It’s Wednesday and that means that my friend Lisa Graf from Mom Blog and I are posting our weekly parenting blog. (Got one you would like to hear our thoughts on? Comment or contact us with it!) She is raising 4 small children 6 and under and I have 3 grown kids all in their early to mid-20′s. We thought it would be fun to show the different perspective that each of us have on the same parenting issues.
It is ironic to me that this is one area that Lisa has learned to have success in while having her children around her. For me, I am still “finding” myself if you will.
I was blessed enough to be a stay at home mom and I delved into the job fully and completely. We lived on a farm and the kids had animals and chores and when they turned 5 they were allowed to join 4-H. I became a 4-H leader, later when my daughter was in high school we even started our own dog club.
I started homeschooling and did that for 10 years. If I wasn’t teaching the class I sent the kids somewhere for the education they needed. My biggest joy was buying the school supplies at the beginning of the school year. Truthfully, I bought school supplies the first year that I was done homeschooling. I just couldn’t stop. If you need notebooks and pencils I’m your gal.
I taught the young sunday school classes at our church. I was in charge of the Wednesday night children’s program. All this to say that I did lose myself as a person during the years the kids were growing up. I still count it all joy but the years since our baby has graduated high school has been difficult. I guess my word of warning is to take care of your own interests and body while you are taking care of your family.
Lisa has done a marvelous job of seeing her need and taking care of it. I had to learn this lesson the hard way.
Finally a parenting topic that I am extra excited about. Weekly Wednesday Parenting series with Shawn from The Odd Couple …
It has become my sincere passion to encourage moms to hold tight to their identity outside of being a mom. So many moms have traveled the parenting path before me and have completely lost themselves in the throws of parenting, Moving kids into college doesn’t just come with a large tuition bill, but a life crisis complete with devastating things like a loss of identity, divorce, & ultimately a loss of self worth.
I haven’t traveled the college road of parenting yet, however; I spent a good portion of the early days of motherhood completely lost in my children. After struggling through marriage issues, being discontent with myself, and spiraling fast towards depression; my husband encouraged me to find a hobby and plug into it.
I spent 3 years telling Jacob I didn’t need a hobby, thinking I just needed to fix him. Then I got into Bible study groups at my church & cake decorating. I suddenly wasn’t just ‘mom’ to toddling pipsqueeks who pooped their pants and puked on me all day long. (disclaimer: no offense meant by ‘just mom’, obviously being a mom is important, very worthy & more than a ‘just’ kinda job, 4 kids under my belt – I get that loud & clear) That void I was trying to fill with plugging my kids into every mommy & me activity, making sure they were one of the first kids to complete the 2000 books before Kindergarten reading program at our local library, hitting every local park every nice summer day, joining every mom group possible; would continue to remain void until I filled it with what God made that void for. I had been living as a Christian; going to church on Sundays, doing the moms groups at church, putting on the church face, but wasn’t living that out in every day life. When I accepted Christ, turned my past, present & future over to His hands filling that void with Him; life had more purpose than just my job description or hobbies.
Of course my kids’ accomplishments and behavior bring me pride and a small sense of accomplishment. Who am I kidding? Even the littlest glimpse of what I struggle to train my kids 24/7/365, makes my chest puff up & claim those little monsters as my own. However, I have made a decision that I find my joy in Christ and do not depend on the circumstances I find myself in or who is in my life. It isn’t fair to make my husband or my children responsible for my joy, completeness or satisfaction in life. That’s a choice I need to make and it cannot be dependent on anything earthly.
That being said, I’ve found it important to plug into things outside of raising the kiddos. I have found event planning/organizing, running, cake decorating, & writing to be my passions. When I get my fill of these things I am a pretty happy gal. It’s invigorating, refreshing, & renewing to plug into activities outside of the day to day throws of motherhood. It’s exhausting to put other’s needs above your own. Before you can meet other’s needs you need to have your tank full – I encourage you to find that completion in Christ and following your God given gifts and passions to use them for His glory! I hear one day our kids will be all grown up, maybe even have kids of their own and we will be left with an empty house and a guy we call a husband …. Shawn, that grass is sounding really green at this point, but I am sure it’s not as green as I’m imagining!