Category Archives: a. Mothering Monday

Mothering Monday: Mom of the year…

I had another “Mother of the Year” moment last night…

To understand the tone of that last statement, you need to read it dripping with sarcasm. So if you read it thinking that I was getting ready to brag about my awesomeness, go back and reread it with the tone intended… go ahead…

I had another “Mother of the Year” moment last night…

OK, now that we’re on the same page, let me set up the image of my stellar mothering.  Last night, we were at the local park from 5:30-10:30.  We arrived to watch my husband play softball for our church team.  Knowing that we would be there all night, I very diligently packed dinner, snacks, and water.  I set the boys up to eat their dinner and watch their dad, while I went for a run.  So far, so good.

I finished up my run, and returned to my boys.  We watched the game, chatted with our friends, the boys played.  It was nice.  I was still all sweaty and gross from running, so I grabbed my change of clothes and headed for the bathroom to change.  Still, so far, so good.

The bathroom was like a sauna.  I washed off in the sink, and then I decided to use the handicapped stall for more room.  On a side note, I have never in the entire 39 years of my life seen a person in a wheel chair in a bathroom, so I didn’t feel bad using that stall despite the fact that there were 4 regular stalls open.  Of course when I came out, freshly changed, there waiting for me to finish was a women in a wheel chair.  Of course!  I apologized for using that stall, and they didn’t seem bothered… so still, so far, so good.

The game finished up and we simply hung out and relaxed waiting for it to get dark.  Our church was sponsoring a movie in the park night.  We set up our beach chairs and our sleeping bag.  I got the stuffed Pikachus and bear out of the van for snuggling with.  I got the bag of popcorn out.  We were all set to watch a movie under the stars.  It was a beautiful night.  The movie screen is this inflatable thing that is absolutely huge, bigger than some movie theater screens.  The sound system is loud enough that the crying babies didn’t bother you.  We laughed as Po on Kung Fu Panda 2 kicked some peacock butt.  It was a great time, and still, so far, so good.

The movie ended.  We packed up our stuff.  Jeff grabbed the 4 chairs and the cooler bag and headed back to the van.  I rolled up the sleeping bag and walked back to the van with my youngest son.  I had assumed my older 2 had walked back with Jeff.  At this point, it’s 10:30, so it’s pretty dark out.  Can you guess where I’m going with this?

I get to the van and we are loading everything into the back.  And then, I notice my 8-year-old walking over to us.  He’s crying.  I go to him, hug him and ask him what’s wrong.  I can feel his little heart beating like crazy.  And he can’t seem to stop crying.  Our pastor’s wife walks over and sweetly says, “Does this little boy belong to you?”

And then I understood… he wasn’t with us.  He couldn’t find us.  He was “lost” in the dark, surrounded by a ton of people but not seeing his family anywhere.  He was terrified.  And we were at the van, loading up, not realizing he wasn’t with us.  I assumed he had walked with Jeff.  Jeff assumed he had walked with me.  He was lost, and we didn’t know it.

Thankfully our pastor’s wife noticed him, and thankfully she knew who he was.  Thankfully everything worked out fine.  But despite the outcome, it was still terrifying for my little boy.

On the way home, we talked about our strategies for what to do if we get lost.  I asked what he would have done if Mrs. Johnson didn’t notice him.

“Go to the van.”
“What if you didn’t remember where the van was?”
“Ask someone for help.”
“Who would you ask?”
“A mother with children.”

As it turns out, he remembered everything we’ve taught him, but in his panic, all he could do was look around in the dark and cry.

Oh how my heart aches just typing this and thinking about how scared he was.  Thank you, God, for protecting my son and watching out for him, when I wasn’t.  Thank you, God, for being the perfect parent, when I’m not.

One of the things I usually do when we go to an amusement park, the boardwalk or some other crowded place where it would be easy to get separated, is to write my cell phone number on a piece of paper and make sure each of the boys has it in their pocket.  “Please call my mom, Becki at 555.555.5555”  That way if they are panicked, they don’t need to remember my phone number, or even need to say anything.  They are supposed to find a mom, with children and give her the paper.

Last year, I upgraded to bracelets.  I used a sharpie and wrote on those bracelets that they use for fairs and such, but you could also use any of those rubber bracelets that are so popular.

Hopefully last night was just a fluke, and they’ll never need to use those bracelets.  But, last night reminded me that even though they are getting older, I definitely still need to be vigilant about making sure I know where they are.

