Mothering

Inspiration on parenting

A Truth

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I don’t have to make everything all better.

And neither do you.

Everyone has their own challenges to work on and it is right for each one to strive for their own growth.

Deep breath in……………………………hold it……………………………………let it out.

What are your challenges? They are the only ones that you have full power to tackle, so use your energy there!

What changes would you like to make in the coming year? {That bright, new beautiful year is on it’s way! So exciting!} When we think of our own growth, it is exciting! When we think of moving another person to change, it is heavy. So let’s stay in our own space, working out our own salvation, and offer our support and love and encouragement and minister to others along the way!

Your growth is inspiring! And observing you living your life to the fullest will inspire those you love to take hold of the reigns of their own lives and do exciting things too.

I hope you are taking great care of yourself each day. Listen for the kind, mother voice in your head and let your own nurturing in. A tended mother is a kind mother that draws her family to her with soft, feminine power.

Love to you today,

Jacque

Your Story

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Hello my friend, how has your day been?

I hope you are speaking kindly to yourself and to others, and apologizing and giving forgiveness when necessary! {Yes, that is daily!}

In thinking about Christmas and the fact that the calendar is about to flip to a new year, I wanted to offer a valuable tool I learned about when my son was in the special education program. It’s called Social Stories. I used it to write stories about his life that would teach him new ways of doing things and about thinking new thoughts about himself. I remember one day I had written a simple story on several pieces of paper, drew simple stick figures for pictures and stapled them together.

As we sat on the living room couch reading the new story, our oldest son walked by on his way downstairs. The child who was reading with me called out to him and said, after reading a page with these words, “I am bright!”

Because it was in writing it was the gospel truth to that young mind and it was a stunning moment for me that still stirs me to tears.

What new stories need to be told at your house? Stories about children sharing with each other and getting along? Stories about everyone helping out and then being appreciated for their helpfulness?

What about stories of how to respond to friends in a difficult situation, or stories about when to talk to an adult about something that is troubling? When these stories are personalized, they are internalized.

You can use simple illustrations or you could put real pictures of your family in them. I took some pictures recently of my grandkids doing specific things so that I can use them to illustrate the kindness they have shown that I have observed and want to encourage in social stories.

To take this a little bit further, what about a story about your marriage or about making tender Christmas memories this year or lowering your stress level or incorporating new self-care plans like exercise or eating well? Adding pictures to these stories is like creating declarations on steroids! And the sky is the limit! Instead of just saying, “I care for myself,” you can add a picture of you making a smoothie or walking on the treadmill {the type-o I just corrected is too funny not to share– the “treat” mill! No, no, tread is better!} or lying in bed resting at the hour you desire to go to sleep.

What true creativity!  Actually creating the outcomes you desire by letting your mind see and catch hold of what you really want! What do you think, could some social stories end up in your family’s stockings this year?

You are magnificent. You are right where you need to be doing the challenging and exhilarating work of family creation and development. There isn’t a time in our lives, whether we are 20 or 85, when we stop developing these relationships. But certainly, one day at a time is all any of us can do, and second chances are available again and again. So don’t you quit! Keep going! If there are things that need to be made right, start now. If you need help, ask for it. Pray for what your heart truly desires and then hold to your faith and do your part to make miracles happen!

Love, love, love,

Jacque

 

 

Letting Love

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I hope you are having a good week. It seems that everything is magnified this time of year…the push and rush, the pressure to create a good Christmas for our families, the need to exercise amidst a crazy schedule, the need for rest and regular good meals, etc.

But I’d say that the thing we need more intensely right now more than anything else is to let ourselves feel the love we have. The love we have for God and the gift of His Son as we celebrate Christmas. The love we have for ourselves that moves us to care for our well being. The love we have for our spouse that makes it possible to be gracious and understanding when things are difficult. The love we have for our children that prompts us to act with their best interests in mind, which may translate into enforcing bedtime and give us the oomph to continue to make simple and nourishing meals for them, to limit the treats and continue with quiet times and naps.

It is interesting how we can get love mixed up! We love, therefore we:
encourage
forgive
try again
support
say no
show affection freely
listen with our full attention

Not,
indulge
ignore
remove boundaries
neglect (to free up OUR time)
rant, scape goat
neglect our needs so that we are irritable and possibly resentful (wish I had never done this!)

The party is only as fun as we are feeling well. Even in, no especially in times of pressure, our kids need our boundaries.

Remember, the the key words:

Kind
Gentle
Respectful

Firm

I wish you a health and happiness as you continue to hone your skills. It surely takes time and practice! I’m still practicing and I’d guess I will be for the rest of my days.

Be well my friend!

Jacque

 

 

 

The Uniform

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I was talking to a young mother the other day about a “homemaker uniform.” Or at least what worked well for me! It seems to be a source of frustration to some to be conflicted about looking nice or in other words, not feeling “grungy” and yet wearing clothes that support the shear physical work out that caring for children and maintaining a home.

