Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

Responding to defiance: progress January 30, 2011

Filed under: Correction,For moms,The heart,Training — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:54 pm

Early this month my sister and her family were in town, and we spent a wonderful week together with our combined five children under age 6.  Her daughters are, like mine, ages 3 and 1 – just slightly younger versions.

Our 3-year old is strong-willed and extremely stubborn. Sometimes she amazes me in her sheer longevity in rebelliousness. I wonder: isn’t she exhausted from all this resistance, kept up for so long? (I know I am.)  The girl is wired to stick to her guns at all costs, even when experience shows that she will not prevail in defiance.

During her visit my sister witnessed several instances in which my daughter was very defiant in an outwardly rude way; two in particular stick out. After the second my sister commented on my response to my daughter’s rather outrageous behavior – that I’d addressed her calmly and not gotten riled up as I worked with her till she relented and apologized.  “I would have been so angry at behavior like that if I were in your shoes!” she said. Her tone was honest, earnest, no hidden message or criticism.

I felt two simultaneous responses, conflicting ones.  One was: I guess I’m making progress if I can calmly work with my daughter through her misbehavior without having it overly inflame my emotions and ruin my day. The second was: wow, she really is that rude and defiant at times, even after having corrected her for months and years on these issues. Shouldn’t she be getting past this by now? Am I doing something wrong in my training – misapplying my methods, perhaps, or lacking consistency or thoroughness in them? (more…)

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Owning my messiness January 22, 2011

Filed under: Behaviors,Books,Household — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 12:57 am

I come across as a pretty organized person; in many ways I am, in fact, quite organized. I stay reasonably up-to-date on my email correspondence and purge my inbox every week or two. My computer files are in decent working shape. My calendar is under control. I keep photos current within three months. I spearhead things like playgroup and Bible study and send out weekly reminders to the participant list. Thus I present the aura of being fairly organized. In fact, I’d say that I even lead myself to believe that I’m pretty orderly. And because I’m a productive person and fast-moving, my administrative shortcomings are not immediately obvious.

But the truth of the matter, I’ve been realizing in the past year or two, is that I’m organized with things I care about… but far from organized about things that aren’t of high personal importance to me. Homemaking efforts, closet orderliness, kitchen maintenance and the like have not traditionally ranked high on my priority list. My attempts starting eighteen months ago to adopt homeward diligence have begun moving me toward change.

A few months ago a friend lent me a book she’d found useful called The New Messies Manual: the Procrastinator’s Guide to Good Housekeeping by Sandra Felton. I wouldn’t have called myself a procrastinator before reading the book, but lo and behold, I see that in the home-making arena, I am one. I’m a “messie” – a moderate one, but a messie nonetheless. And when it comes to staying on top of household clutter, I can definitely procrastinate with the best of them. Through the book I’ve learned a lot about myself and some of my at-home tendencies. (more…)

 

Month in review January 10, 2011

Filed under: Blogging,Holidays,Mary,Materialism and entitlement — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 6:31 am

Over the past month we have…

…Been privileged to spend a week across the country, visiting with my husband’s elderly grandfather during what turned out to be the final month of his life.B He died ten days after we left.  It was a gift, both for my husband and me, to know this man well and for our children to be the focus and delight of his countenance whenever we visited.  In his passing, my husband and I have discussed the gift of connection to the partriarchs of our families, and too we’ve discussed the import of Psalm 39:4: “Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.”  Even to a man of nearly 92 years, life on this earth must feel fleeting.  Thank you, Lord, that Grandpa is with you now.

…Spent our at-home Christmas abed with the stomach flu, which paid a visit to two of the five of us starting on Christmas Eve.  My churning stomach caused me to reflect on Mary and the real events of Jesus’ birth…  The first Christmas was, for her, much more similar to my laid-up and subdued holiday experience than anything that modern America puts on today by way of celebration.  Joy and wonder, yes, but also inconvenience, awkward circumstances she wouldn’t have chosen, and bodily pain.  I thought of Mary as I sat on the bathroom floor, thankful for the reminder to step away from the entitlement mindset that can often pervade the American Christmas experience (my own included) – the notion that the holiday ought to be special and warming and perfect. Mary’s wasn’t.

“While they were (in Bethlehem), the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

…Hosted my beloved sister and her family of four for a week over New Year’s, a few days after the stomach flu had moved on (all but one of us, it turned out).  We are very close, and it’s difficult to be across the country from her – as with my whole family – especially in this season of raising young children.  The week was a joy and also brought many ponderings about the realities and challenges of living far from family, about cousins being with cousins so seldom over the course of a year.  I thought, as I have so many times before, of Paul’s words to his dear brother Timothy: “I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.”

A full month, to be sure, and one in which the Lord’s words are as present and relevant as ever. Thank you Jesus for ever walking through this life with us and shining your light upon the paths our feet walk. May we be closer to you in this coming year than we were in the last.