How to Transform Your Child’s Screen-Time into Relationships and Connection

LauraAll Posts, Motherhood

DSC_0362

Usually, I wait until I’ve tried something for a while before I share it with you. But this time, I’m so excited about an idea that I’m going to share it with you before we’ve truly taken it on the road.

I think it’s a good one…

This particular idea was birthed from desperation.

Here’s the scenario: A child asks a great question like, “How do submarines get into the water in the first place?” or “Where do sloths live?” or “How did the Russians survive their economic crisis?”

Until recently, I’d say, “I don’t know. Let’s look it up!”

We’d gather around my phone or computer as I type in “How do submarines get into the water”…

Then – defying all filters – strange graphic medical imagery, violent movie ads, and mostly-naked people show up in ads, video options, and images.  As soon as these images appear on the screen, I try to shield the screen, move away from the kids, or close the laptop and say, “Well, I’ll just have to look this up later.”

The worst part is that although I feel irritated by the technology, I tend to take my irritation out on the children. And all they did was ask a good question.

The stress and disappointment of exposing my children to junk over and over again (precisely when they are thinking and wondering), is too much for me.

DSC_0315

So, here’s my newly minted idea:

When my kids ask a question, I thumb through my mental Rolodex of Friends-and-Relations and look for someone we know who may know the answer.

Then, we call them on the phone or ask them in person. 

I love this idea because it connects us into our natural community, builds relationships, develops communication skills, and causes us to respect the knowledge and expertise of our friends.

I love it because it honors the child’s wonder, exchanging human thought for human thought without visual pollution. (Or the stress of having to “Look away, sweetie.” “Try to forget that scary image.” “Well, maybe we just have to get used to seeing lots of cellulite.”)

It’s simple. It’s classic. I think it’s gonna work.

And…we’re off to a great start! In fact, just today we received a call from a friend answering our question about submarines. The conversation at the lunch table was, “I had no idea that Mr. Mark is a submarine expert! He’s actually been on a submarine?!”

 

“How To Survive the Day with Littles”, OR “How Having 3 Kids Is Harder Than 5”

LauraAll Posts, Motherhood


DSC_0210

While our older two daughters have been at a daily art camp for two weeks, I’ve been home with our three youngest children ages 5, 2, and newborn. I love our younger children dearly and am grateful that our family continues to enjoy the little years. In fact, I have a blog post coming about how I am filled-to-the-brim with joy just to keep the nursery rhymes fresh, the Bible stories simple, and the playtimes sweet… for a little while longer.

But this particular post is about how being home with three little children is tough.

Without my two helpful and creative older daughters at home, I’m remembering the weight of “the early years”.

Suddenly, I’ve had to take care of every request for help and come up with every fun idea. (Our just-turned-5-year old does help with all of his might, but… he’s 5 and just starting to make his way in the world.) By now, our older daughters help out in every way. It has been years since most of the household tasks were on my plate. So when the girls aren’t home, I feel like I’m walking around in circles with my arms full of babies and my mind full of limitless tasks to accomplish.

The hardest part about our older daughters’ absence has been missing their fun! The girls are so vibrant: full of ideas, initiative, creativity, laughter, insights, and care for each person in our family. Over the years, they have grown into pillars of our home. We depend on them in countless ways. And we miss them.

These two weeks have reminded me that having several little ones at home – without older children – is an all-consuming calling. In order to thrive this week (well, often just survive), I’ve dusted off 3 old habits from my early motherhood years. I thought I’d share them with you today:

3 Helpful Tips to Survive the Day: For Mothers of Littles

  1. Keep simple expectations. Each day, I jot down one or two fun things I could do with my children and one or two chores that I want to accomplish. Some days, we complete each thing; some days we don’t. But keeping my “To Do” list short-and-sweet increases my odds of redeeming the time and making the most of our days together.
  2. Choose a theme for the week to inspire fun ideas.
    DSC_0219
    I haven’t planned a “theme week” in a loooong time, but when I’m home with several young children, a theme tends to invigorate my imagination and engage the children.The first week was “Beach Week” and we did one simple thing each day that had something to do with the beach: we read a beach book, looked at sea shells, played with water, and played with sand.  On Friday, we had our “Beach Party” even though it was raining.

