TagsAdoption Become Bedtime Routine Bible Character Children Decluttering discipline DIY Encouragement Faith follow through Girl stuff God God's word Gratitude Healthy Eating Holy Spirit Home Infertility Intentional Life Jesus Jesus Christ Joy life change Marriage Meal Planning Meditation Minimalism mom Open Adoption Organization Parenting Prayer purpose Rest Self Control Simplify Smile transformation Trust Vacations Waiting For a Baby Who I Am Becoming Words
Category Archives: Motherhood
No mom would be proud to say they feel disconnected from their kids. No one wakes up and says, “Gee, I sure hope I don’t connect with my children today.”
Nope. No one. Ever.
But, it happens. And I would venture to say…to most every mom.
I may be with my children everyday, all day, but yet last night I realized this has become a truth in my own life.
I am disconnected from them.
Last night I laid beside Gavin at bedtime. We went through the usual routine: prayer, story, song.
I usually ask him what was good about his day and he replied as he does often, “Daddy coming home.” They adore their father, they get excited when he walks through the door, which I am so thankful. This is probably normal for many stay-at-home moms. But tonight, I pressed a little deeper-maybe because I was feeling a little left out, “What was something good about your day with mommy?”
Nothing. Blank stare into the side of the bed. I asked him 2 more times, each time with a smile and a change in my voice inflection, trying to get him to say something!
Now at this point, I was trying to figure out if he was just tired, was he thinking about something else, was he distracted (which is common for a 4 year old) or was he really struggling to find the good in his day with mommy? I leaned over to look at his precious face.
Nothing. He was just staring blankly at the bed.
It hit me at that moment. For a four-year-old life is about fun and joy and playfulness..but for him today there had been none of that with mama.
Now, in my mind I was thinking, ” What? We went for a play date today, I made you lunch, I let you watch some shows, I…..”
Then it hit me. I did nothing with him. Taking care of his necessities of bathing and feeding and cleaning up toys didn’t give him any joy. I was saddened at that moment.
Then after a long silent pause, he turned and looked at me and said, “Playing with mommy.”
I said nothing.
He rolled over and I sang him a song, I prayed over him, kissed him good night and walked out. Saddened that the one thing he finally spoke of being good about his day with mommy—never happened.
I never played with him.
And I must confess it’s been a long while since I have sat down and played with him.
I spend everyday with him. We go for walks, we read together, I do educational games with them, I work on his alphabet and numbers, I take them places, I take them to the park, play dates, I clean his room, I let them play outside.
But play with him? Nope. I haven’t done that. Not for awhile.
Now I know that it isn’t possible, necessary or healthy to play with our kids all day long. They need time alone, to be creative but they still in their hearts long to have those precious moments of “play” time with mommy.
The truth is difficult to swallow sometimes. He longs to play with me, to laugh with me, to have fun with me. His mommy. He longs for me to enjoy being with him.
But I’m always engaged in something else. Always I’m multitasking because that is the only way I’ll ever get anything done and I have SO much to do. Always I’m consumed with accomplishing something. Always something else takes priority. But just being here with my children doesn’t translate to connected parenting. I’m disconnected from my children.
So what does it mean to be connected?
It means to be joined, linked together or plugged in.
I must plug into my kids. Be linked together with them, joined with them, be a part of them and their lives. Just living with my children, feeding them, taking care of their necessities isn’t being connected to them. I must seek out ways to connect with them. If I want to be connected with them as teenagers, I need to learn to connect with them today.
Having multiple children poses even more of a challenge. Each of my children is unique, as are yours, and connecting to them looks different for each child.
I must get to know each child. To know how to best connect to them.
And it’s not just about “playing with them” although at my children’s ages this is important, but its about truly connecting , loving them where they are as they are. Engaging them. Seeing them for who they truly are. Enjoying them. Studying them. Knowing them.
So, here are 3 ways the Lord has shown me what to do when you feel disconnected from your child.
3 Ways To Connect With Our Children
1. Engaging them. Nothing substitutes time spent with our children. To engage is to consume all of ones’ attention, to participate in an activity. Spending quality time with them while engaging my whole being-mind, heart and soul. Be all there.
2. Enjoying them. Take delight in them. Have you ever been with someone you knew wasn’t having a good time? It makes me uncomfortable. I can’t be me when I’m worried they aren’t enjoying themselves. I can’t be joyful knowing they are not. This is also true with my kids. If they don’t see joy in me when I am with them, it’s hard for them to enjoy themselves. They know when I’m only there in body and not having any fun. Kids are very perceptive. Enjoying them means receiving benefit from having been with them. Do they believe I have benefited from time with them or that I went through the motions?