Pressing on with you,

♥Becki, imperfect mother, covered by God’s grace


Mothering Monday: The handshake

Last week we were greeters for church.  Well, technically I was a greeter, but my youngest 2 boys decided to help.  They stood for a half hour, opening the doors as people walked up and extending their hands to offer a handshake and a “Good morning”.  They  were so cute and seemed to feel important in this role.  Of course, everyone walking in gave them a big smile and returned the greeting (how could you not, I mean they are so stinkin’ cute!).

After one man shook my 5-year-old’s hand, he said good morning to my son.  But then he, in a kind and friendly voice, said to him, “When you shake someone’s hand, you look them in the eye, and you give the hand a little squeeze.”  Then he shook my son’s hand again and rewarded him with “Perfect!” at my son’s attempt to do it correctly.

Photo Credit: Handshake on Flickr, Creative Commons

As my son continued to welcome people to church, I noticed that he was now looking them in the eye as he greeted them.  And later in the day, I overheard him “teaching” his older brother the correct way to shake a hand.

This stuck out to me because, to be honest, I never thought to teach my boys how to shake a hand.  And then I started thinking about all sorts of social skills that I haven’t been spending time instructing but expect them to do, especially with the third.  I think by that time, you assume you’ve taught something, but in reality you’ve taught the older ones and not the younger.  Or in my special case, I spent a lot of time teaching my oldest son skills with no success and then just kind of gave up.  But, I’m forgetting that my oldest son has Asperger’s and just because he may always need reminding doesn’t mean my younger 2 won’t master the skills.

Anyway, with that being said, besides a handshake, here are 10 social skills that I want to get back on track with my kids:

  1. Look people in the eye when you talk to them.  I used to ask my oldest son what color someone’s eyes were after he had a conversation with them.
  2. Addressing grown-ups by their names and not just by “Hey”.  Out of respect and to remind children that adults are not their peers, I prefer Mr. and Mrs. with the last name.  (Maybe I’ll do a post on that at another time…)
  3. Giving people your full attention when greeting them, talking to them, and saying good-bye.
  4. When approaching 2 or more people who are already in a conversation, to stop and listen first before interrupting.  Wait for a pause before saying something.  And then either join in the conversation in the topic that is already being discussed, or else wait for a break in the topic in order to change it.
  5. Holding doors for the people behind you and thanking people who are holding doors for you.
  6. Asking for what you want, of course always including please.  I don’t know why but it drives me crazy when my kids, well to be honest, when other people’s kids too, just announce “I’m hungry” or “I’m thirsty” and then expect that need to be taken care of.  So lately I’ve been correcting my boys with “What are you really saying?”  And they’ve learned to respond with, “Mom, can you please get me a drink?” or “Mom, can I please get myself a snack?”
  7. Learning the appropriate volume to talk.  My boys have one volume: loud!  I’m constantly saying, “I’m right here, I can hear you.”  I’m not sure how to teach this!!!!
  8. Learning to apologize correctly.  Last week at church one of our pastors shared that in their family they’ve taught their children to say, “I’m sorry for ____, will you forgive me?”
  9. Learning to forgive correctly.  I’ve taught my guys to say, “I forgive you” instead of “That’s OK.”  Because, usually what the offender did is not OK.  But we still need to choose to forgive the person, even though what they did was wrong.
  10. No devices (phones, iPods, DSI’s, tablets…) at the dinner table.  Talk to each other instead!  We are really good with this at home.  But at restaurants we usually allow them up until the food arrives.  But I’m thinking I need to just take advantage of any time that we are all sitting together and not allow it.  I remember being in a restaurant waiting to be seated.  Another family was called for their table and the father stood there with his hand-held out and his 3 teen-aged children all put their phones in his hand as they walked by.  He didn’t have to say anything, so this rule was already established and none of the teens complained.  I was impressed!
  11. (I know I said 10, but really this one is so important, that it can’t be left out.)  Always, always, always say thank you.  And not just to the obvious people.  Say thank you to the bus driver.  Say thank you to the doctor, the dentist, the waiter, the cashier.  Say thank you to the teacher, to the sunday school teacher, to the pastor for the message, to your friend’s parents.  Say thank you when you receive a gift.  Call to say thank you when you receive something in the mail.  Say thank you for being invited to a party.  Say thank you for dinner.  Say thank you when a friend shares with you.  Say thank you to your mom and dad.  And most importantly, say thank you to God!

So I know this is by no means an exhaustive list.  Just the ones that came to me as I’ve been thinking about this for the past week.  As parents it is so easy to get angry, embarrassed, or frustrated when our children are not behaving in the socially acceptable manner, but the question is, do we model it and have we taught them?  Without a doubt, we need to model the behavior we want to teach.  But that alone is not enough.  We also need to take time to instruct it, and usually the time to do so is not when we are correcting a behavior.