    (‘Lest you think it was fancy, I’ve decided to share some photos from our half-hour imaginative get-away. This Beach Party was super-simple, but they loved it. In fact, they truly thought they were at the beach. I’m not kidding. I think it was the Beach Boys Pandora station that sealed the deal and transported them to Avalon. It turned out to be a refreshing get-away for me, too; I had a hoot taking photos and enjoying a fruit smoothie of my own.)

    Complementary background music so you can get the full experience: YouTube Preview ImageDSC_0199
    DSC_0201
    DSC_0208
    DSC_0206

  3. Pace the day in small chunks of time.
    Because I have a newborn who is on a 3-hour schedule, I see our day in 3-hour chunks. Each day, I try to focus on what we’re going to do during the baby’s next nap cycle so I don’t get intimidated by the whole day looming before me.This morning, while the baby was sleeping, we played a little baseball outside. Now, we’re inside and the children are playing with play-doh and listening to the Kids’ Praise “Play Ball!” album while I write this post.After the next nap cycle, we’ll pile into the car to drop off our recycling and buy eggs from our Amish neighbors ($1.50 for a dozen fresh eggs!).

    After that… well, I’ll think about that later! The point is, with 3 little ones and many, many needs, I do better when I focus on getting through a few hours at a time, intentionally filling that time with something specific to accomplish or enjoy.

    I hope these simple tips are helpful to another mother-of-littles out there who needs to know she’s not alone. :)

BTW: To the mother of young children who looks at bigger families and thinks, “I could NEVER do that!”, take heart.

You could!

To tell you the truth, I think that raising 3 little ones at home is harder than raising 5 multi-aged children.

Really! It’s harder.

So, feel like the rock-star you are.

And remember that those little children who need so much from you today will grow in maturity and ability. You’re love and attention during these early years will be a big part of that! May your children grow to love helping the family. May you sign them up for art camp and suddenly realize that they’ve become pillars of your home who love and care for you and your family.

 

Motivate Your Kids Without Bribery, Candy, or Charts

LauraMotherhood

DSC_0255

Back in the day when I only had one child, I motivated her by making colorful charts for the refrigerator and cheering her on while she worked on “going potty” or “saying please” or pronouncing “sh” correctly. I could affirm her and help her to reach each every great aspiration. I took photos and rewarded her with a little treat after a few weeks-worth of hard work.

These days, with five kiddos to keep track of, there are no more charts.

I’ve tried to use motivational charts – oh, I’ve tried –  but I’ve concluded that it must be humanly impossible to parent 5 children and consistently track and reward incremental growth in even one of those kiddos. I am just waaaaay too distracted.

So I moved on to candy: quick, easy, instantly-satisfying candy. This I could do with 20 kids.

“Mommy, I went potty!”

“Oh, good! Here’s an M&M.”

Easy-peasy. But then everyone had to start writing books and blog posts about how sugar is poison… how it’s more addictive than cocaine…. how being hooked on sugar is like living in a blur, but living without sugar is truly bright and vibrant living… how giving candy to children is the worst possible thing parents could do.

Erg.

What to do now?

Recently, I had to come up with something brilliant to motivate one of our children to finally get the whole bathroom routine…

Our well-rehearsed script just had to go. You may know it well:

Q: “Did you put the seat down?”

A: “Ooops…” (runs back to bathroom; loud crashing sound)

Q: “Did you flush?”

A: “Ooops…” (runs back to bathroom; flushing sounds)

Q: “Did you wash your hands?”

A: “Ooops…” (runs back to bathroom; hand-washing sounds)

Yes, it was time to move on. But I needed a new source of motivation because charts, candy, and bribery were out of the question.

That’s when I came up with the most simple solution in the world when I just happened to think “…kids love to ring bells…” (In fact, everyone loves to ring bells. Just think about the little bell-ringing system at Trader Joe’s. It gets everyone so excited to “Help!” “Dance!” “Wear a Hawaiian Shirt!”)

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce our successful chart-free, candy-free, bribery-free solution…

DSC_0253

This little sign and this little bell have changed everything about “going potty” in our house.

It totally works!

It’s a shiny reminder to follow each step. It’s a satisfying reward that the individual gets for him- or herself. It’s not poisonous! Not addictive! AND, I can hear it from across the house and know that all-is-well concerning toilet seats, toilet bowls, and clean hands. Even if I’m doing five other things, I can echo the little bell and say, “Hey, I heard that bell! Good job!”

