Episode 16: Parenting and Delighting in Our KidsMar 27, 2023
Hey everyone and welcome back to the Elevate Motherhood Podcast! It’s an honor you’re listening and I hope my words are a blessing to you!
Today’s episode is about parenting and delighting in our kids! Parenting is such a weird thing to talk about but- so important, obviously! Raising our kids is maybe the most important THING we’ll do here on earth. And I’m not a parenting expert. AT ALL. I only have 2 kids and I’ve only been a mom for 4 and a half years and I’m learning as I go. But these conversations help me so that’s why I’m sharing! Believe me I know I KNOW I get things wrong all the time. I know I do that’s why I’m always listening to stuff like this and learning from people on podcasts and books and Instagram and mentors and friends AND God. Praying about it all. So those are my recommendations for you- be learning but ultimately following what YOU have peace about and knowing that your peace comes from God if you’ve been in prayer about something. And I 100% think we should be praying to God to help us in our parenting and lead us in our decisions as parents!
But I just want to help everyone who listens to this podcast to LOVE being a mom a little bit more each time they listen. And I want to help your kids have moms who love being moms. So I just really hope this is a blessing to you!
So, to begin, we can talk about how do we view parenting? We are stewards of our children, we teach them and love them as an act of worship to our creator. We model things for them that Jesus modeled for us. That makes it so much easier, right? I mean I know parenting isn’t easy. My husband actually says- I think being a parent itself isn’t that hard, but being a good parent is hard. And I agree! The good kind of hard! it's not easy. But we can take everything back to what would Jesus do? Like those old bracelets.
But I think delighting in our kids is part of the equation. We aren’t just like only the rule enforcers. We GET to have a relationship with our kids. I was thinking about this for this episode and it made me think about even pom coaches I had growing up, one comes to mind that my friends and I just ADORED. Everything she did we wanted to copy. We worked so hard for her and we actually won first overall at nationals that year. And a ton of that had to do with our coach. We WANTED to work hard for her because we admired her, she was kind to us, she lead a bible study for us, she told us about her life, she did more than she had to as the coach, we felt safe with her but also challenged, she had high expectations and we wanted to meet or exceed them. Then there were coaches who just loved to exert their power. You know, like giving unreasonable punishments or impossible expectations. That didn’t work. Maybe we did what they wanted just to get them to move on but we weren’t giving it our best and they for sure weren’t winning our hearts.
And from what I’ve learned so far- I think parenting is kind of like that. And JESUS was like that. He didn’t just walk around telling everyone what to do, he was serving, eating with people, using parables people could understand, meeting people on their level, meeting people right where they were, leading by EXAMPLE. The perfect example. Wasn’t that like the whole goal of Jesus coming to Earth, to SHOW us what to do and pay the price for our sin? I mean God could have just told us what to do and that’s what He did do before Jesus. But Jesus changed it. And because of him we learned about grace and mercy!
I think we can apply so much of this to parenting!
Do we show affection to our kids? Do they know we delight in them? Do they see us spending our time doing things with them that THEY like? And do they get to see that we enjoy doing things with them that they like? Do we lead them lovingly by example?
One obvious way to win over the hearts of our children is to play with them. Not all day, I think unstructured and independent play time is amazing for kids. But we want them to know we love to play with them! I heard a quote once from Catherine M. Wallace that said –
“Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”
I think another easy way to win over the hearts of our kids is to literally just explain things to them.
You could do the exact same thing without explaining it to your kid and your kid just standing next to you while you do it or you can explain things to your kid and include them in the process. I like to pretend I’m a homeschool mom even though I don’t plan to homeschool. But I love to act like everything in life is a learning opportunity for our kids. Because it is! We ARE their teachers too.
