WT 99: Keeping the Future in Mind
Question 1: I have 3 boys (ages 4, 2, and a newborn), and I’m wondering what I can do as a mom to foster loving, healthy, relationships between my children that will outlast me and my husband. I came from a broken childhood, and as a result my siblings and I are not in much contact. I don’t want this to happen to my kids. What did you do to nurture good relationships amongst your children while they were living at home?
Karen's Answer: First things first, try not to give into fear, your family is NOT the family you grew up with. You are starting a new trajectory and a new lineage. Good job. Children learn from observing, so it starts with you and your husband and y’alls relationship. Make sure you are loving your husband and treating him with love and respect. When you see your children not getting along, and they will, just teach them to be kind and loving to each other. This process takes a long time. Since your children are close in age, the likelihood of them being close is high. But, they will also probably bicker over toys and things, which is normal. Keep speaking truth into their lives about loving one another, family comes first and always be there for family.
Question 2: How did you know when you were done having kids? My husband says he doesn’t want anymore, but I just can’t mentally close the door on growing our family (we have two kids now).
Karen's Answer: I’m not sure. I just knew. I was on the fence after Taylor, but leaning towards being done. Greg wanted a fourth, and talked me into it. After much prayer and discussion I changed my mind, and we got pregnant with Abby. When I was pregnant with Abby I knew beyond a shadow of the doubt she would be my last. So, I think you just know. If your husband is not on the same page as you, I would start praying about it together and ask God to bring you both to the same page, whatever that page may be.
Question 3: I can’t help but think about a few years down the road when my kids are all in college and I’ll be home alone. I haven’t been in the workplace in 12 years and feel overwhelmed by what it looks like to jump back in. I know you worked more consistently when your kids were at home, but what advice can you give me?
Karen's Answer: What a great question, and I’m glad that you are thinking about the future. You have some time, so use this time now to discover what it is you like to do. We are all gifted in certain areas, so find what areas you excel in and look into what those jobs entail. Since you have some time think about taking a few courses in your field to bring you up to speed. I wouldn’t worry about not being in the workplace for 12 years, you have a lot to offer any business, and the right job will happen when it is is time. I am a firm believer that God opens doors when it is the right timing. Use your time wisely while your children are at home. I think this will be a good exercise for you too to figure out another dimension of you as a woman, not just a mom. Here are a few good resources to look into: What Color is Your Parachute?, Right Path Assessment, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Question 4: This question comes from Cynthia Schneider- momLIFE director, Fellowship Bible Church Waco, Texas: We all get tired and want to toss in the towel sometimes! How can you stay relentless in your pursuit of happy, healthy adult children? What are some ideas you can share? Your thoughts on a family vision statement and is it important?
Karen's Answer: Great question! Whew! This one could be an entire podcast I think. Sure we all get tired, and want to give up, because like we’ve talked about before, motherhood is a marathon not a sprint. The key to running a marathon is going the distance. The best way to do that in my opinion is to take care of yourself and just like any job, give yourself some vacation times. (Meaning go on a trip with your husband and no children every so often or go on a girls trip. These trips and to give you some space from your children and them space from you. To where when you get back together you are all refreshed and ready to be together again.
Happy healthy adult children. I believe that is all of our goals as a mom, but the key word in that description is ADULT. When you have adult children, you have to release them because they are adults, and they make their own choices. Also, as a mom, all we can do is influence and guide. Our children decide whether they will listen and follow our direction. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. When they don’t all we can do is pray for them and lift them up to their Heavenly Father who loves them more than we do as moms. I think the key to healthy, happy, adult children is the realization that they are independent people and we are just one person in their adult life. Mission Statements for the family- I guess they are important. I think it’s really a personality thing, some people love them and live by them while others don’t see the need so much. Greg and I were in the middle. We never officially wrote anything down, but we always tried to stick to Biblical principles and follow the Lord with our family. We wanted healthy, happy adult children, but so much of that once again, depends on the child making wise choices for their own lives.
There have been many times with my children, where they have made choices that I haven’t been too fond of, but I try to love them unconditionally and always pray for them. At some point, we as moms have to release our children especially adult children and accept them for the way they are, even if they are the polar opposite from us. Pray and practice unconditional love, which is easier than it sounds.
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