3. Knowing them. I have been convicted lately to start studying my kids everyday. Taking notes. Paying attention to what they like, don’t like. What makes them tick, what brings them joy. What their love language is. To know someone is being aware of information that is known to few people. I get the blessing of knowing my kids, of knowing the details that few people will ever know about them. In our culture of superficial relationships and busyness, most of us will remain anonymous to others. Who we really are will stay unknown to most. And if no one dares to invest in us, to really get to know us, we will more than likely have difficulty knowing our true selves and an even harder time believing in a God who knows us intimately.
Being known means someone knows the truth about who we are in our hearts, minds and souls and loves and accepts us as we are. Being known gives us confidence to become who God created us to be.
Much of our troubles today come from being unknown to anyone. A lack of connection to others and ultimately to God.
I am so thankful for this moment with my son. Don’t let these moments reveal your shortcomings, let them remind you of a God who reveals truth and shows us a better way.
Please share ways you have found to connect to your children.
Motherhood is a full time job. We all know this. It’s 24/7. 365 days a year. We don’t even get a “sick day”. We are the mama. We wear many hats, and wash, clean and organize every one of them. We have numerous responsibilities and countless sacrifices. My job description is similar to most of yours. The exact situations will vary, but raising children is cross generational. I love how MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) puts it:
We are raising the world together.
Every mother has an enormous impact on the future generation. Our children will be tomorrow’s life-changers. At least, that is certainly how I want to see my children–world changers. I want my children to live so differently that the world pauses and takes notice. Envisioning our children’s future is awesome and scary at the same time. And so very important.
We live today what we plan for tomorrow.
But, honestly, today I was just plain selfish, and irritated and tired. Period. I didn’t see my sweet cherubs as life changers, I saw them as little turkeys who were just plain driving me to need a long bath (that I would take if we weren’t in stage 5 drought restrictions). And yes, as a mom of 3 preschoolers, I have many days like this. I have many great days as well, but too often I find myself sitting in a place of complaint and frustration and self pity. That place that says, “This is really hard. And I’m failing at this. And I need to change their behaviors. And I can’t ever get ahead of their mess.” Yes, those days. Please tell me you have them, too.
It’s on these days, in these moments, however, that God-if I choose to listen-can speak most dearly to my heart. It’s days like today when His love surrounds me and redirects my focus back to Him. In the midst of my selfishness, my discontent and my crummy attitude, he extends His grace to me. He reminds me that being a mother is my job, my first priority. For me, it’s a beautiful life I longed for and chose with excitement and ambition. But somewhere along the way, I can lose my focus. I get caught up in me instead of God. Instead of my children, my husband, my family. I have been praying Romans 12:2,
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
This is my life verse for Living Differently. But specifically this morning, I focused on the -renewing of your mind-part. I will share with you how God renewed my mind on a late afternoon walk with my children.
10 Questions To Renew Your Mind As A Mother
1. Do I see my children’s ages as a season to get through or as a time to be treasured?
2. Am I dealing with my preschoolers behaviors or am I loving them?
3. Do I yell and roll my eyes in frustration or do I smile with joy?
4. Are my children an interference or a blessing?
5. Am I angry and resentful or am I grateful and content?
6. Are they in my way or my way of life?
7. Are they distracting my focus or are they my focus?
8. Are they irritating or inspiring?
9. Do I discourage their “why’s” or do I encourage their questions of life?
10. Do I look forward to them sleeping or enjoy them while they’re awake?
Yes, it’s truth to admit that our lives as mothers will continually be an ongoing struggle between these varying attitudes. But as I spoke all of these into my phone on my walk, I felt the sharp pang of conviction. This, my friends, is the work of the Holy Spirit. My attitude needs renewing. My heart needs transforming – far more than my children’s normal childish behaviors. I am thankful for a God who reaches deep into my heart and painfully reveals who I am, but loves me enough not to leave me there.
If I want to live differently as a mom, I need to start thinking differently in my mind.
As a mom, how have YOU struggled between these differing attitudes?
Who doesn’t want their kids to have a strong character? I know I certainly do. But “hoping” they develop good character traits and being intentional with building these are two different things.
Last year I began focusing on one character trait per month. There are so many character qualities I want them to have and it just seemed overwhelming to focus on ALL of them at the same time. So, breaking them down into monthly bite-size pieces just seemed to make sense to me.
I choose one character trait and one verse per month.
For example, this month’s word is ATTENTION. Our verse is Proverbs 4:20-21:
“My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart.”
I repeat this verse at least once a day for them to hear it and hopefully memorize it (mostly the 2 older ones). As we go about our day, I will remind them often that God is asking them to pay ATTENTION to mommy. We talk about paying attention with our eyes, our mouths, our ears and our hearts. We played a game today on the swings where I was not listening to them, or looking at them and they had to tell me whether or not I was paying attention. They were laughing and having fun. I try to incorporate this mostly in our normal daily activities.