(Do you want to know the best thing about it? Everyone uses it.

Including guests.

They excuse themselves for a moment and then we hear that endearing little, “Ding!”)

Who could resist?

 

Thoughts on Our Times: Is Evil Spiraling Out of Control?

LauraAll Posts

DSC_0372

(The best of times: a grandfather holding his newborn grandson.)

The other night, I lay my head on the pillow, my mind weary from processing so many tragic headlines, day after day. The shootings, the violence, and the hatred seem to be spiraling out of control, don’t you think?

Earlier in the day, I tuned into CNN. A spokesperson against terrorism was asked, “What should we do about all this terrorism?”

The spokesperson said, “It does seem to be escalating, doesn’t it? I think we just have to try harder.”

Try harder?

To do what??

Human evil is unpredictable, hidden, and determined. Our proactive efforts may snuff out some evil plans, but we cannot anticipate every hateful and violent impulse worldwide.

“Trying harder” to eliminate terrorism feels like hiking Mount Everest. As an ant. Backwards. Blindfolded. Under a magnifying glass. In the sun.

Needless to say, it was a very depressing interview.

But what else could the spokesperson say, really?

That interview made one thing abundantly clear (if it wasn’t already): humanity will not solve the problem of hatred, violence, or terror.

Every day, current events evermore emphasize our human limitations and our desperation for God.

The real answer to CNN’s question, “What should we do about all this terrorism?”is “Petition God.”

Prayer is our thing to do.

God will respond to the sound of our voices and He always does what is good and loving. He is never surprised and He never loses.

(You’ve gotta check out this post by my friend, Sarah Mae, in which she ushers us toward praying for our enemies. It is exactly what I need to read these days.)

That particular night, when my mind was weary from the world’s groaning, I mostly prayed for myself.

Our times seem so bad, so extraordinarily bad.

I needed hope.

I felt afraid and helpless. I wondered, would evil continue to escalate? Would we all lose our bearings? Would everything fall apart?

In that moment of prayer, I remembered Charles Dicken’s famous introduction to The Tale of Two Cities… 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”

I found comfort in the fact that 200 years ago, a man named Charles Dickens saw abounding evil in the headlines of his newspapers. He could write about “the worst of times” because they existed in the 1800’s. Evil seemed to be spiraling out of control in the 1800’s. His classic novel explores how evil seemed to be escalating in the 1700’s. And today, we can cut-and-paste his words into the year 2016.

Our current situation isn’t unique: “the worst of times” is timeless and universal.

But let’s not forget that “the best of times” is also timeless and universal.

The two occur at the very same moment. They always have. One glance in a history book or one scroll through Facebook shows this: birthdays mixed with obituaries, anger mixed with compassion, joy mixed with sorrow.

While we process the force and magnitude of  evil – “the worst of times” – let us not forget that goodness – “the best of times” – has a force and magnitude of its own.

A force that will not be overcome.

Goodness is a continual, escalating, abounding gift from God.

It spirals out of our control.

It surprises us at every turn.

It’s the red poppies blooming in the WWI battlefields.

It’s the sun rising after a night of violence in Philadelphia.

It’s the baby who is born a few days after a close relative dies.

Life swallowing death.

What would we do without “the best of times” to get us through? They are God’s grace lavished on us as we pilgrim through a sin-weary world.

They are God’s reminder – those daily beauties that help us bear up under July’s headlines – pointing us to the Cross of Christ that bears us up over death and sin.

And so, we keep celebrating birthdays, appreciating one another, and pursuing goodness. We keep living and loving because God graces our dark world with abundant compassion. God Himself will always be the “best of times” – the wisdom, the belief, the Light, and the hope – that sustains us through every day of history’s “worst of times”.

Count on this: if evil is spiraling out of control and escalating in intensity, surely God’s goodness is spiraling and escalating at an ever-more-astonishing rate.

Look for it.

Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

 

This Week’s Inspiration

LauraAll Posts

I’ve been devouring many sources of inspiration lately. I always like to pass along some of my favorites to you.

A friend pointed me in the direction of a 5-part series aired on Revive Our Hearts way back in 2014. Erin Davis’ interview about her book, Beyond Bath Time, is just about the most encouraging thing a mother could listen to.