What behaviors would you have included in the list?  I’d love to hear!




Mothering Monday: Speaking their language

“Happy Mother’s Day!  Thank you for giving me dinner.  I love you so much.”

“I love my mom because she gives me breakfast.”

“My mom’s favorite thing to do is make cakes.”

“My mom is special because she gives me lunch.”

As I read through the “kid writing” on my Mother’s Day letters and pictures from my 5-year-old, one thing was glaringly obvious to me.  His love language is acts of service.  He feels loved when I do things for him.

While thinking on that, I felt that gentle conviction of how often I complain about doing these things.  Yet, these are things that makes my son feel loved.  I wonder if when he hears me complaining it makes him question if I really love him.  I hope not!  But I suppose it is possible, if not yet then in the future… especially as he hits his teen years.  If acts of service is the way he feels love and I’m acting as if doing things for him is a burden, then the message I’m sending is that I really don’t love him.

Lord, help me do all things without complaining and remember that preparing meals for my children, and baking cakes for them, and doing their laundry, and cleaning, and all of that stuff that I don’t really enjoy too much is a way to show them that I love them.

You may have noticed me use the term “love language”.  I wrote that assuming you know what I’m talking about, but I realize you may not.  Gary Chapman wrote a book entitled “The 5 Love Languages”.  In it he suggests that we each have a primary way that we feel loved and we show others that we love them.  Quality Time, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts.  Understanding these languages helps us to make sure we are loving people in ways that they receive it.  (To go to Gary Chapman’s site to learn more about the love languages, click here.)

For example, my husband’s language is words of affirmation.  Mine is physical touch.  One day we were driving in the car and he was pouring out his heart to me about something that was upsetting him.  The whole time I sat there rubbing his knee.  For me, a person who gives and receives love most through physical touch, I was saying, “I hear you, I love you, I care about you, I’m here” by rubbing his knee.  But he is a words person.  And finally he said, “Here I am pouring my heart out to you and you don’t say anything.  Don’t you care?”  He didn’t “hear” the love in my touch, he needed to actually hear my words.  At that point, I didn’t yet understand the love languages so I had no idea why he was so upset.  But since learning about them, I try to use more words and my husband tries to rest his hand on my arm or something like that more.

As parents, it’s important to understand our children’s love language.  I remember a friend growing up talking about her dad.  She had a new watch that we were admiring.  Her dad had given it to her the day before and it wasn’t even her birthday.  We told her how cool the watch was and how lucky she was.  She responded by saying how she would rather spend time with her dad then get gifts from him.  I don’t know why that stuck out to me, but it did.  Later when I learned about the love languages, I thought back to that conversation and wondered if her dad’s love language was gifts and hers was quality time.  If so, he wasn’t speaking her language and she didn’t feel loved.

I wasn’t sure what my middle son’s love language was.  So I asked him when he felt the most loved: when we played together, when I did things for him, when we were snuggling on the couch, when I told him, or when I gave him things.  He responded that he felt most loved when I gave him things.  His love language is gifts.  As I looked back, it made sense. He’s the one that would get excited when I came home from a consignment sale with a bag full of new clothes for him.  He felt loved.

I think my oldest son’s is physical touch.  Even though he’s 11, he still loves for us to lay down in bed with him, he still likes to hold my hand, he asks for us to squeeze him, he likes to have his back rubbed.

As a mom, the difficult thing for me in raising them up is how to balance speaking their love language with helping them grow up.  If my youngest feels loved when I do things for him, then I need to be careful that when I’m encouraging him to do things on his own, that he’s not “hearing” me say, “Do it yourself because I don’t love you.”  If my middle son feels loved when I give him things, then I need to be careful that when I say no to things he knows it’s not because I don’t love him.  If my oldest son feels loved through touch, then I need to make sure I’m still hugging him and rubbing his back, things that seem to naturally become less as children grow older.

Lord, help me to speak my children’s language…

Do you know your child’s love language? Are you speaking it?



Mothering Monday: Sleepy mama

Happy Mother’s Day

Very kind and sweet

loving, beautiful and nice

unique and cheerful

Mom, Caring, Trusting, Kind, Smart, Loving, Sweet, Best, Sleepy

Sleepy???  What???  Sleepy??? Uh oh… Yesterday, as most mothers were, I was showered with home-made gifts for Mother’s Day.  My oldest son made a teapot with words on it to describe me.  My middle son made a heart out of words that describe me.  I loved reading through their descriptions of me, so flattering… but then on the heart in big letters I read, “SLEEPY”.

