Continuing to answer your questions in the You ask; I’ll answer (maybe) series of posts…
Jennifer asks, In light of criticisms and insecurities that we give so much weight to, I’d like to you share which area of homemaking you feel like you are good in (or if you can’t go out on the limb to say that you are good at it, you still have to be better at one area): mothering, cooking, cleaning, wifing (I can make up words if I want to).
I have admitted freely and often that I do not excel in the domestic arts but I will admit to the following…
Cooking: I wouldn’t claim to be a bad cook (I’ve actually given out recipes upon request, believe it or not), but I don’t really enjoy it so I wouldn’t therefore claim to be good at it.
Cleaning: we don’t live in a pigsty nor are we in any danger of illness due to unsanitary conditions and that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Mothering: I’ve made a lot of mistakes. A lot of mistakes. So, again, it’s difficult to claim excellence here except for the fact that I think I’ve done a good job of making sure my boys know I love them. They are great kids, not perfect mind you, not by a long shot, but great kids–but not because they had a great mom. I’ve continually given them over to the Lord, begging for His grace, and knowing without Him we’re lost. Literally.
Wifing (and yes, you can make up words, by all means!): again, I’ve made a lot of mistakes but–here I hesitate because I know my husband reads my blog–but one of the most important things I’ve learned (I think) is serving and supporting my husband with my mouth shut, especially in front of others (except to say something nice). Wives, we have to quit bossing and manipulating our husbands. Nagging only makes us both miserable.
Speaking of husbands, Elle also asks, What was your first anniversary like?
I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember! I do remember we got out (and at least attempted to eat) the cake topper from our wedding cake that had languished in the freezer for a year, but other than that–????
Also from Elle, What did you think marriage would be like and instead discovered it was really?
I thought marriage was sunsets and roses, all romantic bliss and happily-ever-after. I was Cinderella, he Prince Charming, and all would be well in our fairy tale of true love.
Before we got married someone gave me (the best) marriage advice: Be kind to one another, loving one another as Christ loved the church. You will laugh, but I honestly thought that was advice I would never need. Not be kind? To him, the love of my life? And to have to be told to love him? Get real!
Well, it did get real. I discovered that marriage is less about bliss and more about choices, that romance gives way to reality, and that long term love is way better than initial infatuation. I love that we have a history, that we know each other so well, and that he has stuck with me and stood by me even though he knows the worst of me. He loves me in spite of me and I am so very thankful. To know the love of a good man is a blessing from the Lord that humbles me and moves me to gratitude before the Giver of all good things…
Who needs sunsets and roses? I’d MUCH rather have (almost) 18 years and counting of life in all its twists and turns, heartaches and joys, beside this man–this man who I love more today than ever.
Mocha with Linda wants to know: Comparing living in a small town to where you grew up – what you like, don’t like.
Things I miss about the big city: shopping and eating. Starbuck’s and PF Chang’s. Target and Barnes & Noble. Things I do not miss: the traffic. The masses.
Things I love about a smaller town: seeing people you know at the post office and at the grocery store. No traffic. Knowing my kids’ teachers and where they go to church. A sense of pride and community. My kids growing up with the same group of kids.
Things I do not love about a smaller town: No Target. Seeing people I know at the post office and at the grocery store when I have no make up on, haven’t showered, and am yelling at my kids.
Julie asks, What are the top 3 things you’d tell yourself, if you could talk to ‘self’ when your 4 boys were wee little?
1. Raising kids is not like baking a cake. You cannot follow a “recipe” and end up with the kid of your choice. In other words, don’t try to make your child into an image of your choosing. He is who he is; celebrate and encourage his individuality.
2. There are no guarantees. Your kids are sinners, just like you. As sinners, they will disappoint you and break your heart. However, and this is related to #1, while you certainly bear responsibility in disciplining and nurturing right behavior, it is not in your abilities to transform your wretched sinner of a child. Only the Lord. Only His grace. Beg for it, even as you give them over to the Lord. The good news is: Jesus Christ saves sinners. His grace is sufficient in weakness! Raise your kids in the fear of the Lord but do so relying on His provision.
3. Have fun. Enjoy your kids! Relax, forget the floors and the bathrooms, and delight in your children’s childhood.
4. (I know you asked for 3, but I’m on a roll so indulge me) Some of the best mothering wisdom I’ve received was from a dear friend older than me. She told me that we raise our children to let them go. We want them to be responsible, independent adults. They will not become so if we are intent on keeping them wrapped around our apron strings. Let them grow up, make mistakes and learn from them. Know that this season as a mom of young children passes–as it should. Besides, the joys of children who can bathe and dress themselves AND fix their own breakfast? Priceless.
Still more questions and answers to come…