I get my daily dose of beauty from my country-lane walks and from my first reading of Anne of Green Gables. (I’ve loved the movie since girlhood and cannot believe I never read the book! It is charming and thoroughly delightful. I think I could read it every day and never tire of it. Anne of Avonlea is next.)

And, I have been podcasting everything available at The Read-Aloud Revival. These podcasts about how to build a family culture around books are intelligent and enriching. You’ll love the author interviews and the variety of topics ranging from Summer Reading motivation to how-to read poetry aloud… it’s truly an amazing source of encouragement for every home. I can’t get enough… and I kind of want to work for them. Or write for them. Or read with them! Or be their friend. :)

What’s been inspiring you lately?

 

“Be Glad You Are Where You Are”

LauraMotherhood

Perhaps it’s one of life’s profound secrets and blessings: to be glad about where we are in life. To be thankful for the work in our hands and the people within our reach. Surely only a few people stumble upon this blessing… for it is a mysterious mixture of attitude and circumstances. It’s a gift; one to be pursued wholeheartedly.

When it comes to enjoying the daily calling of home life with a husband and children, I’ve discovered that all things are sweeter when I hold a song like this in my heart and sing it aloud when holding a little hand, or raising the morning blinds, or sitting on the couch with a child who just wants to be close. This song is written by a mother and it’s sung in the context of motherhood, where it is deeply needed.

I don’t mean to be sappy or overly idealistic, but don’t you think people would change if they sang it at the office, too? Or out in the field? At the market? Or on the road?

YouTube Preview Image

 

When Ministry Happens in Fits and Starts

LauraAll Posts, Marriage, Ministry, Motherhood

DSC_0400

 (“Women’s Ministry”.)

For years, I’ve aspired to be like the faithful Sunday School teacher who serves her post for 50 years, loving generations of children, sharing the gospel with countless young people who gather at her table week after week.

I’ve day-dreamed about looking back over the years and noticing that my faithful involvement in a community, or a person, or a generation actually had some impact.

So far, it seems impossible to live the ideal of a long-term ministry. 

Ministry seems to occur in fits and starts instead.

The trend is that a year or two after I sign up to help, lead, teach, or serve, circumstances require me to stop.

Most recently, I got all charged up about Women’s Ministry. I dog-eared every wonderful book about Women’s Ministry and listened to every podcast about Women’s Ministry. I prayed about and talked about and dug into Women’s Ministry with zeal. And then, I had to push “pause” on the whole shebang as I entered my third trimester of pregnancy and simply didn’t have the energy or focus to continue. Now, we are welcoming our sweet little newborn into our lives and I’m not quite sure when I’ll be able to return to the topic.

To be honest, I’ve wrestled with my tendency to “start and stop” ministry work. It has been disappointing to me. (And embarrassing at times.) I’ve heard people explain that these things happen “just for a season,” and yet I’ve wondered, Why can’t I stick with something over time?

Have you ever criticized yourself for the same thing?

I tearfully brought my regrets and shame before the Lord. I started apologizing for my fickle, short-term commitments. You can imagine my reassurance when I remembered that this is simply the nature of married life and motherhood.

Scripture is very honest about this.

“The unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.”

1 Corinthians 7:24

In the context of the entire Bible, we confidently know that God Himself ordains a married woman’s work to love her husband and her children. She must realize that her home, now, is her primary ministry.

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” -from Titus 2

In light of this, I can see that sometimes I emerge into a season of energy and availability. Home-life thrives while I write, coordinate, teach, and serve. At those times, the Lord is gracious to open opportunities for me to work in the Church on a broader scale. Then, when a new baby arrives or a pressing need appears within our home, I must pull back into our home and hunker down for a while, focusing on our family and giving everything I’ve got to our home.

And it’s okay.

It’s more than okay… it’s just as it should be.

If I can faithfully serve my family over the years, all will be well.  Additional opportunities to serve – even in fits and starts – will have their value as I give what I can when I can.

My heart is full of praise to God who gives us good work to do at home and abroad, who allows for short-stints in several directions as well as a long journey on one enduring road.

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

 

Wooden on Motherhood: What the UCLA Coach Taught Me About Leading and Loving my Children

LauraAll Posts, Motherhood

51EOw3BYhrL._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_

I recently read Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden and Steve Jamison.

John Wooden is known as the “best coach in history”.