Honestly, many times, it doesn’t seem they are even listening to me. (Toddlers and preschoolers tend to be great at tuning us out!) But, then at some random point, Gavin will repeat what I’ve said or Annabella will repeat the verse with me and I’ll remember that they are absorbing it. Repetition is key with little ones! But then again, as God reminds me, repetition is key for me to learn as well!
And yes, there are days when I don’t even talk about our character habit. We get busy and life happens and I forget. I am learning God’s grace is sufficient. It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. Moving forward. Staying in the game. Trusting God.
12 Character Traits I Want to Build in My Children This Year
1. January: Trust.
Proverbs 3: 5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”
2. February: Love.
Matt 22: 37-38 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
3. March: Attention.
Proverbs 4: 20-21 “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart.”
4. April: Obedience.
Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (We did this one last year as well! At my children’s ages, I feel this is worth repeating!)
5. May: Thankfulness.
1 Thes 5: 16-18 “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
6. June: Courage
Deut 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
7. July: Forgiveness
Luke 6:37 “Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
8. August: Self-control
1 Pet 4:7 “Be self controlled and alert.”
9. September: Joy
Proverbs 15:30 “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart.” (Focusing on the importance of a smile) And repeating 1 Thes 5:16-18 “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
10. October: Usefulness
1 Timothy 5:10 “She is well known for her good deeds…helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.”
11. November: Gentleness
Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
12. December: Serving
Gal 5:13 “Serve one another humbly in love.”
Resources for Habit and Character Training:
I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. I have more pins than I’ll ever do in my lifetime, but if I’m working on Thankfulness, for example, I will type in “teaching children thankfulness” and it can give me several ideas to implement that month. Pick a FEW ideas, and let the rest go. You can’t do them all!
Charlotte Mason, in Laying Down the Rails, recommends changing habits every 6-8 weeks. You might say, “Wow, that is only 6 habits per year!” But, if you consistently work on habits regularly, you will have instilled at least 60 strong character traits in your child in the course of their first 10 years. Remember, training our children in strong character isn’t a race…it’s a marathon, it’s a journey. We have 18 years to love on and train them. I feel developing their habits and their character is one of the most important aspects of our parenting and worth the extra attention.
There are SO many character traits to build in our children. Make your own list, be intentional and have fun! Let me know what you are working on this year!
Remember, Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Share how you have helped to build your child’s character! I would love to hear from you.
Oh, it’s good to be back!
Where have I been, you may ask?
Well, I’m not really sure, honestly. Busy. Unfortunately. Too busy.
But, I’ve missed you. I’ve missed this. I’ve missed writing. Just sharing my thoughts. I’ve missed pursuing God’s calling on my life. I’ve missed sharing what God is teaching me, what He is changing within my heart. I’ve been too busy. Too busy to write, but even worse, too busy to listen.
I’ve been busy being a mommy. A wife. Playing, cooking, teaching, leading, organizing, preparing, cleaning. You know…mommy stuff. Important stuff.
But, busyness is just an excuse for not seeking the One thing that should be most important.
I’ve come to this place just recently where God has been whispering to my heart:
Turn your focus to Me
My perspectives are changing.
I have been striving, self-focused, trying so hard to be “better”, more organized…dare I say to be the “prefect” mom.
Does she exist? No. Never.
But in my mind she haunts me. The harder I try and then “fail”, she reminds me that I’m not enough, I’m not “her”, I’m not ever going to keep my house organized, I don’t laugh enough or play enough with my children, I don’t serve enough. I fall short in her eyes. Always. She brings out my ugly, my comparing tendencies, my heartache and insecurities. She reminds me of who I am not.
So, I keep striving. Keep trying harder. Until now, recently, I have heard it within my soul, that longing that there is more than this, that I am missing something.
God is whispering to my heart.
Do I hear Him? Am I pausing long enough to recognize his voice. He’s beckoning me to be still and know Him. Love Him. Trust Him. Believe Him. Rest in Him.
Just Stop Striving
My life is consumed with so many moments that don’t matter. Yes, managing life is necessary, but should never be consuming. No…life is about God, loving God, loving my family, loving His people-those all important relationships in my life.
The more I have struggled to find organization, peace, to “get it together”, the more my life has spun out of control.
I have been looking for peace. When all the while, I have Peace living within me. Whispering my name. Waiting for me to respond, to believe.
Too consumed with myself and my lists, I’ve missed it. And in truth I know life isn’t about me. But, unfortunately, my life speaks differently. It’s about God. It’s about filling my exhausted, weary soul with His spirit, his breath of life.
I’m sitting outside right now listening to those ever present night-time noises, gazing at a magnificent, glowing, serene full moon.
These are the words a weary soul longs to hear, to experience, to believe in.
I am so small. God is so BIG! So…well, everything.
