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Parenting

The Adventure of Raising Boys

On Mondays I share my musings on Motherhood or Marriage. Today’s post is about Motherhood.

Adventure of raising boys

I remember how anxious and afraid I was when I found out we were having twin boys.  I had always  dreamed of having children and our infertility struggles seemed to magnify both my desire to become a mother and my determination to be the best mom that I could be.

I worried aloud (frequently) to the Road Warrior how a ‘girly girl’ could raise boys.  What about all those nursery rhymes I longed to recite and the crafts I imagined us doing?  Could you do those things with boys?

He assured me I could. But quite honestly I had my doubts.

I was fearful, didn’t play sports and wasn’t particularly adventurous.  Three traits I was convinced would make me an epic failure as a mother to boys.

When I think back to that time, I have to laugh at myself.  In the Ten things I’ve learned after 10 Years of Motherhood, I shared that I now believe anyone can be a Boy Mom.  I’m certainly proof of that.

As their Mother I definitely don’t try to become their Dad, but I do try to be open to exploring their interests with them and supporting them in their ‘boyish’ pursuits.  Pursuits which have surprisingly now become family pursuits that include their sisters.

Raising Boys has been an exciting adventure and while I still get nervous, I’ve learned that by not always holding them back, I expand my horizons as well.

Their sense of adventure has unleashed my own and taught me a lot about myself in the process.

I’m stronger/tougher than I thought.

Rifle Range

and  I’m a pretty good shot.

 

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For my daughter: On the Occasion of her 8th Birthday

Today is my first daughter’s 8th Birthday.

Her birthday request today was that Mommy ‘not work’ and just ‘have fun’ with her today.

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From the moment this child entered my life my world changed.

My heart grew and I continue to stand in amazement of what she has taught me through the gift of being her mother.

 

An Open Letter to my Daughter on the Occasion of her 8th Birthday

Dear Posey,

This morning I got up extra early to do the last of my ‘Mommy Work’ before I devote the rest of my day to you and whatever you want to do.

Truth be told, my entire life is devoted to being your mother (and the mother of your siblings) and I’m sorry that it doesn’t always look that way.

Sometimes I forget that 8 year old girls don’t care if the house is perfectly organized or if dinner is Pinterest worthy.

You look around and you see your homeThe place where your family is. 

I look around and see projects and tasks.

You wait patiently for your mother to just play with you. Or ‘have fun’.

I wait for the list to get done before I allow myself to play…and it never seems to get done.

 

I hope when you’re a mother you’ll do it better than me.

I hope you’ll remember what it feels like to be EIGHT and just want your Mama to have fun.

But I’m not taking any chances on you forgetting.

I’m going to start modeling that for you.

Starting today, and every day you’ll want to be with me.

Happy Birthday, my love.

Mommy

 

 

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My 2 Greatest Achievements as a Mother (so far)

On Mondays I blog about Marriage or Motherhood. Since I have 5 children and only 1 husband,  I mostly blog about Motherhood.

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Motherhood isn’t a job that gives you instant gratification.

For the most part, most of what you say, do, and instill in your children won’t really matter until they leave your nest.  This can be hard, especially on the hardest days when you feel no one is listening as you repeat yourself for the tenth (thousandth) time.

On those days I choose to focus on what I call milestone achievements.

While society would tell me that my ‘work’ doesn’t matter or that it isn’t a worthy enough contribution to society or womanhood, I focus on the buds sprouting in the lives of my family and our children.

My two greatest achievements as a mother

 

1. My children have a love of reading

Love of Books

I taught our four oldest children to read.  I witnessed the first words and the first book they’ve ever read on their own and I feel blessed to have done so.

There isn’t a day that goes by that they cannot be found reading, or a night that we don’t have to turn off the lights and pry the books out of their hands.

All those nights I read to them, when it would have been so much easier just to tuck them into bed. It wasn’t in vain.

2. My Children are Friends

Kids in pool

People from large families always say what a gift it is to be from a large family.  That there is nothing like the holidays with a roomful of siblings.  But that’s taking for-granted that the siblings all get along.  Not all families are close-knit.

Not all siblings get along.

I love that our children are friends. They actually like each other.  I might even venture to say that more often than not, they prefer one another.

When the Road Warrior and I became parents it was important to us that our children were close.  When we are gone from this earth they will still have each other.

We decided to be intentional about this goal, instead of just hoping for the best.  We felt the way to do this was to not play favorites.  Neither of us has a favorite child. 

When parents play favorites they allow seeds of resentment to grow in the heart(s) of the unfavored as they compete for attention or praise.  We make sure our kids never feel they are in competition with one another.