So here’s a recent example of this- last weekend for spring break we went to Tulsa which is 1 and a half hours away. We decided to go for one night and make it seem like a really big deal. Because it IS a really big deal to them. We usually just think through our adult brain which has done so much in our lives and we can really see the world as more magical when you see it through your kids’ eyes and realizing how much they haven’t seen yet. So we really went all out explaining it to them and they LOVED IT. We said things like- okay we are going to a hotel! Do you remember what a hotel is? Hotels are big building where each family can rent one of the rooms! The building are sometimes SO tall! When we get there, they’ll give us a KEY that unlocks only our door? Do you want to try to unlock it? First they’ll tell us our room number and we have to go find the room with that exact number! Look! We can use this baggage carrier so we don’t have to hold everything, do you want to help me push it? Oh there’s the elevator! Do you want to push the button? We want to go up so we want to push the button on top. If someone is in the elevator when it gets here, we are going to let them get out first before we get in!
…. I know all of this sounds like so many words as you're listening to this podcast, but do you see how it took close to the same amount of time? I could have just stood there with my kids telling them to be quiet and be still, or I could have been including and explaining things to them.
This of course applies all the more to things at home too. The other night I wanted to clean my daughters backpack and I could have done it by myself and honestly I started to but then my daughters sweet little voice said what she says all the time “mommy can I help you?” and gosh I try to never say no to that. So I could got both my kids up on the countertop with me and gave them each a different scrubby brush and soap and we were all 3 cleaning the backpack and they thought it was GREAT! Water, soap, scrubbing. I could have done it by myself while they watched TV but instead just bringing them into the moment with me was so magical for them! They were literally smiling and laughing and working hard cleaning that backpack with me. I was so glad when my daughter asked to help I didn’t say no.
A similar thing happened again the other day, I was filling up our essential oil diffusers in the house and my son said, “can I help you?” and I said, "sure!" And he said hang on a second let me go get the measuring cups! And he went to the kitchen to get one of those bigger pourable measuring cups Which I thought was so cute because I don’t even use those but it was a good idea and sweet and smart that he thought of how to do it his own way, so he filled it up in the sink with his little step stool and brought it over to me being so careful so he wouldn’t spill it and poured it into the diffuser and yes he did spill it a little bit but a phrase I love to always use is “it happens!” it kind of diffuses a situation where they know they did something they didn’t mean to, like they broke something or spilled something and of course they didn’t mean to so I’m not like getting them in trouble I just say “oh it happens! Lets get a towel really quick and you can keep going!” and then when we picked up the bottle of essential oils I tell him I usually do 8 drops so can you shake it and each time an oil droplet hits the water we count! And then I say okay there are 2 buttons, to turn it on we need to hit the button on the left- which one is the left? Okay hit that button 2 times! Okay great you did it!! Thank you so much for helping me!! I love doing things with you.
See, that situation took like 20x longer letting him help me, but he learned about pouring water carefully, about what to do when something unexpected happens, about counting drops, about left and right. All of those things were learning and connecting opportunities and these types of situations happen all day every day if we let them! Especially if you are at home with your babies and truly aren’t in a hurry then just remind yourself you’re not in a hurry and you don’t have to do things on an adult’s timeline you can just do it on a toddler or young kid’s timeline and teach them along the way. We want to tell our kids and SHOW our kids that we love being with them. We love spending time with them. We are building up their confidence in who they are and we have so many opportunities to speak life and truth over them and for them to learn by our example.
This is a similar situation that I talked about on my Instagram recently. My son was helping me cook and I had some like arrowroot flour in a ziplock bag that we were about to use, and he’s a 4 year old boy so of course he squeezes that bag and flour popped everywhere. And where does he look right when that happens? At my face. Your kid probably always looks immediately to your face when something bad happens to see how they should react. And I just said- ooooH! And I covered my mouth and made kind of a funny face. Okay! It happens!!! Let’s hop down off the counter really quick so we can clean it up! I’ll get the vacuum and paper towels and we can clean it up and then we’ll keep cooking! And I could sense the feeling of relief that he didn’t get scolded because he was also a little embarrassed because he knew this was a huge mess but it was obviously an accident. I hadn’t ever handed him a ziplock bag full of flour before. He hadn’t ever squeezed a ziplock bag full of flower before! Now he has and he knows what happens. And now he knows that when mistakes happen we just deal with it and move on. The consequence was him having to clean it up, because that’s what adults do when we accidentally spill things. We don’t need someone to yell at us and tell us how irresponsible we are when we mess up, we just deal with it and move on.