I can’t really argue with it, I am often tired.  But it breaks my heart that my 7-year-old would define me that way.  Caring, trusting, kind, smart, loving, sweet, best… I love those descriptions.  I know they are not always true, but that they would use those words to describe me, tells me that for the most part I’m doing the right thing.  But reading sleepy, reminds me of my imperfections.

I am not a morning person, and my 7-year-old is.  Soon after my husband leaves for work, my son wakes up.  He knows not to wake me up until 7:30.  He gets himself dressed, usually gets himself breakfast, and often will turn on the TV.  Then at 7:30 he comes and wakes me up, sometimes bringing me coffee that he made for me.  This arrangement works for me.  I thought it worked for my son.  But after reading, “sleepy” I wonder if it really works for him.  Maybe I’ll have to have a conversation with him and see if it bothers him that I’m not awake in the morning.

I’m a night person, and I love staying up late when the house is quiet.  I love reading, or watching TV, or working on a project without being disturbed.  But maybe, I need to sacrifice some of that time and make sure I get to bed earlier.  I know my teacher husband who wakes up at 6 would appreciate it.  But I enjoy that time so much, would I become a little bitter and angry that I don’t have as much alone time?  I’m an introvert and I recharge during that time.  So what do I need more?  The chance to recharge or the sleep?  I guess like all of life, I have to find that balance.  And like all of life, I’m sure my kids will find a way to let me know when I’m doing it well or when I’m failing.

For all of you mothers out there… I hope you enjoyed your day.  Thank you for all you do for your family, because it’s impact goes far beyond your family.  You are raising my children’s peers.  You are raising the future teachers, and politicians, and inventors, and doctors, and businessmen, and policemen, and military personnel.  So thank you.

♥Becki, Sleepy Mama

Me and my boys…

Mothering Monday: In the wee hours of the night…

Why oh why can’t my boys get sick during the waking hours of the day?????

Jeff and I had dropped the boys off at my in-laws for the night, and we just played our first few hands of poker at a fun, grown-up only, casino night party when the cell phone rang.  It was MomMom.  Our middle child threw up.  Ugh!  Jeff graciously went and got him and the other boys, and I accepted a friend’s offer to drive me home later.  Even though they almost left without me, they brought me home a little after midnight.

Jeff said that our little guy had been throwing up every 15 minutes or so.  The poor thing!  I told Jeff to go to sleep and I’d take the night watch.  So I laid down with my baby who continued to wake up every 30 minutes all night long.  He’s such a trooper.  But the scenario went something like this:  I’d be sleeping and all of a sudden I’d hear a moan and I’d jump up and help my son make it to the bowl.  Then he’d lie back down and fall asleep, followed shortly after by me.  Only to repeat 30 minutes later.  Twice we didn’t get the bowl fast enough, so there was also some clean up involved too.  The next morning, he had finished getting sick, but we were both so exhausted that we slept a lot.

Sunday night and Monday were uneventful.  But then came Monday night.  My youngest was tucked into bed, excited for his zoo trip the next day.  Then, we heard him… “I need the bowl!”  My poor baby, as soon as he got sick, he pathetically said, “I’m still good enough to go on my field trip tomorrow.”  He repeated the sentiment throughout the night every hour after he’d wake up to get sick again.  So basically 2 days later, I had another night of laying down next to a different son and waking up throughout the night as he’d get sick.  He was more like every hour instead of every half hour.  So I guess I got to sleep a little longer in between each episode.  But my body definitely felt tortured with the sleep, wake up pattern!

Why oh why can’t my boys get sick during the waking hours of the day?????

This week as I was doing my Bible reading, I read Psalm 121.  Chronologically in the Bible, I’ve gotten up to reading about David.  What I love about reading the Bible this way is that I’ll read about David in 1 Samuel and then I go to Psalms and read what David wrote during that specific time in his life.  Anyway, Psalm 121 is one of my favorite ones because of the line, “I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord – the maker of heaven and earth.”  (vs. 1 & 2)  I love that line, and I love the song that sings that.  But a new part in the Psalm really stuck out to me on that day:

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep. (vs. 3 & 4)

I thought of how hard it was and how tortured I felt watching over my babies all night long as they were alternating getting sick and getting sleep, because I needed sleep too.  And I was comforted by the fact that God does not need sleep.  He can watch over my babies (and me too!) all night long, day after day, year after year!  Thank you God!


Mothering Monday: Rule #2

“Rule #2: We don’t judge, no judging.”