We don’t encourage or condone them tattling on one another.  We don’t compare them to one another.

We give them room to like each other.

While our children certainly have outside friendships, it’s true they spend the majority of time with each other.  This is mostly because they are homeschooled, but whenever I hear criticism about this fact, I think the same thing:  You could do a lot worse than having your brother or sister be your best friend in this life.

 

What would you say are your two greatest achievements as a mother?

 

 

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When Boys Pull Away from their Mother

On Mondays I blog primarily about Motherhood or Marriage.  This post is part of my Motherhood series.

Tortoise Transport

Our twin boys are about to turn ten.  In some ways I can hardly imagine that I’ve been Mothering them for ten years.

In other ways, I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t their Mother.

My first-borns.

My initiation into Motherhood.

My Double Portion Blessing.

 

I had heard that boys eventually begin pulling away from their mother around this age.

While I heard the words, I didn’t think they would apply to me.

I homeschool them.

I go on adventures with them.

I am the one primarily home with them.

How could they pull away from me?

 

It started slowly of course.

One son began stiffening when I touched his shoulder in public.

Another made his hand a limp noodle when I grabbed it in the parking lot one day.

With 5 sets of hands I usually defer to the smallest 2 so I hadn’t honestly noticed that last one for awhile.

Although it stung a bit, I could still laugh about it.

 

Then there was that time at Universal Studios.  We were all laughing and I was proud of myself for going on the Spider Man Ride 3 times without complaining or getting sick.

Looking for affirmation I asked them if they were having a good time.

 ”Yeah, but I wish Daddy was here.”

And I told myself that was okay, because didn’t I wish Daddy was here too?

 

But now we are drifting into new territory.

A territory where they have begun to ignore me, sigh, resist my authority, and most hurtful of all, save their stories for  just Daddy.

Where they used to tell me things and ask me questions, they now only value the answers their Father holds for them.

In their quest to become young men they have realized that he is the one better equipped to teach them about what it is to truly be a man.

And though it stings I’m glad I married well.

I am glad a married a man worthy of the honor and task of teaching my precious sons how to be men.

It hurts, I won’t lie.

Meanwhile,  I’ll be not-so-patiently waiting for the pendulum to swing in the opposite direction, when I’m told at 18 or 19 they’ll once again seek out their mother.

If only for a home-cooked meal and a clean bag of laundry.

I’ll take it.

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Family Time Traditions: Creating Intentional Family Meal Times

 

When I was growing up we always ate dinner together as a family, every night.  We didn’t call it Family Dinner Night. It just was.  Times have changed now and families rarely are on the same schedule.    Since the Road Warrior travels frequently for business, eating together as a complete family is not a nightly occurrence.  Even for families who are blessed to dine together nightly, the time is often wasted due to  the hustle and bustle of busy schedules.  Little time is spent savoring the meal, much-less the company.  It’s human nature to take our time together for-granted.  To allow life to distract us from living.  it doesn’t have to be this way of course. Not if we are intentional about our time together as a family.

 

Ideas for creating intentional moments during Family Meals:

Make it your own.  If your schedule doesn’t allow for a nightly family dinner, what about breakfast? If eating together nightly isn’t a possibility what about weekends?

Make it a Family Affair.  Involve your children in setting the table or preparing  the meal.  If you have more than one child consider having a different child help you in preparation each day/night.  This will allow some special one-on-one time before the meal.

Make it an occasion.  Instead of just going through the motions of dishing out the next meal, make it special.  Set the table.  Eat in the dining room.  Use cloth napkins.  Play relaxing music in the background (and turn off the TV).

Practice the art of Conversation.  Conversation starters could include: a discussion of highs and lows.  What was the high point of your day and what was the low?  Encourage everyone (even the smallest child) to share something that they learned, did or thought about that day.  Ask questions:  If you could have any super power what would it be?  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?  Don’t ask the usual questions.

Create Meal Traditions. By marking a special day with a favorite family meal you not only create a tradition, but something to look forward to throughout the week.  Consider having Taco Tuesday, Pot Luck Sunday, Pizza on Friday, Sunday Brunch,  etc.

Be present.  Take it all in.   Don’t answer the phone or door.   Don’t think about what you have to do next.  Look at what you have now. You will never regret the time you spent with your family enjoying a meal together.

Challenge:

Would you like to be more intentional with your family meal time?  This week I challenge you to make a change.  Start with one meal and incorporate the ideas above.  Then make a commitment to keep it up for 1 month.  You can do it. I know you can.

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