On the heels of our special day, I thought I would share a wonderful book I recently finished reading about one of my favorite topics, motherhood.
The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity by Dr. Meg Meeker (author of another really awesome book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters) delves straight into the heart of a lot of issues facing mothers today.
And no, I don't mean this book covers things like how much time we should let our kids sit in front of the computer. Or if we should buy them a cell phone before the age of ten. Or even if we should allow them to date in middle school.
The topics are much deeper, stabbing at the heart of what mom's are facing head on in 2014 .
Inside the cover you will find chapters such as: Say No to Competition, Let Go of Fear, Hope Is a Decision - So Make It!, and my favorite... Understand Your Value as a Mother.
Here are my thoughts on some of the chapters in Dr. Meeks wonderful book:
Say No to Competition: We live in a dog-eat-dog world, even motherhood is a rivalry. Working moms vs. those who stay at home, moms who breast feed vs. those who use a bottle, moms who stop at nothing to have their kid involved in select sports vs. those who say, "not for my family".
Whether we want to admit it or not, competition permeates our society. The "game" we pretend not to play is an avenue through which jealousy rears it's ugly head, and ever so subtly winds its way into our hearts. Envy can be quite ugly and is often self-defeating.
When we speak or behave in a manner which says, "my way of doing this is better than yours, my kids will be healthier/safer/more privileged because of how I am parenting them" we put up a wall and create an air of self-importance. This practice, while it may be inadvertent and subtle, wreaks havoc on creating lasting, intimate friendships among moms.
And man do we need each other while raising kids today!
The jealousy and competition which sometimes underlie how families operate in the world is reflected in our children's words and actions, in how they treat others in the classroom, on the playground, and on the ball field.
For our own sakes, we have to stop knocking one another down in order to get a leg up!
Let go of fear: We [mothers] worry about our children all the time. It is probably one of our biggest mental and physical time suckers. From the moment they arrive, we wonder: did they get enough to eat? Have they gotten enough rest? When our children hit the elementary years and we want to be sure they do well in their studies and have "enough" quality friendships...then it's worry about puberty and we gotta keep them safe from drugs, teen pregnancy, and of course help them get into college.
The worries are NEVER-ENDING.
To be a "good" mother means to worry, right?
Not if it clouds our every waking moment, and keeps us from getting the restorative sleep we need at night.
When we let go of fear, turn it into faith and prayer, only then can we be the parent our child really needs for us to be. Because the job of raising our children is two-parts parent, one part God.
I have a cousin who has a son with epilepsy. He developed this disorder out of nowhere when he was seven years old. One day she called him to come out of his bedroom in order to go to a birthday party, when he didn't come right away she went into his room and found him having a seizure on the floor. My cousin called an ambulance...many medications, many surgeries, and many years have gone by (ten to be exact)...
My cousin is the bravest, strongest, and most humble woman I know. For a long time she spent a great deal of mental and physical energy in fear for her son and what might come next for him. My cousin and her husband have agonized over decisions about medications and surgeries in the last decade. However, even though his condition is ongoing, the fear has dissipated. In order to face each day, she has literally had to hand her fears over to God and have faith in what the future will bring for her son.
This leads me to the next wonderful chapter in Meeks' book: Hope is a Decision, - So Make It!
For me, hope is a four letter word which spells potential. Having hope in any situation means you believe things can and will get better.
Four years ago this month my eldest son (Nick) was spiraling out of control. He drank excessively, he lost his job, he landed in jail. All the while Nick was hurtling toward self-destruction I was waiting for the phone to ring with news of the latest disaster. I was an emotional wreck on the inside, although to the rest of my children and (most) of the rest of the world I appeared completely put together. It was excruciating to know my son was one small step away from killing himself and/or someone else and I had so little control over the outcome.
THAT was when I really found my faith in God, and I never gave up hope for a change in circumstances.
If you have ever been in a situation with your child where they have had a physical or emotional trauma to face and you could do nothing but standby and watch, you know the kind of helplessness I am referring to.
Hope, the four-letter word that sustains life.
And finally, my favorite chapter, Understand your value as a Mother.
Moms tend to gather their value from outside things like how skinny they are after having children, or how young they look to have a teenager, or how well they juggle a full-time job and keeping up with their family, or by which colleges their children are accepted to. But the REAL value of mothers is not in how well we take care of the children God has given to us, rather the real value is in how much we are needed by our children and how humble we are about the awesome job we have been given!
Fabulous book, totally worth the quiet time spent reading it. Buy it, recharge yourself, and reenergize your outlook on the most important job you can be given in life...motherhood!