I just saw a trailer for the movie “What To Expect When Your Expecting” that will be released in May.  In the movie, there’s a “Dudes Group” a group of fathers that hang out together.  As they talk about their experiences as Dads, a new member of the group, a soon-to-be dad, makes a judgmental comment towards one of the dads, “You dropped your kid off of a changing table?”  He was quickly reprimanded with Rule #2.  (Click here to see the trailer.  By the way, I’m not endorsing the movie, I know nothing about it other than seeing this trailer…)

I think as moms, we desperately need this rule.  We’ve all done it.  If we nursed our children, we may think we are better than those who fed their babies formula.  If we bottle-fed our children, we are appalled as a mom displays her breast in the mall to feed her child.  If we let our babies cry to sleep, we roll our eyes at the moms who have children sleeping in their beds.  But if we co-sleep with our children, we are sure that the moms who let their babies cry to sleep are going to raise insecure children.  We all have views on whether pacifiers are OK and the appropriate age to take them away, we all have beliefs on when children should be out of diapers and what the best way to do it is.  What we feed our children, where we send them to school, to spank or not to spank, how much TV and video games they should watch… we all have opinions and can be quick to judge the mother who does it differently.  Why is that?  Why do we judge?

I heard a speaker talk about this once.  (Jonalyn Fincher)  She said that her 2 year old doesn’t sleep in his own bed, but sleeps every night with her and her husband.  She then went on to say (I’m completely paraphrasing here…), “I see you judging me.  I know you are getting ready to give me advice about how to get my son to sleep in his own bed.”  And of course, the mothers in the room laughed because she was right.  Then she said, “What I don’t see any of you doing is asking me why that works for us.  Well, my husband and I are professional speakers and spend most of our nights in hotels.  We are often in various time zones and nighttime speaking engagements means we have no normal bedtime routine.  So co-sleeping is what works for us.”  She went on to tell us that instead of judging those around us, we should take the time to learn about people and why they make the choices they do.

Perhaps the mom who bottle-fed her child desperately tried to nurse with no success.  Perhaps the 5-year-old in pull-ups has a medical issue that is making potty training difficult.  Perhaps the father of the 4-year-old pacifier sucking kid is in and out of the hospital with some medical condition and the parents just don’t think worrying about a pacifier right now is so important.  Perhaps the mother who is so vehemently opposed to spanking was abused as a child.  Perhaps it’s as simple as the mom who does things differently than you or I just has a slightly different view and is doing just fine because there is more than one way to raise a child.

As moms, some of us work, some don’t.  Some of us feed our kids only organic “whole” foods, some of us are on a first name basis with the McD’s workers.  Some of us spend most of our time reading and playing at home, others spend most of our time in the van between swim lessons and music classes and sports.  Regardless of how and why we do things, we all have 2 things in common: we love our children like crazy and we want to be the best moms we can be.  So as we journey together, let’s not judge each other.  Instead, let’s encourage and love and support each other.

♥Becki, imperfect mother who has both judged others and been judged by others

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5: 11)

Mothering Monday: My boys’ thoughts on Heaven

“MOOOOOOMMMMMYYYYY!!!!”  My middle son ran out the front door and ran into my arms.  What a great feeling!  I had just come back from a women’s weekend away.  One of the great things as a mom about getting away is getting to see your children’s excitement when you return.  My youngest came running out next doing the same thing.  “I missed you, I love you, you look pretty.”  Awwww, so sweet.  I walked into the house and my oldest barely looked up from his 3DS as he said, “Hi.”  Oh well, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad…

I went on a women’s retreat with my church.  We stayed in a hotel, ate together (but I still managed to lose weight this week!), laughed together, played games together, got to know each other more, worshipped together and listened to a speaker.  The topic was “In the Light of Eternity.”

Well in the light of “In the Light of Eternity” – that’s a mouthful, huh?  OK well in light of our topic, I thought I’d share some of the things my boys have said or questions they’ve asked through the years about Heaven.  I wish I could tell you who said what and how old they were, but frankly I don’t always remember, and no matter how many times people told me, “You have to write those things down” I didn’t.  So from the mouths of my boys:

Will there be video games in Heaven?  If Heaven is better than earth, then there must be video games, but I bet they are even more fun than the ones we play now.

Will we have to go to the bathroom in Heaven?

Will we ever sleep in Heaven?

If we get a new body when we go to Heaven, what age will it be?  Will we all be the same age?  Or will we be forever the age that we are when we die?

If we get a new body when we go to Heaven, what color will it be?  Will we be the same color we were on earth?  Will we all be the same color in Heaven?

I like my body now, I hope my new body looks just like this one.

If we all get new bodies, how will we recognize each other?

I hope there’s no green beans in Heaven.  I don’t like green beans.

