Two weeks ago we began creating a list of “Advice We’ve Learned Along the Way.” A list of parenting advice we have learned, things we wish we had done differently, and pointers from others we are thankful we held firm to.
If you haven’t read the post or listened to the first podcast in this series, be sure to go back to receive the background info there.
Now on to tips #8-16…
▼ Jump to Listen to Episode #6: Advice We’ve Learned Along the Way, Part 2 ▼
Advice #8-11: Respect…
~ Respect Other Mommas
Matthew 22:37-39, “Jesus said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
One way we show love for God and others is to be respectful of moms who parent differently than we do.
Instead of jumping to conclusions about another mom, what would it look like to listen to their story? How are they struggling? What issues are making it difficult for them to be the mom they want to be?
We rarely know what’s going on behind closed doors. Being respectful of another mom by not following our human impulse to judge her can be a tangible and generous way to show her love.
~ Respect Other Homes and Ears
When we are invited into another mom’s home, we can instruct our children to be careful with her home’s belongings and toys, and only go into rooms that are allowed by the mom. One way we do this is by adopting the same rules as that family has while in their home. So, if the family doesn’t wear shoes in their home, I make sure our children take off their shoes – even if this is different than the expectations in our home. Of course, accidents happen! But, with a little bit of planning we can be proactive and respectful of someone’s home.
The same goes for when our kids cry. I think it’s one of our superpowers that as moms we can tune out our kids’ crying (to a certain extent!). But we need to remember that for others, our child’s crying is probably not pleasant. We can show respect for the people around us by quickly removing the child from the situation until she’s settled. Again, this is not a call to perfection, to having a child that never cries. But when around others, love your child well by soothing her AND love others well by doing it in a way that respects other’s ears.
~ Respect Begins at Home
We can’t expect our children to know how to behave outside our home if we haven’t put in the time and energy to teach them while still in our own home. If you expect your child to sit quietly during church, then begin practicing sitting and playing quietly for a few minutes at a time at home. Evaluate how you want your children to act in the grocery store. Then teach them using fun games at home, like Red Light, Green Light (Stop/Go) or Simon Says, which teach children to listen for instructions and then respond appropriately.
Check out ABCJesusLovesMe for more ideas on teaching obedience.
Advice #12-13: Evaluate…
~ Evaluate Your Behavior
Have you noticed that your mood or attitude can set the tone in your house? When my children were young, it amazed me how quickly the day went off the rails when I showed up with a grumpy heart. And the opposite was true too. When I was cheerful and willing to laugh at the hiccups that came up during the day, the whole crew had better dispositions as well. So, when you notice attitudes tanking, take a few moments to evaluate your own behavior.
~ Evaluate Your Sleep
Getting good sleep is such a challenge when you’re in the thick of raising littles. But we also know that you can only run on empty for so long. Eventually that check-engine light you’ve been ignoring is going to cause a major break down. Prioritizing quality sleep can go a long way to helping you be the mom you want to be.
Advice #14-16: Take Time…
~ Take Time for a Time Out
If we desire to truly take care of those around us, we must take a time out to care for ourselves.
But not in the way the world talks about it. In the current culture, moms are told that self-care means checking out of your life because you deserve the reward to not have to deal with “it.” This is not the self-care we mean.
Taking care of ourselves means getting regular exercise, quality sleep, eating healthy foods, drinking water. and more importantly, spending time with God and investing in godly relationships. In doing this, you will be empowered to live out your days with joy and purpose.
~ Take Time for Your Marriage
No matter the age of your children, eventually they will leave the nest. When they do, will you and your spouse be ready and excited about living together, just the two of you? Now is the time to invest in your marriage, not just to reap the benefits today but for your empty-nest marriage as well. Date each other, dream together, pray for and with one another. Be creative and have fun!
Read more marriage tips…
~ Take Time for Laughter
The final thought for this post is to take time to laugh. Provers 17:22 reminds us that “a cheerful heart is good medicine.” Being a mom is the most demanding thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also brought the most joy and laughter. I never want my kids to think following Jesus means being serious all the time or having a sour and grave disposition. Taking the time to laugh with my kids, my spouse, and my friends is good for my soul. And laughter lets my kids know that God wants them to enjoy life too!
Parenting and marriage advice that is in alignment with God and His will for us can be just the right thing to shake us out of our bad habits or stale routines. We are praying for you and your families as you seek the Lord and His ways for your family!
Discover more practical parenting advice in Episode #6!
Listen or read more on Part 3 of the Advice We’ve Learned Along the Way series.