Tag Archive | parenting what to do

Free Yourself From The Fear of Making a Mistake

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Freedom From the Fear of Making a Mistake

When I became a mom, I was so afraid of making mistakes: Mismeasuring the cough medicine, using the wrong discipline technique, saying or doing something that would harm or cause permanent damage. These things made mothering a nerve-wracking job until I got tired of my anxiety and learned to chill. I want to share some of my conclusions. Hopefully, you’ll find a nugget here that will help you be more relaxed too.

 

 

  1. You’ve made it so far. Before you became a mom, chances are you didn’t make mistakes that caused yourself permanent damage or harm. You fed and clothed yourself. You were in tune with your needs and did what you needed to do to live life. When you didn’t have what you needed, you sought out helpful resources.  You will use the same characteristics —such as resourcefulness, common sense, and asking for help — when raising your own kids.
  2. Most of the mishaps we worry about never happen. You’ve probably heard about the studies that show that 90% of what we worry about never happens. And the remaining 10% are things we can’t control anyway. So loosen up. Most of the mistakes we think we might make never happen.
  3. Accept that you’re human. Okay, so let’s face it, we all have and will make mistakes. Even those moms who seem to have it all together make mistakes. And if they’re honest, they’ll tell you so themselves. Look, being a mother means on the job training. Sure, you can read books and many are helpful. But the truth is that the real learning happens between 6:00 p.m. colic and trying to find your place on the shifting sands of the teen years.
  4. You’re not alone. For real time: we’re all afraid of something. There’s power against fear when we ban together. So make sure you’re hanging out with other moms at least once a week. When you bounce things off of other moms, and they do the same, it builds camaraderie and confidence.
  5. You are not perfect. Breaking news: You will make mistakes because you are only human! Every mother, every person makes mistakes. But you learn from them. You do your best. And don’t condemn yourself or wallow in guilt. Instead, remember that you are a beautiful work in progress. You will continue to grow, learn, and be the mother your children need.

Have you ever been fearful of making mistakes as a mother? What other things can moms do to combat the fear of making mistakes with their children?

Here are a few encouraging resources you might find helpful:

A Confident Heart Devotional: 60 Days to Stop Doubting Yourself by Renee Swope

Treasures for Women Who Hope by Alice Gray

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Single Mom Gives Hard Times The Boot (and the Shoe and A Lot of Jewelry)

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It all started with a pair of shoes.

     Newly divorced, Renee Winot decided she wasn’t going to put her kids through any more grief. With her divorce money, she bought a user friendly computer and a digital camera and began a business that allows her to make ends meet while being available for her children.

     “I put these shoes on ebay and they sold. And I had a couple (pairs) of them and I sold them.” But, Renee didn’t stop there. “I had just been looking around and I’d found these big lots of jewelry and I had this money in my account from these shoes and I turned around and used it and bought these lots of jewelry.” In fast motion, Renee found herself an ebay entrepreneur with her own account and an ebay store.

     The days of securing a job just because you have experience and a good track record are gone. Too many lookers, too few jobs.  But opportunities are available, even in hard times. Sometimes you just have to think out of the shoe box. 

     Those close to Renee wouldn’t think this overnight entrepreneurialism such a strange thing. Her independent spirit winds through her work history. “Well I’ve never been a conventional person as far as jobs go. I don’t think that I ever had a job that I would really consider typical.” Renee worked for an insurance company soliciting business. She liked it because she got to set her own hours. “I was getting paid for what I sold.’” But her favorite job was selling cars. “I was actually pretty good at it. I got to make the money I was worth because I worked on commission.”  Selling cars was also how she met her ex-husband.

     Loss of a husband can be a scary thing for women, especially those who have stayed out of the job market to raise a family. All of a sudden you’re back in the hunt, competing against people half your age with more recent experience.

     Instead of giving in, Renee said a prayer which for her resulted in clarity and direction. “And so I just kept saying ‘ok God, you’re just going to have to show me what to do. And you’re going to have to make it really clear because I’m a hard case God. I’m one of those kind of people you have to throw a brick at. So God slammed all the other doors shut and opened the door wide that (He wanted) me to go through.’”

     Renee says her safety net was and is her faith. “I have a real trust in God because I am also a recovering alcoholic and addict and I’ve been sober– this Sunday, it will be for 15 years. And that is all by God’s grace because I never could have done that on my own. To me if God can take me out of that, then God can do anything.”

