Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

Plowman on communication June 19, 2009

Filed under: Authority & obedience,Books,Communication and speech — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:33 pm

threeIn Don’t Make Me Count to Three, Ginger Plowman offers insights into negotiation-oriented modes of communication between children and parents.  “Reasoning with a small child in order to get them to obey causes confusion because it places them in a position that they are not mature or responsible enough to handle.  It erases the line of authority between the adult and the child and places the child on a peer level with the parent.  Instead, clearly instruct your child and expect obedience.”

A comment in response to  my last post, “Parenting by Negotiation,” raised the idea of power struggle- if a mother insists on blind obedience and is unwilling to offer explanations, it can prompt undue resentment and lack of respect for her authority in her child.  I agree with this to a certain extent.  We moms need to approach instruction of our children with humility and grace- not a proud, ‘lord it over you’ spirit.   Our words and tone should never convey a proud, harsh “I’m the boss of you” message.  Rather, our goal is to communicate love to our children in all circumstances while simultaneously training them that God calls them to submit to and obey our instruction as the loving authority God has provided (following up and explaining circumstances as necessary).  There’s a huge difference.  But it can be easy, in the moment, to blur the two.  We sin against our children when we cross over into “lord it over,” dictatorial territory – and we need to repent of it when we do. (more…)

 

Parenting by negotiation June 17, 2009

Filed under: Authority & obedience,Communication and speech,Culture — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:33 pm

The title of a fairly recent parenting book grabbed me: Negotiation GenerationHow perfectly does that describe the culture and era in which we find ourselves, parenting-wise? 

Negotiation is defined as “mutual discussion and arrangement of the terms of a transaction or agreement.”  There’s give and take on both sides; a solution is reached that is amenable to both parties.  Perfect for a diplomatic process – say, a peace treaty.  In parenting young children?  Not so helpful. (more…)

 

Did Mary have varicose veins? June 13, 2009

Filed under: For moms,Mary,Pregnancy — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 4:47 am

FRBW0179I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus’ birth and the Bible’s telling of Mary’s pregnancy and delivery experience with him over the past few weeks.  I’m not sure exactly why this pregnancy, #3, would be the one to kick off this line of pondering rather than the previous two, but today I wondered if  maybe it has to do with my varicose and spider veins.  I got them a little in pregnancy #1; they came out a little more in pregnancy #2; this time around they’re really glaring. I remember being a little girl and noticing that my mom’s legs did not look…  well, like other people’s legs (no offense Mom), and now I see those same legs gradually emerging in my own.

It made me think: did Mary have varicose veins?  Or stretch marks, perhaps?  What a bizarre paradox to be Mary, carrying in her womb the infant – the “second Adam” – who would reverse the curse brought on to us by our first parents…  And yet do so under the very curse that Eve accrued for herself and all womankind after her, the challenges and mars of childbearing.  Even she, carrying the child who would wipe out the curse, still labored (literally) under it. (more…)

 

Facing my inner mom hypocrite June 10, 2009

Filed under: For moms,The heart — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 3:07 am

OBJ058Last week Crystal left a provocative comment on my “Mama’s Smile” post about smiling at one’s children every time they approached you.  “I would love if there was an update on this (will you be trying this?) just to see how doable it is and how it affects our environment, relationships, mood, etc.” At her prompting, I decided to undertake the endeavor and commit to spending a week intentionally doing this.  Here’s what I learned: I stink at it.

It wasn’t that I forgot that I was supposed to be smiling at my kids when they approached me and then realized at the end of the day that I hadn’t.  No, I remembered alright…  I just didn’t smile all that much anyway.  When I was having a good day or feeling pleasant, I did it just fine.  But when I wasn’t, I found that it was really hard to force myself to smile at them.  It just felt so fake.  At times I didn’t feel like it and found I couldn’t  muster up the effort to actually follow through on the thought. (more…)

 

Honor vs. whining June 6, 2009

Filed under: Behaviors,Books,Communication and speech,Parenting — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 9:45 pm

honorcdMy latest post for the Christianity Today women’s leadership website I write for, Gifted for Leadership, just came out.  Called “Leading in a Complaining Culture,” its impetus is taken from a topic that all of us moms are abundantly familiar with: whining.   A complaining spirits evidenced in spoken communication – happening today in a household near you!  Or perhaps in your very own (certainly in mine).

My friend Jo Ella spurred the thinking behind the post, and her thoughts came partially from her review of a book called Say Good-Bye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes: in You and Your KidsIt discusses honor as a central component of parenting and asserts that it can be used as an agent to transform relationships among family members.  One review says:

“Honor is more than just behavior change. Honor comes from the heart. It affects the way people think, the way they act, and the way they treat others around them. Honor motivates parents to treat children differently. It gives children more constructive ways to interact with their parents. It helps siblings develop tolerance and patience. Honor builds incredibly strong bonds that, in turn, benefit all members of the family. This book shows you in practical ways how honor can transform your family.”

Sounds pretty interesting and potentially useful…  If and when I get my hands on it, I’ll post a review!

 

Part-time working mom reflections, part III June 4, 2009

Filed under: For moms,Household,Mothering role,Parenting — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 1:35 am

001c0205llThis is the third in a series of posts reflecting on life and child-rearing as a part-time, work-from-home mother. (See Part I and/or Part II)

In this post I discuss some primary issues I ponder and pray through when considering my part-time work alongside mothering my preschoolers.

–Money.  Many women who work for compensation do so because their family finances require it (I am one).  If God calls me to lay down my consulting work to focus exclusively on mothering, I’ll do so knowing He’ll provide an alternate way to meet our financial needs…  a different source of income, downsizing in housing, life simplification, something.  I’d want to avoid continuing to work while knowing it was the wrong decision for the overall health of our household – for my capacity to mother our kids the way I felt God desired, our family life, my marriage, my soul.  I’d hate doing it in a faithless way, knowing it wasn’t God’s plan for our family but feeling trapped.  For some, the money can actually distract from the core issues.  Several mom friends of mine earn an income sizable enough in their part-time work that it seems ludicrous to give it up (even if they can afford to do so).  Commenters call them crazy for even considering it – “the money’s so good and the schedule’s not too bad; surely it’s smartest to stay with it and make it work.”  Trouble is – what if the marriage, the children’s well-being, the mom’s soul are suffering?  What if God isn’t in it, despite the money?  (more…)

 

Part-time working mom reflections, part II June 3, 2009

Filed under: Books,Culture,For moms,Mothering role,Parenting — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 4:42 am

001c0205llThis is the second in a series of posts reflecting on life and child-rearing as a part-time, work-from-home mother. (See Part I and/or Part III for more)

Some moms who stop working when, or shortly after, they become moms feel lost and untethered… as if they’ve given up their gifts, identities, even themselves (their true selves – go here for more on this).  Conversely, many moms continue working in a part-time capacity that’s seemingly manageable alongside childrearing tasks – and become stressed, stretched, and overwhelmed trying to do it all.  I’ve seen, and can personally relate to, mothers in each scenario.  Both, as I see it, are negative and outside of the design God has for us as women and mothers.

My observation (and this relates more to the second scenario above than the first) is that distractedness and a lifestyle of hurry are two of the most pervasive – and most damaging – aspects of American society today.  These plunder our spirits and rob our clarity and joy more than almost anything else in modern life.  And they are routinely found in moms of young children, especially those who mother and also work part-time.  Distractedness and hurry are normalized and even expected in our society to the point of being routine- as is the notion that individuals (moms among them) can effectively accomplish as many tasks as they choose to as long as circumstances and childcare permit it.  (more…)