Motherly Advice

With another new baby at home, I’ve been thinking again over some of the parenting advice that I’ve received, especially from both my mom and my mother-in-law.  I am so blessed to have these two amazing older women in my life who both love God and have always loved their kids and raised them with the utmost of care. I couldn’t be more grateful for their examples to follow! Some of the most influential things that I’ve learned (or have been trying to learn) about parenting, apart from what I’ve learned from God’s word, have come from these amazing women.

One such piece of advice my mom shared with me at my first baby shower. There was a little game where everyone was given the chance to write one parenting tip on a piece of paper to share with me. My mom’s slip of paper read, “Try not to say ‘no.'” By this she didn’t mean to permit bad behavior and let my kids get away with anything that they want, but she meant not to say “no” to things just because they were inconvenient for me or seemed like silly ideas. These words come to mind quite often, like when the kids are on the playground and I’m resting leisurely on the bench and my kids ask if we can play “chase,” or the times when we’re playing nice tidy games at home and then they get the grand idea that they want to finger paint or bake something messy in the kitchen, or when my son wants to wear his rain boots, a favorite shirt that is too small, and a pair of mis-matching pants on our morning walk as opposed to the cute and coordinated outfit that I picked out for him. My first tendency often is to say “no” to things like this just because they aren’t convenient for me, or because I wonder what other people will think, but I always have to ask myself the question, “Why would I say no?” If I don’t have a good answer, why not let my kids be kids and have fun, and join in on it with them as much as possible?!

Another valued piece of advice comes from my mother-in-law, and rather than a piece of verbal advice , it is something that I have observed both in her own every day life and especially in her interactions with her grand kids. Nana, as we call her, has an amazing talent for finding wonder in the small things. It is easy for me to go on a walk at a slightly hurried pace with the objective of getting from point A to point B, but with Nana, there is too much to admire and explore to do such things with haste. There are curbs and large rocks for the purpose of jumping off of, there are flowers for smelling and petal-counting, there are bugs to admire, and birds to watch and chase, there are rocks of different colors to sort, and pine cones to collect… Almost any otherwise boring task can be made interesting and full of opportunities for learning with Nana. This is not something that always comes naturally to me who is more prone to want to accomplish tasks. But the truth is that so much is being accomplished when I take time to wonder at the Lord’s creation with my children and to teach them to appreciate the wonder of this world.

What are some of the pieces of advice that have been passed along to you that have influenced how you parent, or how you would like to parent?

(Post by: Ashley)


4 Responses to “Motherly Advice”

  1. 1 laura@life overseas November 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I’ve gotten lots of useful advice over the years–and I am learning that it is so good for me to keep asking for it. I’ve heard things like:

    -stay connected overseas with other missionaries–pursue community

    -by the age of five your kids need to know only two things:

    that they are loved unconditionally and that they are not in control.

    Love both of those encouragements!

  2. 2 Shilo November 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I think one of the most encouraging things anyone ever told me was that I am the perfect mother for my child because GOD chose ME specifically to be his mother. At times when I make mistakes or just lack wisdom, it gives me confidence to know that God Himself will forgive and empower me to do that which He has called me to for the good of my child and for His own glory.

  3. 3 Val November 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I’ve been greatly encouraged by this website! As a military wife and mother of three, I’ve learned so much from older, wiser, godly women. Several years ago, a friend encouraged me to remember that each child is unique, and to look for ways to celebrate their individual strengths and personalities. As our family copes with deployments and frequent moves, I’m thankful for God’s patience with me. It inspires me to extend that same patience to my children. I recently explored the idea of “saying no” on my blog. Thanks, Val

  4. 4 richelle November 2, 2010 at 4:41 am

    i’ve found this to not only be important in parenting, but in life in general… and kind of relates to the “trying not to say no” idea. one of the best pieces of advice i received was not to make everything a battle – and to choose the ones i wanted to fight wisely. as much as possible, i leave decisions in my children’s hands ~ and try to only step in when they demonstrate consistently that they are not ready to handle a particular responsiblity… or when their lack of wisdom and experience could result in injury… this allows me to say “yes” or “what do you think?/what should you decide?” more often than “no,” and also allows consequences to be the natural teacher so that I don’t always end up looking like the bad guy in the eyes of my children.

    of course, many times, i have to resist the “i told you so… why didn’t you listen to me,” temptation as they work through their consequences~ when in reality, if left alone, they’ll often come to me and say, “mom, you WERE right!”

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