Sandra writes: My room this year is filled to the brim with two-year olds. Over the next year they will be transitioning from diapers to underwear and parents have begun asking about the right time to begin potty-training and how to do it.
I was a young mom of three small children, sometimes overwhelmed and always worried. Would the aunts and uncles leave the house on Christmas and say, “God, those kids are brats?" Would you grow up to be polite, friendly, and considerate human beings? As a stay-at-home mom, my street cred depended on it so with every gift received, with every piece of birthday cake cut for you, with every kindness offered to you, I demanded a show of gratitude.
You may wish to dialogue with the Angel of your child (or of someone else with whom you have a conflict or for whom you are concerned) to gain guidance. This exercise gives suggestions for how to approach the Angel of another person and engage in a continuing dialogue.
This Self & Child Observation and Imagination Exercise is divided into two parts. The first part involves reflection and writing to foster imaginative thinking. You may do the first part as a means towards greater imagination in your relationship with your child and stop there. The first part is also the preparation for the second part, which involves drawing and creative writing. The second part should enhance and deepen your imaginative thinking in parenting.
For Part 1 you will need a few pages of writing paper and a pen or pencil. For Parts 1 and 2 you will need several pages of writing paper, a pen, a piece of unlined drawing paper and some beeswax crayons or other art media.
May wisdom shine through me
May love glow within me
May strength penetrate me
That in me might arise
Spring Cleaning with Mothering Arts By Kerry Ingram
Spring is coming! Spring fever, spring babies and spring cleaning. This is my favorite time of year to create space for new growth and freshness by clearing clutter and getting the house in order.
A Traditional Folk Rhyme invites us to simplify the work that is done in our home to one task each day. Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, Churn on Thursday, Clean on Friday, Bake on Saturday, Rest on Sunday. Though some of the activities may sound dated, the idea of doing a little each day is quite revolutionary! In our multi-tasking culture this old rhyme offers order, simplicity, focus and freedom woven into a weekly rhythm of home care.
Mara writes: As a tired, busy mama of three kids, six years and under, who often finds herself out of the present moment, it is easy for me to get caught up in what’s going wrong, what I’m not able to do, and how tough parenthood is. In these moments, I admit that sometimes life gets the best of me. Given all that life has handed me in the past two months, it would be understandable to throw in the towel, turn on the TV, and let the kids run amok (more to come on that in a bit). Yet, then a blessing occurs, a tiny miracle happens, and my perspective shifts from what I don’t have and what is “wrong” with my life to what I have right in front of me and all that God has blessed me with. It isn’t a picture-perfect life, but rather a perfectly imperfect one.
Mary writes: I am kneading dough and lost in thought. It is our last supper. Our youngest child is leaving for college in the morning and has requested homemade pizza for her last dinner at home. As she heads upstairs to pack up the final boxes, I work the dough, wondering whether she has learned everything she needs to know before she heads out into the world, hoping she’ll meet people who are kind to her and who appreciate her for the unique and spirited person she is.
It’s funny, I remember as I add a little more flour to the dough, I was worried about these same things eighteen years ago when we sent our first child off to kindergarten. Was he ready? Would the world outside our home receive him with kindness? Some things never change, I guess. At each transition for all three of my children, I have fretted over the same things.
“Our phones are now indelibly bound up with our aesthetic souls.
And today, both are always on.” Robert Capps, WIRED
A couple of years ago, my husband asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day. I told him that all I wanted was to wake up in a tidy house and go to bed at night in a tidy house and that I did not want to clean on that particular Sunday. He looked at me and said, “Can't I just get you a smart phone?” “No thanks,” I laughed, “I don't need a distraction in my pocket.” Honestly, I was never really attracted to the device. I learned to like my simple, small flip phone that made calls and received calls and not much more.
Jennifer writes: A few weeks ago during a visit to my parents’ home, my oldest daughter was working contentedly with her Opa. I was on the phone at the end of the driveway, when suddenly she walked towards me. Making eye contact only briefly, she paraded past me with her chin up and a grin on her lips. She defiantly walked down the sidewalk away from the house never so much as glancing towards me—and I let her go. I let her go to see how far she needed to go.
I haven’t written an article in several weeks, and I have been blaming a writer’s block; I know exactly what I want to say and yet cannot seem to find the words. Several days ago, however, I admitted the unspoken truth: I am burned out. There, I said it (actually, I just got off a bit easier, since I wrote it…). It is difficult for me to admit when I am in need of a break from my children. Actually, I think that may have been one of only three times ever. Ugh, I can barely even write that sentence. What a horrible thing to say when I am so head-over-heels in love with each of them! However, I need to remember that it is not really about taking a break from them, but rather, taking some time for myself. After giving so much of ourselves, each and every one of us needs time to invest in some good ol’ self-care.
I didn’t even know I had it until someone at my LifeWays training mentioned they had caught it when their children were born. C.H.A.O.S., or “Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome” is brought on immediately following the birth of your children. You will find your once semi-orderly home slowly becoming untidy, dusty, and in need of some serious TLC. This all goes unnoticed or, let’s be honest, ignored until someone decides to visit. Then there is no time to spare and you create a fury while you sweep through the house grabbing one baby sock here, dirty dishes there, an old banana peel under the dresser… don’t forget to wipe down the toilet and the bathroom sink because they may just ask to use it…and finally throw everything extra into one bedroom and shut the door. Phew. And that’s if it’s planned. If a neighbor happens to knock and want to share
Several months ago, I repeated something I had been saying to myself for years: “When my oldest, Lucy, is 5, she will be in school and life will be so different.” That’s when I realized, “Hey, wait a minute! She will be 5 this year!” Ever since then, I have felt I have been trying to catch up and wrap my head around the fact that my baby has grown up.
This piece, taken from Jennifer's 2013 LifeWays paper on "Becoming Worthy of Imitation," is the last of three installments.
The Language of Technology
This piece, taken from Jennifer's 2013 LifeWays paper, is the second of three installments:
Becoming Worthy of Imitation
Looking into a child’s beautiful face, one realizes the responsibility that comes with the role of caregiver. It is a mighty thought to conceive: You, with all of your essence, have the power to alter and shape a life with your thoughts, gestures, voice, and sound. That is quite a bit to carry with you every moment of every day as we deal with life’s stresses and find ourselves deep in the future instead of living in the moment. What can we do with this power? How can we change if we find ourselves not who we want to be right now?
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