Thank you for those who joined in the Faith in the Home Forum conversation last week! I really appreciate your input. I cannot wait to talk about motherhood and how we can overcome the societal pressures that draw us away from what is really important.
Here are a couple responses from Andrea and Jessica last week about intergenerational mentorship, dealing with doubts, and keeping your faith vibrant:
“We have been very intentional about making sure our kiddos have several people in the church to connect with in part by having high school kids and college kids babysit but also by allowing Kyrie to go on “play dates” with some of our young adults to the botanical gardens or a local museum. I hope that as she gets older she will have developed deep relationships with these “friends” at church.” – Jessica
I love Jessica’s input because she is allowing natural mentorship to take place from a young age with her daughter. I remember looking up to the high school and college age girls when I was young. I wanted to dress like them and act like them. Making sure your children have positive role models is huge!
You can read all of Andrea’s thoughts in the comments of the last forum, but here are a couple of her insightful thoughts:
“My kids are still too young. But in future, I’m totally fine with my kids expressing doubts as long as they never shut the door completely on Christianity. God will close and open doors. God will open our ears and eyes at unexpected times. God will work on our minds and hearts so profoundly as long as we read and strive to understand His Words. I may not be able to do anything but ultimately as long as they always consider Mathew 7:7-8 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
And in response to how she keeps her faith vibrant:
“By not giving up. By picking myself up and trying again…and again…and again. 2 Timothy 4:6-7 – “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. ” God’s Word is with me, his Holy Spirit dwells in me. I need to always go back to His Word to change my mind and heart and give me strength and courage! I need to strive to stay and finish the race! That’s keeping my faith.”
For this week’s discussion, I chose to focus on the topic of motherhood (since the vast majority of my readers are moms or will be someday. I believe one of our greatest callings as a mom is to strive to nurture faith in our children. But there are often so many demands and pressures pulling at us. After listening to a couple interviews with Meg Meeker, I found myself reflecting on my own journey in motherhood.
Please take time to reflect on these questions and share your responses in the comments. And, no, you do not have to answer all ten! You can pick and choose, or even just respond to one question. Also, feel free to discuss amongst yourselves in the comments–as long as you keep it civil! I will be checking in daily and responding as well.
Do you feel peer pressure as a mother to make sure your kids are keeping up? Is this something you have experienced or struggled with?
I hate to admit it, but it is something I occasionally struggle with. When other moms talk about all the things they are doing with their babies or how quickly they are learning or doing this or that, it is easy to fall into the comparison trap. When I do, I find myself putting more pressure on our daughter, which is unfair, unhealthy, and creates more frustration than anything else. Fortunately, I can say that over the past few months God has given me incredible peace. I know that she will learn and grow and develop just fine. I have no reason to compare or feel like she or I am less than. God made us. We are enough. Period.
How do you decide how many activities to let your children be involved in?
This isn’t an issue for us yet. Though there are times that our social calendar fills up a bit too much and we have to scale back for the sake of our daughter (and ourselves). Always being on the go can really disrupt our daughter’s routine and thus our ability to sleep and function. Though I love library time, some weeks we just don’t make it. Instead of feeling guilty, I have learned to be okay with it.
What is the condition of your soul? What are you doing to feed it?
This can be an intimidating question. I believe that in order to pass on an authentic faith to our children, we need to be walking with God. I try to weave into my day quiet time by taking a few minutes to read in the Bible and center my heart and mind. I am also growing in my prayer life, especially in praying over my husband and daughter. Some days I am better at taking the opportunities God gives me than others, but I am trying to look for opportunities to love others through acts of encouragement and service. As much as possible, I try to bring my daughter along or involve her. We want to live lives of love and service that reflect Jesus. We also try to spend Bible time together as a family. And just this week Mitch and I resumed reading in a spiritual living book together before bed.
Do you find that you are a better wife and mother when you get positive friend time outside of the house?
Yes, most of the time. The key here is “positive friend time”. I think we all fall into the trap of getting together with friends and complaining. And sometimes that is needed in order to know we are not the only ones with a teething baby boycotting sleep. But, we also need to make sure that encouragement is fundamental in our friendships. This is an area in which I am trying to grow. I am praying that God shows me how to be a better encourager.
Do you struggle with feeling like your value and validation as a mother comes from your children’s performance or successes?
Yes and no. (See first question). There are times I still struggle with this. But I know how harmful it can be. God has brought me great peace over this.
Are you afraid that your children will be deprived and fall behind their peers if you pull them from extracurricular activities?
If I am being honest, yes. I do fear that she could fall behind academically, athletically, musically, etc. But, I would much rather have a happy and healthy child than a super star athlete, student, or musician.
As a mom, do you feel the demands of perfectionism?
Yes. Especially as a stay-at-home mom, I feel like the unspoken expectations are lofty. And, most of the expectations I struggle with come from myself, not others. I thought I could be this perfect wife and mother with a clean home, thriving garden, delicious and healthy home-cooked meals, and time to read and craft, etc. Well, nice as those aspirations are, they are not reality. They cannot be reality. I still strive for many of those things, but I am slowly–painfully–learning to not let my success or failure in these areas define my worth.
How do you handle boredom with your children?
Well, I try to make sure that my daughter has the tools to be creative during free play and times when she may get bored. Her biggest struggle is that she always wants me to be playing with her. When I am trying to finish dishes or make a phone call, etc, there are times I cannot be engaged and playing with her. Lately, those moments of boredom have resulted in her exploring and imitating more. Now, she pulls out all my dish clothes and then stuffs them back in the drawer, she pulls down our (very durable) glass dishes and stacks and unstacks them over and over, she will sort the spoons in the dishwasher, and she plays with her dishes in her cabinet while I cook. She is learning to play/work alongside me, which I love–even though it does create quite the mess! And quite often she will go and pull down a book to look at–boredom for the win!
What season of life are you in?
I am in the season of young motherhood. I am learning to embrace a messy house, enjoy the quiet moments, and cherish the cuddles.
Do you struggle with the “should-do” thoughts? How do you combat those thoughts?
Well, let’s put it this way, when Meg Meeker talked about this in her interview, my husband just turned and looked at me like “Are you listening?” Ha! Yes, I do struggle with the “should-dos”. I would take advice on how to combat those thoughts–let me know in the comments. Some days I have to kick guilt to the curb and keep my checklist short: Is my daughter alive and healthy? If yes–success!
I have not read it yet, but after listening to her interviews, I cannot wait to get my hands on Meg Meeker’s book The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity.
***I realized last week that these forums are going to be endlessly long and overwhelming. So I am going to do responses one week and food for thought/resources/questions the next week. So this week, please just join in the conversation in the comments. And next week I will be sharing about and proposing questions about your prayer life and praying over your family.***
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