So anyway, I thought I would share that story for some reminders,
That number 1- our kids learn how to respond in situations by how WE respond, not by only what we tell them but in how WE react and respond so we are always teaching them! And that number 2- it's our job to teach our kids not just jump to punishing them. I believe disciplining isn’t the same thing as punishment. Like sometimes I think parents feel obligated to punish and they forget to teach. And I just don’t personally think that’s the way to go about it. ESPECIALLY if it’s something they didn’t really know they were doing wrong.
I also go into these conversations sometimes in the moment but usually I try to recapping things at a later time like in the sweet moments before bed or whatever- like, "I can’t believe that bag popped in the kitchen today! What a mess that was but it’s okay we cleaned it up! How did you feel about that whole thing? .... You’re learning! Thanks again for helping me cook tonight. I love cooking with you!"
And more general obvious things we talk about regularly too, you know mommy and daddy love you. Even if you do something great or something bad, we love you the same. It’s our job to teach you but we always forgive you and we love helping you learn. That’s how God feels about us too! Nothing we ever do can make him love us less. But we want to do the right things and follow Jesus’ example and we are always learning!
And another thing I want to encourage you guys with is the topic of “parenting in front of an audience.” Like you know how when your kid does something at home you can handle it but maybe if your parents are around or your friends or you’re in public like sometimes we feel this external pressure or like embarrassment that our kid is acting out. But I have really tried to bury that. On purpose. Because what matters most is that I parent my child in the way that I believe and that I’m true to the relationship I’ve built with my child. No matter who is listening. Whether you think the people around you will think you’re too strict or not strict enough. And if I’m like wishy washy and acting one way at home and then differently out in public number 1 that is confusing to the kid and inconsistent and won’t help your kid to take you seriously and trust you, and number 2 if your kid is already dysregulated and acting out- then YOU not being calm and all the sudden acting different is going to seem so confusing to them and maybe scary and it will most likely make it harder for them to find their baseline. And third, this is my personal opinion but if you can’t parent in public the same way you do at home, maybe reevaluate the way you’re parenting. You know? And honestly, everyone knows what you’re going through. A huge percentage of the adult population are parents and they get it. They’ve been there. They aren’t judging you when your kid is acting out, they probably feel bad for you and remember the times they’ve been in your position. So let’s just bury that fear and remember to just keep being a consistent parent to our kids in those situations.
Sally Clarkson says it way more eloquently and probably more politely than me. But she says things like we are training and loving our kids as an act of worship and stewardship to God… then we are not parenting for performance. She says much of mainstream parenting advice includes rules and expectations that moms can follow hoping for an easy formula to make parenting quick and rigid and predictable. But she says,
“I don’t see that in my own relationship with God as my father. He works slowly in my life to train, love, test, teach, and conform me to the image of Christ. Little by little, bit by bit one lesson at a time."
“When I feel cherished I am much more likely to give my all, especially if I have time to grow and develop and get rest along the way. And God is that kind of lover.”
God’s whole story with humanity is a love story. Is our parenting a love story? And our kids will see how much we love the Lord because we are modeling it for them and telling them every chance we get. And that will help them have their own desire to love God with their hearts. And when we go the extra mile in parenting – it feels good. When we connect with our kids we remember what a blessing they are and what a privilege it is to be their parent.
Well that’s all I have for today! I hope these words are a blessing to you! Take what you love and forget the rest, run everything through YOUR understanding of God, ask Him for parenting advice.
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