     Renee also thinks it important for single women to look ahead and not live in yesterday. “Yesterday? So what. Tomorrow isn’t even here yet. All I know is I’m sitting here right now talking to you and that’s it. I’m missing out on all that if I’m worried about all those other things.”

     Even if Renee were prone to worrying, she wouldn’t have time for it with tracking down merchandise and shipping items for her ebay store. Her kids have even gotten into the act. “The girls go in there and cut the labels out and Luke runs everything into Cardsmart.  He’s figured out the customs forms. He   knows what they are and goes in and pays the lady at the desk and they know him.”

     Renee not only goes to work in her pajamas, but she’s teaching her kids at the same time. “And so here my children have been home with me and they’re helping and they’re learning that they can do this too. They just think they’re being a part of the family. They’re so excited about my job. And it all   came from a simple prayer and a belief that God was not going to drop us on our butt.”

     Renee’s advice to women who suddenly find themselves single is to make time for your self. “And that’s what lifeguards are taught too. If you go in to save a drowning person and the person tries to drag you under, you’re not going to be good for that person. So you’re supposed to step out and wait until they’re totally under.  So you’ve go to make sure you take care of yourself or you can’t take care of anybody else.”

     And so Renee takes care of herself and her children by thinking differently and keeping a hopeful attitude. “If I look at something long enough I can find something bad about everything . You can find the perfect flower and if you look long enough you will find something bad about it. And if you look long enough you can find something positive in everything single thing. So which way do you choose to look at it? I have a choice when I wake up in the morning. Do I want to look at life as good or do I want to look at it bad?”

Alicea Jones

www.aliceajoneswriter.com

Photo: Thinkstock

Post #1 Breaking the Chains of Your Past

78815965I had the pleasure of interviewing Christian psychologist, author and humorist, Dr. Kevin Leman.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting his insightful thoughts about how our past affects how we view life and how we mother. Don’t miss his answers to some pressing questions.

Excerpt from article by Alicea Jones

All the eight-year-old boy had to do was run out on the basketball court and perform the five-second Williamsville Billies’ cheer: “Basket, basket! Score, score, score! Williamsville Central, we want more!” Somehow, young Kevin Leman, the eight-year-old mascot, wearing his sweatshirt that displayed a billy goat, forgot his lines. At first he froze, mortified. Then a surprising thing happened: When everyone started laughing, Kevin realized that he loved the attention and the ability to make people laugh. It’s that childhood memory, the heady thrill of willing people to laugh, that helps define Dr. Kevin Leman today.

Here’s what Dr. Leman had to say about his own family background:

Q – Some of your childhood memories include growing up in a home with an alcoholic father. How did that situation affect you?

A – When you don’t have a relationship you should have had with the dad, you pay for it in the long run. It’s sort of like making a cake and leaving one main ingredient out. Now what happens to the cake? It falls flat. So you end up with ways of coping with that missing piece. So you become a survivor; you’re in survivor mode. You go “I’ll show ’em.” That happens to a lot of people.

I’ve had a similar experience growing up in a home with a drug addicted dad and all the resulting fallout. And I can say that I’ve spent a large part of my life trying to prove that I am not defined by my childhood. But the older I get, the more I realize that it’s not about proving anything to anyone. It’s about knowing my purpose in life and working toward fulfilling it. How about you? How does your upbringing affect your life views, whether you are a mother or not? Has your view changed over time?

Photo: Thinkstock

 

The Best Thing We Can Do

86495715As a new mother, I wanted to know how to raise a happy, healthy child. I read that spending quality time with your children was important. The latest books on child rearing also said that words of affirmation build a good sense of self-esteem. Teaching children to be polite, thankful and compassionate also helped to build character, the books said. I tried to do all of these things as I followed the wisdom of the day.

But now that my child is an adult and I have an opportunity to look back, I see that one of the greatest things a mom can do is to walk humbly with God, follow his ways and do right in his eyes. But how does that help our children?

As I read 1 and 2 Kings in the Bible, I learn about David and how God considered him faithful and a man after God’s own heart. Although David was flawed and committed sin, he trusted God for all of his needs above anyone or anything else. As a result, God promised David that one of his heirs would always sit on the throne as long as they walked in the ways of the Lord.

When our children see us trusting God for all of our needs, placing nothing or no one above Him, and walking in his ways, we bless them by laying out an example for their lives. More important, we bless God and God blesses us, our children and their children—long after we’re gone.