How will I know who our other babies are in Heaven?  (Talking about the 2 babies I miscarried.)

You know why Heaven is better than earth?  Because in Heaven you will always be happy, but on earth you are sometimes sad or angry.  I know you won’t be sad or angry in Heaven, but wouldn’t it be funny to trick people there by pretending to be angry?  (My youngest said that just this morning as we were driving.  He’s such a jokester!)

The best part about Heaven will be God, right?

…and the one that as a Mom, pulls so hard on my heartstrings that it hurts…

Mommy, I know we’ll like Heaven, but I don’t want any of us to go there yet.  (Me too, baby, me too…)

Those are some of the questions and thoughts my boys have about Heaven.  I’ll admit sometimes my response would be, “Hmm, you should ask Pastor Gary that at church on Sunday.”  Because in all truthfulness, I don’t know the answers to most of their questions.  If you have any answers for them, I’d love to hear!  I’d also love to hear some interesting things you’ve heard from kids (or adults) about Heaven.




Mothering Monday: Lessons from the seatbelt

Have you ever had to use a ratchet to take a seat belt apart to get your child out?  Well, yesterday I did.  My 11-year-old managed to get the seatbelt twisted all around him and then the seatbelt “locked” and he got stuck… good times, good times.

So here’s what happened.  Yesterday was Sunday.  Jeff and my middle child went to the early service because they were going to a Flyers game right after church.  My oldest was still sleeping, so I took him and my youngest to the second service.  On the way home from church, we stopped at Giant to pick up a few things.  My oldest hates running into stores, and like normal, he whined, “Awwwwww man, the stooooorrrrre, can I stay in the van?”  Since he’s 11, I often let him do this, so I said yes.  I let my 5-year-old stay too.  OK, before you get on your soap box about what a horrible mother I am, remember many 11-year-olds are babysitting so I figure 5 minutes in the van should be fine.  Well, apparently I was wrong!

I give them my normal, I’m leaving you in the van alone spiel, “Don’t get out of the van, don’t get out of your seats, don’t unlock the doors for anyone, if anyone comes to the van, even a policeman, tell them to wait for your mom who will be right there.”  And off I run into the Giant to pick up bakery bread, frozen pizza, and frozen vegetables.  I quickly go through the self-check out and head back to the van.  As I approach it, I can see that my youngest is upset, he yells that his brother’s stuck.

“What in the world?”  I think.

I was gone maybe 7 minutes, how can he be stuck?  What could he be stuck in?  So I open the door and I see.  He managed to get the seatbelt all twisted around himself and then it locked, so he couldn’t get any slack to get out of it.  At first I kind of chuckle, thinking it won’t be a big deal to get him out.  But then as I work at it a few minutes I realize that I can’t slide his arms through it to get it over his head, I can’t slide it down over his butt, even with him trying to maneuver out of it.  I start to get a little frustrated… OK, a lot frustrated.

I’m not worried about my son, because I know that I can always cut the seat belt and he’ll be fine.  I’m worried about having to cut the seat belt and then pay to repair it.  We already have one seatbelt in the back that is stuck so we don’t use that seat.  I don’t want to be down another seat.  And as I think about it, I start to get angry.

“How did you do this?”  “What were you doing?”  “Why weren’t you just sitting there like I told you to?”

From what I can piece together, here’s what happened.  He reclined the seat to lay down as he was playing his DS.  He then put the shoulder part of the seat belt behind him so it wouldn’t be in his face.  He must have rolled around a little.  He then decided that the seat belt was too much in his way, so he unfastened it.  But remember the shoulder strap was behind him?  So when he unbuckled it, it was as if he was inside the seatbelt, which he also twisted a little.  Somewhere in the time frame, the seat belt locked and so he could get no slack, and every time he moved, more of the seat belt went down in.

After realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to get him out, I had the “genius” idea that if we get him as close as possible to where the seatbelt goes in then maybe enough would go in to unlock the seatbelt.  So we maneuver him as close as we can, but instead of the seatbelt unlocking, he’s just closer to the wall with even less slack than before.  Great!!!!

As I begin to think that my only solution is to cut the seatbelt, I get angrier and angrier, and monster mommy makes her unwelcome appearance.  I start saying some really unkind things and I start yelling and I even dropped an “F” bomb – and I don’t curse, ever!   (Well almost never.)  Thankfully my kids don’t even know that word, so they didn’t know what I said.

I wasn’t worried about my son, because I knew physically he’d be fine.  I didn’t take anytime to console him.  I never once stopped to think how upsetting it must be to have a seatbelt twisted around you and getting tighter and seeing your mom get angrier and angrier.  I had no kindness for my 5-year-old who’s watching the whole scene and crying the entire time.

