Sunday, November 14, 2010

Workin' Mommas

It occurred to me, in the middle of the night, that there may be some working mommas out there who feel like they'll never be able to influence their children the way that homeschooling mommas do. I'm not implying that stay-at-home mothers are not working but I am talking about those who step out into the world every day, kiss their babies goodbye and entrust them to others while they are away. Whether you work outside the home because you desire to or because you have to, I'm here to encourage you that you are having a profound influence on your children. Homeschooling mothers also face insecurities because, while we are with our children for countless hours, we can fall into escapism. We struggle to carve out "me-time" and thus, are tempted to push our children away and can even create a negative environment. And, sometimes we just want to be like you! :) We are all just moms on the journey to raising our children in the Lord.
As women, we were designed to care for our offspring. Our circumstances may not allow us to do this in the way we think is ideal or we may not feel we are equipped to be the primary caregivers of our children in the daylight hours. But, in the heart of every mother, the ache to do it "right" nags at us. We read about it, talk about it at playgroups, we see other women at church and at work and we compare. We ask ourselves, Am I a good mother? Am I influencing my children for the kingdom? Am I even capable of remembering to pack their lunches!? We are often guilt-ridden simply because we are striving for some sort of invisible standard. I struggle with these thoughts daily and I'm with my children all.the.time.
I have learned from reading and gleaning from other "fallen mommas" that what children need most is to know that when their mothers are with them, they're engaged. That looks different for each of one of us... which is why we cannot compare ourselves with others. Most importantly, our prayers for our children are what sustain them during their day--no matter where they are. God truly is the primary caregiver of our children and we must trust Him to watch over them, believing that He ultimately loves them more than we do. Is that even possible? Wow.
Practical tips are what I'm always looking for so I'm sharing what I've learned with you (and I know that some of you reading this have loads more to offer me, too!)
  1. Always smile at your children when they approach you.

  2. Touch your children as often as possible. This is especially important when you also must be working at home, in some way--perhaps on the computer. A little stroking of the hair or a snuggle on your lap as you type, helps them feel like you're engaged with them while you work.

  3. Take a minute to go with them to where they're calling you. I've "shooed" away my children too often while I was editing photos and quickly learned that taking a short break from the computer to admire a Lego tower or watch a dance goes a long way in the bonding department.

  4. Calculate the cost of not praying and reading God's Word with your children daily and then calculate the short amount of time it would take to add this into your day. If you're always racing to practices and appointments, pray in your vehicle and play worship music with them.

  5. Pray for them and pray over them. We can whisper a prayer that they will never hear but when we embrace them before heading out the door and quickly pray God's peace and protection aloud over their little heads, they'll always know their momma believed in God's power.

  6. Have a secret mommy handshake or code language saying that only you and your children know--something that makes them smile and feel loved (ex. the picture book The Kissing Hand).

  7. If they're old enough, write them a note for their pillow or lunch bag that let's them know you've been thinking about them.

  8. Before they fall asleep, tell them, "I love you because..." and fill in the blank with something you noticed they did that day. As they get older, they can reciprocate to you!

  9. Don't give into the endless amount of guilt that the enemy would love for you to carry.

  10. Sometimes a temper tantrum or angry battle requires a big hug rather than a lecture.

We're all in this together, friends. Let's encourage each other to be the best mothers we can be. That doesn't mean we have to be afraid of failing in front of one another, on the contrary! Let's be honest and humble. Bringing our struggles into the light is the only way we can be healed. Pray for other mothers instead of judging them. Every mother is in a different place and every mother can teach another something good. Have a wonderful, motherful week!

Just noticing now that Ann has some more tips on her blog too!


Craig and Bethany said...

Oh, YES. Completely! It's our prayers that sustain our children. And your list, that's gonna stick with me. There are so many little things that mean so much, like the snuggles and the notes and the smiles.

Love your blog, Heather.

Wanting What I Have said...

Lu-UVED reading this!!! SO encouraging!!! Thank you for taking the time to share so much!!! I needed to read this tonight! Thank you!

Nizar & Ema said...

Thank you Heather ,it is so encouraging .
You are so special :)


Jolanna said...

Very wise words Heather! I completely agree. All moms, working out of the home or working at home, have the same desire-to nurture and foster spiritual growth in their children. It's comforting to know that we can encourage and support one another as we all take up this challenge. By the way, I loved your list! I am a list girl!

Karen said...

What a great post.. and so well written.. it is a touchy subject, I know.. I have 3 children ranging in ages from 25 to 14, and I have always considered myself to be a stay at home mom, in the since that my kids never went to daycare, but i always have worked,in the early days i was a waitress in the evenings once my husband got home from work,,
and now i have a little home based business working for working moms..
I pick kids up from home and take them to school, and then back home again.. and it has been a great ministry for me,, my son and i have brought many of kids to our youth group.. So just trust god in what ever situation you are in mom's and god will make a way, for you to raise wonderful godly children..

Mouse & Magoo said...

I am also always looking for cool facts I can ponder on, and tips I can use from learning to read the Bible more, to a neat little way I can help the world.

Check-up on your posts:

1) Great words -got um.
2) Practical tips -got um.
3) A different post for each person in the family -got um.
4) Encouragement, Godly talk, e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g? -GOT IT ALL.

Just wanted to let you know that there are tons of different people in this world with different faiths and personalities, and with every post you make, you touch all of that stuff.

Pure Perseverance said...

Wonderful post! I just read Ann's tips the other day. They are very similar. Thank you for reaffirming and encouraging.