Not only did he lead his UCLA basketball team to many victories (10 NCAA Championships), but he also – and more importantly – poured his life into teaching his athletes to thrive as human beings. Though the book never mentions “motherhood”, Wooden’s insights about effective leadership inspire me regarding my job as a mother.

Before I return the book to the library, I thought I’d share 3 of its many highlights with you:

  • Do your best.

    Despite his incredible winning record, Wooden never spoke about winning. Never. Winning wasn’t his objective, because it wasn’t in his control. Instead, he continually encouraged his players to do their best work at very practice and every game. He strove to offer his best every day, and he expected the same from his team.
    “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable.” – John Wooden

    I want this mentality to be a part of our daily lives, too.  Instead of getting wrapped up in accomplishment, the status quo, or competition, I simply want us to do our best. As I sit at the breakfast table with our children and we prepare to begin the day, I want to remind us to do our best work today: each one of us, working unto the Lord and not unto man, being faithful with the gifts and opportunities God has given us.

    I hope I’m a mother who rallies the troops with, “Let’s all give today our very best effort!”

  • Don’t despise the little details, the daily grind, the fundamentals.

    The habits that form each day add up to shape a lifetime. Coach Wooden is famous for the time he invested in teaching his athletes precisely how to put their socks on. He cared about the shoes they wore, the laces they used, and the length of their fingernails. He cared about where their elbows were when they ran, where their eyes were when the passed the ball, and where their attention was when they scored a point (on acknowledging the player who assisted).

    Details were important to Coach Wooden because they dramatically affected the way the game was played.It’s not hard to draw the comparison to motherhood: just think of all the little details that we notice and tend to throughout the day, from sun-up until sun-down. I’m often tempted to invest my time and attention on “bigger things” and lose focus on training my children in the “little things” from bed-making to apologizing. But Wooden’s coaching inspires me to notice the details of our day-to-day and not to give up reminding, shaping, and encouraging my children to build a beautiful life upon one small decision at a time.

  • Prepare and plan each day, making it your masterpiece.

    Every morning, Coach Wooden met with his assistant coaches to evaluate the previous day’s practice and plan the day’s upcoming practice. They talked about what worked yesterday, what needed more work, and what they would like to add. They looked for adjustments and refinements. Then, they’d format the new day – minute by minute – focusing on fundamentals, conditioning, and team unity.

    A year ago, I discovered the 5-minute Journal (glorious) and have been successful at incorporating the daily questions into my morning devotional time. I’m in the process of trying to figure out how to quickly and efficiently evaluate our homeschooling experience a day at a time using this format.

    Heading into the new school year, I may add a few questions specifically about motherhood. I think it would be beneficial to begin each day considering the basic character qualities, life skills, and family dynamics that I want to build in our home.

    • “What worked yesterday?”
    • “What needs more work today?”
    • “What would I like to add today?”

I appreciated Wooden’s insights about leadership so much that I plan on borrowing some of his other books in the future. In fact, I’d love to incorporate one as a family read-aloud at some point. I think our kiddos would learn just as much about “being a team player” and “following a good leader” as they will about leadership itself.

What have you read lately that impacts your view of motherhood??

 

Small and On the Earth

LauraAll Posts

There were moments in my childhood when I’d be sitting in the grass, spring or summer. The sky would be blue and high. I’d pull my knees up to my chest and balance on my bottom. Every so often, a distinct awareness would rush over me – an awareness that I was sitting on the earth.

In my mind’s eye, the grass would stretch out in every direction – farther and farther – wrapping itself around the enormous round planet, and there I’d be: sitting on it.

A girl, placed delicately on an immense, slowly-spinning globe.

Like a chess piece placed intelligently on a chess board.

Or a vase of flowers placed carefully on a table.

Like a housefly that lands nimbly on a countertop, or a bird that happily balances on a limb.

Years later – when childhood was my memory – I married a man and birthed our first child. Our daughter arrived 5 weeks early and weighed less than 6 pounds. I gently lay her on her stomach for a sponge bath and draped a warm washcloth over her back. I couldn’t help but think of a roaster chicken, those little elbows poking out like chicken wings. (I didn’t mean to think that. Some similes just rush through my mind without giving me a fair chance.) I dried her off and swaddled her up.