Did I mention that this happened right after we left church.  During which we had a beautiful communion service where I made sure my oldest son understood what communion was before I let him participate, only after he and I prayed together.  During which I sang songs praising God for who He is.  Right after I listened to my pastor read and talk about Colossians 3, including verse 8 which says, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”  I sat there, and nodded, and agreed.  But then I was put to the test less than 20 minutes later and I failed!  My pastor talked about how we need to be showing people more of Jesus and less of us.  Well, I certainly wasn’t showing my children Jesus.

In the parking lot, I confessed my anger to God and asked for Him to help me get my son out without having to cut the seatbelt.  I calmly went back in the van and looked at the seatbelt itself.  I saw how it was attached to the wall.  I was able to snap the cover off and saw that I would need a tool to unscrew it.  I decided to drive home, with my son kind of propped up on his side leaning against the wall.  Very unsafe – but we made it.

I’d like to say that all of my anger was gone after I prayed but pretty much the whole ride home I was yelling at my son, telling him he’d have to figure out which toys to sell to raise the money to fix the seatbelt if I couldn’t get him out.  Apparently I hadn’t yet rid myself of all those things!

We got home, I got our ratchet set out.  I found the correct size and began unscrewing the seatbelt from the wall.  I had my son hold the seatbelt right where it goes down into the wall and told him to hold it with everything he had and to not let any of it go down in.  We needed all the slack we could get.  I got the seatbelt unattached and he held on to it.  I then took hold of the seatbelt and there was enough slack for him to get his arms out and for it to go over his head.  Praise the Lord!  He was free and I didn’t have to cut the belt.

He thanked me for getting him out.  I reattached the seatbelt and went inside, again confessing my anger to God.  I apologized to my sons for how angry I got, and told them both that I was wrong to yell like that.  I also told them that I could no longer leave them alone in the van.  We ate lunch, took my youngest to a birthday party, then came home and I fell asleep reading on the couch.  A much needed nap after all that drama!

Thank you God, for enabling me to get my son out.  Please forgive me for how angry I got, and for the words I allowed to come from my mouth.  Please help me Lord to have a gentle and patient and kind heart when situations like this arise… but please, next time, let me learn from the pastor without needing a life lesson!

♥Becki, imperfect mother, and imperfect Christ follower

Mothering Monday: When I’m not there

When my oldest son was in 1st grade, we decided to let him watch Star Wars Episode 4 (the first one with Luke Skywalker).  It was a big deal.  Before that we thought he was too young and not ready for it.  Up to that point the majority of his video viewing was Blue’s Clues and Thomas the Tank Engine, so this was a big jump.  One night when his 3-year-old brother was at Grandmom’s and his 1-year-old brother was in bed, we popped some popcorn and introduced him to a “Galaxy Far, Far Away”.

As he fell in love with Star Wars, it became impossible to shield the younger two from it. So although our oldest waited until he was 7 to watch it, our youngest was watching it before he was even 2!  It’s so hard to stick to your guns some times.  But for the most part, as parents of young children, we get to be their filter.  We decide what they watch, what they wear, what they eat, who they play with, what they are allowed to play with.  Well, like I said, for the most part.  But as they grow, we begin to lose that control.

As a mom of school age children, I can control what they are allowed to watch on TV when they are home.  But when they are at friends’ homes without me, I’m not there to say, “Turn the channel,” or “Turn that off.”  I’m not on the play ground at recess to say, “You can’t play that game where you’re pretending to kill each other.”  I’m not in the cafeteria at lunch to say, “No you can’t buy ice cream today.”  I can talk to my children at home about the choices they are making without me, but I am not with them to make the choices for them.

And sometimes that can scare me.

Not so much for now, but for when they’re older.  I won’t be in the classroom when they are tempted to cheat.  I won’t be in the store when they are tempted to steal.  I won’t be at the movies when they are hanging out with friends and are tempted to be disrespectful to adults.  I won’t be at the party when someone offers them the opportunity to drink or do drugs.  I won’t be on the date when they are alone with a girl and they are tempted to “display their affections” physically.  I won’t be with them when they are on a computer, or tablet, or iPod, or phone and tempted to view something pornographic.

I won’t be there.

But I pray that our (my husband’s and my) words will.  I pray that the foundation we are setting with our boys will hold firm in their hearts, and that the lessons we’ve taught them will ring in their ears when they are faced with temptation.  I pray that they will be so rooted in our love that they will choose to do what is right.  And when they don’t, I also pray that they will know that our love surpasses any wrong choice they will ever make.  But more importantly, I pray that they will be rooted in Jesus.