I am not.
Lord, help me to see my place in your story, your kingdom, your plans. Forgive me for making my plans and then trying to include you, rather than trusting in You to create the plan for my life. Let me seek you. Always. I will find ways to go around you. Sadly. To busy myself…again. Please remind me of who You are Lord…again and again.
Busyness sucks the life out of me.
Say No to the Unnecessary
Say Yes to God
And to those things that fill my soul with joy and bring a smile to my face…
- Being with my children
- Connecting with my husband
- Investing in my family
- Building friendships
- Encouraging women
- Reading God’s word
- Reading books that I love
- Writing words that inspire
- Listening to relaxing music
Seek what your soul has been desiring my dear friend.
He is there. Waiting to embrace you and fill your weary hearts with an overflowing love. But you will have to pause long enough to hear his gentle whisper.
He is there. Close your eyes. Breath deeply. Rest. Your mind, your body, your soul.
Don’t miss this moment. Don’t replace it with an insignificant one.
Do you feel it? The deep inner whisper inviting you to Rest…to slow down?
What is your soul longing for?
Don’t miss it. Especially this season. Especially now. Especially today.
Have courage to REST, to breathe, to say NO, to just “be”, to simplify, to say yes to those things that are important.
Today, I am seeking REST. Please say you will too! Let us leave a legacy that brings peace to others’ weary souls.
Lord, let us mamas make every effort to enter the REST you have called us to. Give us wisdom and guidance, perspective and truth. Help us this Christmas Season to be UN-busy. To stop and smile. To look at our children with wonderment and adoration. Help us to model kindness and generosity to our children. Isn’t that more important than the presents, the shopping, the cultural Christmas norms? To build their character, OUR character? Help us to be intentional with our lives-every minute of every day. Let us not waste what we have been given. May we seek YOU and to glorify you in all we say and do. And let us NEVER forget the Son you sent for us to save us from ourselves. To give us grace and mercy where we need it most and to give us everlasting life with YOU. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough. But, may our humble hearts serve you this season with a heart of joy and gratitude. Amen.
Hebrews 4:11 “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”
Please share how you are seeking REST in your lives today!
My sweet Annabella was putting up a bit of resistance tonight for bed. After the 10th time coming out of her room, it was obvious I wasn’t going to get the kitchen cleaned up at that moment. So, when she asked me to come rub her back, I dried my hands and escorted her back to her room. I tucked her in and rubbed her forehead and her back. She was asleep within minutes. I knew she was tired.
I sat there in that moment, looking at my beautiful daughter and I just smiled.
God has great plans for his life! And has been intimately involved in his life since he was conceived.
But I’m sad to say, we missed his 1st birthday.
We weren’t there for his birth.
But rest assured, this child has been prayed for immensely! He is loved, he is wanted. HE was chosen.
We may not have experienced every day of Gavin’s first 14 months of life, but we are here now. We are here today and will be here for his tomorrows!
Three years ago God blessed us with an amazing gift. Our sweet, beautiful, precious daughter.
On June 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm, Annabella Jane Perez was born into this world.
But she was born in our hearts, oh so much earlier than that! You see, we had prayed for Annabella years prior to her arrival. We longed for a baby and after several years of agonizing procedures, devastating news, failed adoptions and much waiting, God answered our prayers. The wait was hard. We were ready to be parents. I was so very ready to be a mommy. Ready to hold MY sweet baby, ready to love the child God would give us. The waiting was so hard. It seemed the Lord was not listening, that maybe he hadn’t heard our prayers. Everyone told us it would be worth the wait.
And it was. So very much worth the wait!!
I am alone.
Ok, the kids are all asleep, so they are still in the house. But technically, in my living room, right now, I’m alone.
My husband went to a work get-together. I chose to stay home.
Because of this.
And did I mention a glass of Red Knot Shiraz?
It’s either the time you treasure as a mom of toddlers after a busy day, or the time you absolutely dread because your baby WILL NOT go to sleep. You are emotionally exhausted and frustrated by the time you fall into bed.
For me, it has been both.
For the last year, Annabella has been our little night owl. She would continue to come out repeatedly after we put her to bed.
But I’m happy to say, that we are pretty much back on target with our bedtime routine. We have made a few adjustments but overall, for the time being, we have found a routine that works great for us.
And allows for mommy and daddy to have some peace and quiet for awhile in the evenings.
You have at least one. If it’s anything like most moms, it’s a very long, seemingly unachievable one.
It’s your TO DO LIST.
And most of us would admit to having several of them. One for things you need to do, one for the grocery list, one for the list of things you’d like to do with your kids, etc. Some of us log these lists in our phones, some on paper, some are just organized enough to keep it straight in their minds (not me), but all of us have them.
The NEVER ENDING TO DO LIST.