As it turns out, our baby was slightly jaundiced and the doctors wanted her to spend some time under the lights in the NICU. At our country hospital, the NICU is the size of a walk-in-closet with two or three incubators and a kitchenette.  I didn’t want to leave her side, so the nurses rearranged the NICU and pulled in a wooden rocking chair for me. It practically took up the entire room. I sat down in the rocker, scooting it close to her little bed, speaking and singing in a low voice so she’d know I was there.

I held her whenever the nurses would let me.

We both were brand new.

In that first week of life, I felt an awareness rush over me not unlike those moments in childhood when I’d be sitting on the sloping earth. This time though, I was holding a baby in my arms and balancing our bodies together in a large rocking chair.

And I remember: I felt our smallness.

In my mind’s eye, the rocking chair grew up behind me, massive and wooden, pushing its way through the ceiling, becoming as large as the universe. Yet, my daughter and I remained so small, swaddled together, on its large wooden seat. The holiness of the moment overtook me and I found myself appealing to God for help. Oh God! We are so small!

I think about that experience when I visit my parents’ church. There, hundreds of people gather on Sunday morning to worship God in a large sanctuary. Light streams in. The ceilings are vaulted high. The choir on stage is massive – one hundred? two hundred? – people stand side-by-side and sing glorious songs. An orchestra plays. Their faces are radiant and their sound is full.

The large building, the large crowd, the large choir with its glorious sound reminds me of that moment in the NICU rocking chair.

I sing along with the choir until something catches in my throat.

I pause under the weight of reality: we are so small.

What if I could look at all of us – the singers, the standers, the hand-raisers, the cymbal players – under a microscope? We’d look like a sampling of streptococci. (Have you ever seen the beautiful arrangement of strands and circles that appear at 5,000 x strength?)

Under a microscope – the tall, the petite, the fat, the thin, the old, the young – would mostly just seem… small.

Though we are hundreds of worshipers gathered under vaulted ceilings, we are a tiny gathering of tiny creatures expressing our wonder and thanks.

Psychologists say that we inadvertently seek this experience. They say people visit places like the Grand Canyon in order to feel… small. They say we make the trek across town, or across the country, or across the world in order to gaze upon something bigger than ourselves.

They say it’s good for us to remember our smallness.

Someday, I hope to pack our bags and seek out those big landmarks that people talk about – the Grand Canyon, the Redwoods, the Desert. My husband, our children, and I will look over the expanse, peer into the depth, and gaze upon the height of things that are bigger than we are.

And we’ll wonder.

(I also day-dream of buying a plane ticket for each of our teenagers: the gift of a few hours in a seat far above the earth. What will they realize when they look out the window and see the true size of clouds, houses, cars, people?)

In the meantime though – while I’m still birthing babies, swaddling them, and rocking them – the Grand Canyon comes to me in a million ways: in a child’s smile and an elder’s wisdom, in a nesting bird and a growing puppy, in a sunrise and a sunset, in every mundane, stereotypical, already-been-said wonder.

The bigness of every little thing in the universe…

These just-glimpses of God…

They overwhelm me with the assurance that it is a gift to be small on the earth.

 

Approach Motherhood Like Med School

LauraMotherhood

DSC_0249

“It’s about life. It’s about every single day being a new day, and each time you wake up, you look at the sky you’ve got as a gift. The day is here. What are you going to do with it?” – from The Talent Code

Approach motherhood like med school, but with more love.

Aim to give it your all every day. Study and learn about yourself and your children, because life depends upon it.

Look to the top instructors. Search out the best resources.

Think deeply and well about motherhood. If you are a mother, it is an essential part of your identity. It is also an essential part of your children’s identity. You and your children are worth thinking deeply about.

Always keep in mind that there is infinitely more to the subject than the handful of viral articles about helicopter parenting, simple living, safety precautions, and not spoiling kids. The articles that catch your eye are simply spring boards into understanding why their argument may be true or false, and what their ultimate effect will have upon your family and society.

Read widely concerning motherhood: leadership, sports, education, nutrition, counseling, history, and literature all have something to offer our understanding and experience of motherhood.

Experiment with new approaches, discard the things that do not work, and try again.

Be a hard, hard worker and really dive in.

Don’t get distracted by perfection, comparison, condemnation, or unreasonable goals. These will steal your joy. Instead, immerse yourself in the subject matter and learn what it means to love the art of motherhood itself. In doing so, you will learn what it means to love your children.

Motherhood is an altogether worthwhile pursuit and your work today matters.