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When I look back, my memories are full of pain and sadness. My home life was not anything I want my children to experience. However, I’m grateful for people that God placed in my childhood for me to draw wisdom from. My mother definitely didn’t set a great example, so apart from the few outside influences I had, I’m pretty much starting from scratch on the mom thing.
Use the best examples from your childhood
I grew up down the street from a girl I now call my sister. Her mom is completely selfless. She is a single mom who slept on the couch so that her son and daughter could have their own rooms. Even though they didn’t have much, she had the ability to make Christmas look like they were royalty. She had her own children and yet treated my sister and me like we were her own. Even to the point of taking me into her house when I was seventeen when I finally found a way to escape my mom’s house.
My best friend through middle and high school’s mom, is an amazing Christian woman. She worked selflessly, and loved amazingly. She instilled the word of God in her home and her children. The way they love each other has left an impression on me for life.
My main goal with my children is of course for them to one day know the love of God that I know. But my second is for them to look back at their childhood and know they were loved deeply.
That their mommy and daddy did everything they could to enrich their lives with love and happy memories.
Does that mean that they’ll never experience disappointment in life or in us? Of course not. But I want them to be able to look back and smile, and want their children to have the same or even better experience.
My husband is a natural dad. He always knows what to do with our kids-how to play with them, how to build forts and wrestle and make cars go fast, etc. Me on the other hand… like I said, I’m working from scratch. I wasn’t allowed to play or be a child, and honestly when I became a teenager I loathed children!
That of course changed when I rededicated my life to Christ. But I’m just winging it. I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing! I pray for wisdom a lot. But in the back of my mind, I’m always thinking, what are they going to remember? On the days I fail, and I’m yelling and screaming at my kids, I think that I need to get it together before they are old enough to remember “crazy mom”. My oldest is five, I’m sure he’ll remember. And I’m currently working on what Lysa Turkheurst calls becoming “Unglued“.
I’m sure there are moms out there who have thought just like me, that you are becoming your mother. That it’s too hard to change, it’s too late to change, and there’s no point in changing. I know a lot of people who are disappointed in how they were raised. The good news is, how we act and how we raise our children is our choice. We can make changes, even if they are small, they can make a big impact on our children. Our children can look back and say that their parents truly loved them and did everything they could to show them they’re worth that love.
Here are some practical steps to change:
1. Find an area in your mothering that needs improvement and make “imperfect progress”.
I learned this term from the book Unglued. It basically means if you fail, get back up and keep trying to change. For a perfectionist like me, when I fail I feel like it’s impossible to change and so I give up. But imperfect progress releases me from the standards I set for myself.
2. Pray and ask God for help.
Help for change, help to see where you can improve. Pray for help with wisdom in your parenting. Pray for God to help you show His love to your children.
3. Ask your children what they need from you.
If you have older children ask them. Now I know this is not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of humbling to be able to ask a child where you need to improve as a parent. When they answer you, listen to them. It’s not easy for you, and I’m sure it won’t be easy for them. But imagine the walls it can break down in a parenting relationship, allowing them to be open with you. We spend a lot of time telling our children our expectations from them, our children need to be able to tell us what they need from us.
Ways to create special memories between you and each of your children
Are there traditions in your home?
Do you have the best spaghetti recipe to pass down to your children?
Is there something special and intimate that you’ve created between you and your child that only you two share? I have a special kiss with my children. For Cameron, he kisses me on each cheek and then we have an Eskimo kiss. For Alexander, we rub our cheeks. Sarai is too young but we’ll figure something out.
Can you think of something special you have with your child/children?
If not that’s ok. There’s always time add something special.
Is there time to take your child on a special date? Or create a picnic at a park?
What does your child love to do and how can you become involved? I once heard about a father and daughter who had a distant relationship. She was in high school and got up early every morning to go running to train for track. He decided he would go running every morning with her. They didn’t even talk during their run, but it strengthened their bond and it’s something that left a lasting impression on his daughter.
There are endless possibilities to make sure that their childhood leaves a lasting impression. Try your best to draw on memories you have of your childhood that made you feel loved. If your mothering needs improvement take practical steps to change the dynamic of your relationship with your child. Create new special memories between you and your children. When our children look back at their childhood let’s let it be filled with love and joy.
What are ways that you create a great childhood in your home?
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