Here are a few thoughts in hindsight:

It’s important to be clean. There is clarity and discernment and reverence and calm in keeping ones person clean!  It’s where self care begins and it shows self respect and puts you on the right foot for a happy day. If you have time before the household is moving and shaking to get yourself showered and groomed, it’s as if you put on a pair of glasses for the day that make the world look hospitable. (If you’ve gotten good rest before that, the world looks even brighter!)

Wear comfortable clothes. Whether that means wearing athletic shoes (a very good choice!) and a well fitting T-shirt and jeans (my particular young child phase choice), or even a nice shirt and comfortable khakis, you need to be able to move. And, you need to be able to get dirty. Babies spit up and blow out and floors need washing and gardens need weeding. It’s wonderful to be able bend and stretch and run and respond to what the day calls for.

Do you have a functional apron? I love mine. I have four or five that I rotate. Pockets are a must! You can put odds and ends in them while you’re cleaning or they can hold the eggs you gather or the herbs you cut or your small garden shovel. Mostly, an apron saves you from having to get spots out of your clothes after you stir spaghetti sauce or turn a roast or mix up a cake.

Simple jewelry, simple make-up, and you can feel nice but not worried about spoiling anything or about taking much of your time to maintain.

Mostly, consider the motherly, feminine attractiveness of a happy and pleasant countenance. Everything you do to bring a smile to your own face and to cultivate your own cheerfulness will pay dividends for the welfare of your family. If taking a walk will lighten your spirit, take it. If stopping to quiet your thoughts, to pray for strength, to visit with a friend, to be mindful of your neighbor, do it. Do all you can to help yourself and then draw your family to you with your kindness.

I hope you are breathing and present in your Christmas preparations.

Sending you my love and best wishes!

Jacque

Hacks for Happy on One Income

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When we got married, I knew that when I had kids I wanted to be at home with them. I had the clarity of having experience with both, being a child with a mother at home and being a teenager with a single mother working and I knew that I wanted to be at home, if at all possible, at least when my kids were home.

Gratefully, those children came along and with them the real life decisions of how to live on one income. It was an evolutionary quest.

At first, I babysat so that I could be with our first child at home until my husband finished a graduate degree and we moved into the working

world. Then for a stretch, we were paying off student loans, so we kept to our simple budget of spending mostly for necessities. This was about the time I started thrift shopping (way before it was considered en vogue) to help keep the burden of supplying food and clothing for our little ones, as light as possible. For a few dollars, I could find books and clothes and even home decor and it was pretty thrilling and has become a talent I have worked on and enjoy!

Later, as the kids started into school, we decided that we would offer them two options for extra activities. If they wanted to take piano lessons and a dance class, that was great. And if they wanted to try something else, they would need to choose between their new interest and the older ones. Some may think that they might have had more opportunities if we had put more money into lessons and interests, but what it seems to have done was give them opportunities to be kids. They learned from their teachers and lessons but they also had time to ride their bikes through the neighborhood! They had homework and practicing, but also fun times with friends and reading good books and playing ball. When I see kids today who are scheduled to death, it makes me sad to think they may be missing the only time in their lives when they will get to be young and free!

As it turns out, two of our three kids play the piano, one is a violinist, one played the saxophone, one danced on pointe, and one tried gymnastics. Even with the limit, that made for a lot of lessons and driving to and from! I’m so grateful for the ways that our kids took advantage of the chances for learning they each had.

When we went school shopping, to save money, we went to stores in a certain order: first to thrift shops, then to department stores and last to the mall! By the time we got to the most expensive items, we usually had gathered some good basics at much lower prices.

We also set up a system, or token economy, for funneling money through the kids! {James Jones, Let’s Fix The Kids} This idea changed the expectation of mom and dad buying what the kids needed or wanted, to the kids taking the money they had earned at home and making the choices themselves of how much they wanted to spend for clothing etc. It surely makes a difference how you think about money and how you use money when you have put forth effort to earn it. Our kids are very good with managing their finances, and I hope that this experience was part of what has made them successful in this arena. I also see them accustomed to working hard and caring for what they earn and have now and it is wonderful to see!

Being free of the need of a second income, in many cases, takes thinking outside the box and being willing to honestly look at needs versus wants, at focusing on your family and not on what the neighbors have or what they are doing and learning new skills to take care of the things you have or to create what you need. For instance, sewing has become a fun skill to have, though born of necessity, and I’ve spent many enjoyable hours making Christmas gifts, jackets, baby gifts, quilts (though I’m not much good at quilts!), prom dresses, etc.

It also requires unplugging from an “entitlement mindset” to finding contentment in the blessings you have, materially speaking but also in the richness of time spent with each other and the simplicity of doing less, owning less and caring for less.

Softening into the unspeakably precious opportunity to care for your own children is worth it. It can be a process and may take concerted mental re-centering, but the dividends are great. If your efforts at earning money are required for your family to stay afloat, may God bless you to find success and peace in that scenario too. Women amaze me with their resilience and strength!

Love to you and kudos for every courageous act you perform today! You are amazing!

Jacque