Yes, spending time quality time with and affirming our children are good measures. However, I’m convinced the best, most enduring gift we can give to our children is our relationship with God, placing him above anything else and walking in his ways as we trust him with our and our children’s lives.

What does it look like for a mom to walk in the ways of the Lord? Chime in as you’re led!

Check out Exodus 20:6

Pleasing Wanted

A young woman named Pleasing gave birth to a child she named Wanted. Pleasing’s goal in life was to make sure Wanted was always happy. Pleasing’s childhood was fraught with sadness and she wanted a different life for her child.

She fed Wanted only the foods that made him happy. She let him pull the dog’s tail and bite the neighbor kid because it brought Wanted joy. As Wanted grew older, Pleasing made sure to attend to his every need so that he would remain happy. She did all the household chores and protested when his teachers admonished him for not turning in his homework. Schoolwork made Wanted feel stifled and kept him from what really made him happy: sleeping in late and playing video games. When Wanted became an adult, Pleasing made sure he had the money he needed for dates and gasoline for his car. She continued to clean his room, cooked his meals and did his laundry. These things made Wanted happy.

In middle age, Pleasing had gone bankrupt and was weary after all the years of making Wanted happy. She couldn’t figure out why other mothers in the neighborhood had the energy to do fun things and why their children seemed self-sufficient. They had all started careers and families of their own. Wanted, on the other hand, was still living at home, had become overweight, unhealthy, dependant on others and had no friends. Pleasing couldn’t figure out why Wanted felt so empty and depressed.

Hadn’t she done everything to make him happy? Pleasing wondered.

My sweet mother, this is a fictional story of course.  Nevertheless, through it, I pause to think about my role as parent. Perhaps you can relate on some level with Pleasing. She wanted to save her child from the unhappiness she innocently experienced as a child. Perhaps you too want your children to experience a happiness you never knew. While there is nothing wrong with being happy, can I persuade you to think about wholeness over happiness? What you needed as a child and what your children need is a wholeness that comes with proper perspective. What makes a child whole are love and nurture, but also teaching and discipline. That means our children will not always be happy. They will not like us sometimes. But that’s just fine because what we want them to have is something better: the joy and confidence that comes with a personal character that is in alignment with God’s design.

Scriptures: The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice. Proverbs 23: 24-25

The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. Proverbs 29:15

Prayer: Lord, please help me to raise my children in the way you have lovingly directed. Please help me to teach and discipline them and not grow weary. Help me to see the big picture of their lives and not give in to their unhealthy wants today.

Photo compliments of Wikipedia

Showers of Blessings

“I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.” (Ezekiel 34:26)

Have you noticed the stillness before the rain—when all the oaks and daffodils wait expectantly for the promised shower? When the clouds release their blessing, every green thing lifts up their hands in thankfulness, receiving the blessing they knew would come.

Are you waiting in stillness for God’s blessing? Or are you running around in angst, doing rain dances, trying to pull the blessings down? Maybe you’re not accustomed to trusting promises. Maybe you’ve been disappointed one time too many.

Trusting in God and his promises is much different from trusting in the promises of man. People make promises to us and we to them. And despite our best intentions, promises do get broken because they are made by imperfect people. But when God says “trust me”, He is making a promise to you that will be delivered. He is perfect, truthful and faithful. So when you read scriptures such as; “All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace. . .This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 54:13,17); know that God is a Promise Keeper and you can wait for his blessings in quiet and confident stillness.

Photo courtesy Microsoft Images

What’s Your Handle?

Photo courtesy Microsoft Images

 

Eric Blair, who wrote under the pen name, George Orwell, tells the story of his childhood in an English boarding school. In his short story, Such, Such Were the Joys, he recounts the cruelty he endured at the hand of his Head Master at Crossgates, a preparatory school. When he arrived at Crossgates—“an expensive and snobbish school”— at eight years old, he began wetting the bed as children sometimes do when they experience trauma or significant change. Considered an intentional and rebellious act in the early 1900s, bedwetting sometimes resulted in physical punishment. Hence, his Head Master would beat him with a riding crop. On one occasion, the bone handle of the crop broke off during the beating and even for this, the Head Master blamed the young boy. And the young boy believed the lie.