Because I won’t be there, but Jesus will always be with them.

And so my deepest prayer is that my boys will decide to trust Jesus as their savior and to follow hard after Him.  That when they are tempted to cheat, steal, be disrespectful, drink, do drugs, be sexual, or view things that are inappropriate, they will hear Jesus speaking truth into their hearts and through his power they will choose to do what is right.

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the creator of everything in heaven and on earth.

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his spirit.  

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.   Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  

And you may have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, 

how wide,

how long, 

how high,

and how deep his love is.  

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  (Ephesians 3: 14-19)

So of course, you can imagine the joy I felt seeing my oldest son, at 11 years old, choose to be baptized yesterday.  He stood before our church and said that his desire is to follow Jesus.  His father baptized him and his grandfather prayed for him, and I did what every mother would do, I cried.  And so I pray just as Paul prayed for the Ephesians that God would empower my son, grow his roots deep into God’s love and keep my son strong as he walks through his teen years.  I pray that my son will spend each day knowing how wide, long, high and deep God’s love is for him.

And I pray that for you and your family too!

♥ Becki

 P.S. You can watch a video of his baptism here.  Enjoy!

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Because I said so

“Because I’m the mom (or dad), that’s why.”   “Because I said so.”

If you are a parent, chances are you’ve said this, or wanted to say this.  But it seems lately in our society, that is frowned upon.  I’ve heard the reasons:  it doesn’t allow your kids to think for themselves, how will they learn to make good choices when you aren’t there, it doesn’t value your kids’ thoughts and opinions, it’s not respectful towards your kids, your kids will likely rebel when they get older.

I am not going to dispute the validity of those reasons.  But, I’ll admit that I am a “Because I’m the mom” or “Because I said so” mom.  When I give my kids directions, I expect them to follow without me having to explain why.  I teach them that they are to obey immediately and then they can approach me out of curiosity, not defiance, and ask why they had to do so and so or couldn’t do so and so.  And I will explain.  Sometimes they come to a point of understanding, and sometimes they do not.  Sometimes, our conversation will make me realize I was a little too rigid and I will admit to that.  Sometimes it will make me change my mind for next time.

I have taught my kids the verse, “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”  I have explained to them that I will have to stand before God and be held accountable for how I have raised them.  Therefore they can trust me.  I have apologized to them when I was wrong – so they do know that I’m not perfect.  But still, I expect them to obey me.  I have taught them to obey teachers and other adults in authority.  (The one exception being if they are ever asked to go against God – to lie, cheat, steal, hurt someone…)

Society may tell me I’m wrong for having this attitude, but reading through the Bible encourages me to continue.  My pastor has encourage our church to commit to reading through the Bible in a year.  For those of us who have been faithful, we are in Leviticus (I’m still in Exodus… but am trying to catch up!)  One of our youth pastors posted this on his Facebook page:

“I am the Lord your God.” In the book of Leviticus God says this statement 19x for the reason why the Israelites should listen and obey Him. Is that enough said for us to listen, follow, obey, trust, and love Him?”

So I jumped ahead to Leviticus – a very hard book to read filled with laws upon laws upon laws.  God didn’t give reasons for the laws.  (Interestingly enough, when scholars have studied the laws, they found that they make a tremendous amount of sense in terms of keeping a society healthy and just.  But God didn’t go into those explanations.)  His reason for the Israelites to obey was, “I am the Lord your God.”  Sounds a lot like “Because I said so.”

I’ll be honest, there is a lot in the Bible that I don’t understand why it’s that way, or I think I would have chosen to do differently if I was God, but I’m not God.  And I need to listen, follow, obey, trust and love Him through it despite my lack of understanding.  Because I believe God is who He says He is, and I believe that God loves me and I love God.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15)  One of the ways we can demonstrate our love to God is by obeying Him.  A friend pointed out that she started looking at the 10 commandments not as a list of rules, but as a list of how we behave because of our love to God.  If I love God, I will not have any other God before him.  If I love God, I will not misuse the name of God.  If I love God, I will not commit adultery.  If I love God, I will not steal.  If I love God, I will not lie.  If I love God, I will not covet my neighbor’s ____.  If I love God, I will honor my father and mother.

Just as I display my love to God by obeying him, I believe that my children demonstrate their love to me when they obey me.  So I will continue with my “Because I’m the mom” or “Because I said so” parenting.  And I will continue to expect them to listen, follow, trust, obey and love me.

♥Becki, the mom

By the way, I have taught my kids that they are not to blindly obey peers, that their peers are not in authority over them.  They should always question what peers ask them to do.