle of earning another degree. I currently attend the University of Motherhood. I have completed pregnancy, birth, infant development, and early childhood. I am now focusing my research and studies on the elementary childhood years and I am just beginning to learn about puberty. Every day I observe, gather information, and conduct experiments. Every day I am tested on my knowledge of what children require to grow into an independent adult. My laboratory is never closed. I also share what I have learned with other mothers. I am currently mentoring my sister. She has graduated from infant studies and is about to enter a year of toddler studies...

The issue of motherhood isn't about whether or not women should work outside of the home. I spent many years working for money. I spent many years pursuing my college degrees. I may enter the work force again and it might be out of necessity. My choice to stay at home should be respected. Stay-at-home mothers should be celebrated... not insulted. Mothers who must work for money should be supported and encouraged. All mothers are women and we must help each other. Motherhood is hard work... no matter the specific path it takes...

"A mother who is really a mother is never free."

-Honore de Balzac