Thursday, May 20, 2010

Step-Parenting Isn't For Cowards

Step-parenting isn't for cowards...that is an understatement... Step-parenting, especially if you yourself were never a step-child, is most definitely not for the weak of heart, but rather an amazing opportunity to grow the heart.

Children aren't couches that came with the new marriage, they aren't a vacation home that is still shared between the two divorced parties, they are children who deserve to be loved.  Why put a line where one doesn't need to be? There is nothing wrong with blurring the lines between biological and step-children, after all doesn't God do the same with us? Does choosing to love your step-children as your own mean you are trying to take over and replace the other mother or father? No. It means you are choosing to love your spouse's children as an extension of your marriage. When two become one flesh, the line has already been erased, it is selfishness that puts the line back in place, especially once new children get added to the mix. Love is a choice, one has to choose to love and treat all the children in the marriage equally.

Family can be brutal, and can be the biggest road block on your way to forming a parent/child relationship with your step-children. Consider this: if it can't be backed up with Scripture, it isn't good advice. Be in constant prayer, and follow God's Word, seek His guidance; and remember that in the end you only need to do things God's way. Love those children and treat them as your own, God will grow your heart.

Now, loving them and treating as your own brings up interesting challenges especially with different parenting styles inevitable. At your house there are rules, boundaries and expectations, that may be different or non existent at the other home. The children must know what they are and accommodate accordingly, being held accountable when it comes to your house hold rules just as your biological children would have to.  Rules are different in different places, that is part of life, by molding your rules to each set of children in the home (his, hers, and ours) you are hindering their growth and understanding of the real world; setting them up for a rude awakening when the world doesn't bend in their favor. And again, family can sometimes (not always)  be your biggest obstacle, stick to your guns don't back down, remembering to comply with what God wants and expects of you.  If, in your home MTV, rap music, cursing and rated "R" movies are not allowed, then the children need to comply. If in your home back talking and direct disobedience are not tolerated, the children need to understand that there are consequences to those things.

For all of the children in your marriage expect nothing less than excellence from each child. Excellence is not the same as perfection, it just means expect each child to do everything to the best of their ability all of the time. The best thing you can do for all of your child is to keep the "bar" raised just enough so they have to reach for it, not so they can step over it.

Circumstances do not define us, it is how we approach them that helps shape who we are. Blaming ones actions on anyone circumstance is cowardly, so, your parents got a divorce...that is no reason to rob a bank.  Step up to the plate, you are accountable for you and how you respond to the world around you and the circumstances God has allowed in your life.

If God has called you to be a step-parent, don't look at it as an exhausting battle of wills, look at it as God entrusting you with a bigger heart, and a few challenges to overcoming with love and perseverance. Step-parenting isn't easy, but then again either is parenting.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Best Mother's Day Present!

This is the poem Cheyla wrote for me for Mother's Day. I am going to write it exactly how she did, typos and all, because I think it's cute, and probably the best poem I have ever read!

   A Mother to a daughter Is like a sister that stays close to you in every way
                                  Love is like a flower with sweet smell

Moms are care for their children
O how they are sweet like a candy
Their beautiful inside and outside
How so lovely
Everything you would want to be
Royalty doesn't matter just love
Super happy with her children
Doing their best
And cleaning the house
You are wonderful so beautiful, caring, and patient

(Notice it spells out Mother's Day)

I am the luckiest mom in the world!

It amazes me that through all my screw ups, my kids still see my heart! They understand that "Do Over's" aren't just for them, but for me as well.   I am blessed to that they can see past the yuckiness that seeps out on a bad day, or in the heat of the moment.  And yes, I get to check of at least one thing from my "Proverbs 31 checklist": 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed...

I love the little things. I love watching my children play nicely together without being threatened first . I love watching them treat each other with unconditional kindness.  The way they help each other out, when they don't realize I am watching.   I love snuggles, hugs, eskinose (our term for Eskimo kisses), butterfleyes (our term for butterfly kisses) and of course kissy lips (that is when they give me kisses with their lips, on my forehead, cheeks, or lips) I love talking about all the things we can't wait to do when we get to Heaven, I promised Michael I would go into a black hole with him and have a picnic on Pluto!

Mother's Day, not only a day to appreciate our moms, a day to appreciate the gift of being a mom. Looking through the mundane, the laundry and flooded bathroom...and looking into the eyes of the children God entrusted us with to raise in His ways.  I am blown away that God gave me these precious lives to care for, I am thankful for every second  I have with the beautiful children, even when I am in the grocery store or restaurant on the verge of tears! I am thankful for their cute little voices, and no matter what they say it comes out so cute!   I am thankful for "MallMart", "Stardees", "Foawk, "Potsgetti", "BallBalloon", Ma-mee", and "Muu".  Even though I have had to sadly correct their mispronuciations (can't have a 25 year old going foawk to MallMart to get potsgetti, ballballoons and muu for ma-maee!)

Being a mom, isn't easy, but it is rewarding.  I am glad I am a mom. Thank you Jesus, for my beautiful children!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

1, 2, 3...Do Over!


Welcome to my blog. I certainly have a lot to write about, but first allow me to explain the name of my blog, what exactly is "1,2,3...Do Over!"?. Lamentations 3:22-23 says: 22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

I have tried, and tried many different things when it came to my children, I have battle frustration, anger and disappointment. Then I realized this is what God must feel about me, almost constantly. I felt like I was continually falling flat on my face, stumbling through each day, talking the talk, but falling while I walked. I began to re-route my thinking concerning my children's mistakes, if God gives me an unlimited supply of forgiveness, grace and mercy, why shouldn't I do the same in return with my children?

So we began, all of the kids were making bad choices and I had reached my breaking point, by mid day, I too was badly in need of a "do over". So, I called the kids together, we did a "hands in" and "1,2,3...Do Over" was born, we all had a fresh start. Does that mean that they are with out consequence for their actions, no. They still find themselves grounded, or at the table writing Psalm 119 in it's 176 verse entirety, the time of the punishment is set for however long it takes to complete the task. "You may watch t.v. as soon as your room is clean", could take 15 to 20 minutes, but with my boys it could also take 2 months. "You may go to the park, or spend time with a friend, as soon as you have completed writing the Psalm" It has become much easier than me setting the time limit for the punishment. Now I don't need to keep track of "how long has it been since they were grounded?" because it depends solely on them and their willingness to get done what needs to be done, so "X, Y, Z...."

It doesn't matter how old we are, we all need "Do Overs", and God is gracious enough to offer an unlimited supply, for those who ask.

This blog is my "parenting diary of sorts", with a husband, 6 kids, ranging from 21 years to 17 months, a 3 year old pug and a 2 1/2 year old yellow lab, my well is definitely not in danger of running dry any time soon!