“. . . .I accepted the broken riding crop as my own crime. I can still recall my feeling as I saw the handle lying on the carpet—the feeling of having done an ill-bred and clumsy thing, and ruined an expensive object. I had broken it: so Sim told me, and so I believed. This acceptance of guilt lay unnoticed in my memory for twenty or thirty years.”

My beloved sister: What guilt are you carrying from the past? Are there things you still hold on to that were not your fault? This question is important because guilt can be a vile and clutching monster that latches onto to the human soul, holding us from being the best that we can be, including mothering in freedom.

Whether you feel guilt for something that wasn’t (or was) your fault, take it to God in prayer. Go confidently with full expectation of God’s permanent forgiveness. Go boldly, knowing that He has already ripped the putrid monster of guilt from your back. And if you begin to feel eerie remembrances of guilt’s disgusting presence, remember that these are feelings, not reality.

Scripture: He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

Scripture: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Scripture: The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

I Don’t Know

When I became a mother, I felt like I had to have the answer to all of my child’s questions. What if she thinks less of me when I don’t know the answer? If I don’t give her an answer, maybe someone else will and it’ll be the wrong one. What I have discovered since those panicky first years (and beyond) is that I don’t have to have all the answers. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know”. As a matter of fact, if we always have the answer, we give our children an unrealistic perspective about knowledge. Knowledge isn’t just knowing the answers to stuff, it’s knowing where to find the answers.

So now I may say, “I don’t know but I’ll find out”. Or even better: “I don’t know but let’s find out together.” And as our children grow older and more capable, the best thing we can sometimes say is “I don’t know, why don’t you look that up and let me know what you find”.

Do I always give these wise answers? No. I’m a creature of habit and I still find myself shooting off an answer in haste. But on the days when I’m thinking fast on my feet, I try to involve my child in finding the answers.

Many questions await our children in the world beyond our front doors. Let us use the opportunity now to teach them how and where to find the answers they will need.

James 1:5

Photo courtesy Microsoft free images

Smart Work

Do you feel you have to do everything yourself?  I used to feel that way until I found myself in an exhausted heap.  That’s about the time I discovered that some of history’s most accomplished people learned the secret of smart work.

Do you remember the story about Moses appointing judges (Exodus 18)? Moses had led thousands of Israelites out of Egypt. He served as their only judge, hearing and resolving all of their disputes. (Mediating our children’s disputes is a tiring job. Can you imagine breaking up spats between thousands?)

Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law saw that Moses was going to wear himself out and wind up in a loony bin (my description).  When Jethro asked Moses why he was doing all the work by himself, Moses said, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will.”  (Exodus 18:14-15)

I can relate to Moses’ response—doing things because they need doing. But sometimes I need to stop and ask myself about the “why” and “how” of my work.  Jethro told Moses that there were other well-qualified men standing around doing nothing and that Moses needed to delegate.  (Sounds like Moses was working hard but not smart.)

Some of us need a Jethro—someone to shake us out of the belief that we have to do everything ourselves. Can I be that person for you today? YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL YOURSELF. Hire a babysitter periodically or swap babysitting with a friend. If you are able, get someone to help you with housework. They may not do it exactly as you would. But, so what? When our kids were toddlers, my friend and I joined forces and cleaned our houses together while our kids played. We finished a lot quicker than when we cleaned our houses separately.  When either of us did shopping at the big warehouse store, we’d pick up things for one another. Figure out your own way to delegate and share duties. You’ll be happier and so will your family.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Photo courtesy Microsoft free images

It’s Understandable

If you are an adult child of an alcoholic, addict or a dysfunctional parent, it is understandable if parenting scares you to death. Growing up in a chaotic and unpredictable environment would make most of us feel unsure and frightened. And these feelings don’t go away just because we grow up. Becoming a mother can even magnify those fears. You may wonder, “I don’t know what normal looks like. How do I show my love for my children? How can I raise a child when I don’t know the answers?”

Few mothers delve into parenting knowing exactly what to do. Much of our mothering, especially in the early years, comes from instinct. Don’t underestimate it. The rest comes by way of learning from others and old-fashioned trial and error. But most important is our reliance upon God who promises to give us wisdom and guidance.

Despite your unsure or fearful feelings, you can do this job well–not perfectly, because that’s impossible–but well.

Take advantage of the help that is available through organizations such as MOPS International and Moms In Prayer (formerly Moms In Touch).

God’s promises:

Isaiah 54:13

James 1:5

Photo courtesy Google Free Images