By Malissa Custer
Proverbs 19:20- “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.”
Recently, a friend asked me for input. A seasoned mom brought a thought to her concerning her child. Hard to swallow, yes. A blow to her pride, I’m sure. A lot to think about, absolutely. She was asking for perspective from me. Have I seen this in her child? She was digging in to the problem to work her way through it. She had stated that she felt a lot of pressure from those around her about it at times, as well. I thought that was interesting.
Have you ever been in a situation with people, and you feel their opinion on you? Maybe it’s in the nursery, restaurant, or a play date. Your child is doing something, and you can actually know the person’s opinion just by their body language or vibes? It makes me feel awful. It makes me feel insecure. Sometimes it makes me want to react in anger to the child, because of my pride. It’s not all negative, though. In those situations, I’m being forced to see my child as others see him or her. Now, sometimes I can brush off those feelings and hit “reset,” because the people giving off the vibes are wrong. (Like if I am on a plane and the travelers around me are annoyed, rolling their eyes, and sighing big about having to sit near me and all my monkeys.) I just hold my head high, sit down, and do my best with the situation at hand. Truly, though, over all, I think it is a positive thing to evaluate those situations and consider listening to those around you to see a side you don’t see. After all, do you think you know everything about your child? Do you think your child is perfect? Do you think you have nothing left to learn as a mom? The obvious answer is no.
I’m thankful for our large peer group at the church, where most everyone is focused on raising kids the Bible way. I like the fact that disobedient children are frowned upon. We all want the same thing, after all: to raise these kids so “when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Take a minute to consider situations with your kids that you do not like, or which you avoid because of these feelings. You know what I’m talking about, we’ve all experienced it. Why are those vibes present? What is going on? Think through those situations, and see if it is something you need to change. Obviously, some situations can simply be discarded from your mind, but others can be used to show you a problem with your child that needs work.
I can admire this mom friend of mine. She was made aware of a problem; she thought it through; she asked advice from her peers and other seasoned moms; then, she put in the work to resolve the issue. Don’t let your pride stand in the way of resolving a problem your child has. God works through all sorts of situations to help us parent. Don’t miss the opportunity.
Once a Mom Always a Mom
By Barbara Russell
Three years after my husband and I were married, I gave birth to our first child. As we dedicated him to the Lord, we agreed that even if it was 25 years before we no longer had children living in our home, we were going to put our wants on hold, so we could dedicate all our time and resources to our children. Ironically, it was 25 years and 9 days, before we became “empty nesters.”
Just so I’m not misunderstood, although your children need you, and at times your relationship with your husband may need to be put on “the back burner,” this does not mean you let the flame stop burning! Remember to plan those “special times” with your husband to keep the flame alive! He needs you, too. This month, my husband and I are celebrating our 33rd anniversary, and I am so thankful we didn’t allow our flame to burn out!
Those 25 years of raising children really did go by quickly. Within three years all my children had graduated from high school. The night my youngest graduated, I was so excited that my home- schooling days were over, and a new normal was about to begin! But 3 days later, my dad passed on to be with the Lord, changing all our lives forever!
What was I supposed to do now? I had longed for the day when I would be finished home- schooling, but when the new school year came around, there was such emptiness. Not only did I no longer have my dad, but my 14 year “career” was over. My mom, siblings, and all our families were still trying to learn how to live without “Grandpa”.
The next few years felt like a whirlwind. We started to have one child after another get married, and begin having children of their own. Within 6 years, I gained 2 daughters-in-law, a son-in-law, and 5 grandchildren. I was working 2 part time jobs and felt like I was meeting myself coming and going.
Wow! This was not how I imagined my life was going to be after 25 years of raising children! Little did I realize that “once a mom, always a mom.” My title didn’t end simply because my children left home. I should have realized that from my own parents, who never stopped being there for us kids, as well as grandkids.
Every year, my parents would have one grandchild at a time stay over for the weekend, so that child could feel special. Each grandchild got to pick out their restaurant of choice for one meal, and then grandma took them to the store to pick out breakfast, lunch, and supper for the other days; and of course, all those special treats!
They LOVED their ‘special weekends’ and looked forward to every one of them! One grandchild asked how old he had to be when his special weekends would stop. Grandpa and Grandma quickly replied, “You can come with your wife!” With a big smile, he was assured that his special weekends would never end!
Sadly, Grandpa never got to meet any of their spouses, but Grandma never stopped being there for her grandchildren and now GREATgrandchildren! Was life always easy for her? Did she feel like going on with life after Grandpa died? Both answers are an absolute NO! But she is one lady that all her family “…arise up, and call her blessed”.
As mothers and grandmothers, we certainly reap what we sow. My mom can’t get around as well as she used to, so guess what? All of her kids and the grandkids that live close take turns going over and helping her with projects that she can no longer accomplish herself. She invested in all of our lives, and now she reaps the fruit of her labor.
I love how Malissa often ends her articles, “NO REGRETS.” That should be the desire of every mother. Days are filled with choices; days turn into years, and years become a lifetime. Our adult children may not always make the spiritual decisions that we desire for them, but while they are still under our authority, we should train them so that when we look back on our life, we can honestly say, “I gave my all; I did my best with the wisdom I was given, and I have no regrets.”
One Sunday evening after church, while watching my grandkids play, I realized that several of the ladies around me were also grandmas. It brought happy tears and a smile to my face because not too many years ago these same ladies and I were watching our children play. We had no idea that one day we would be so privileged to be watching our grandchildren play together!
You may think that you can’t wait for the day when all your children leave home, but trust me, they may leave your home, but they never leave your heart! Once a mom, always a mom. And grandma is even better!
Paul wrote to Timothy, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” Plan on being a mom for a lifetime! Your sphere of influence never ends.