Friday, April 12, 2013

Raising the man of your daughter's dreams...

After recently having my third boy, this has left me thinking on a lot of things concerning the raising of my children. And this is one...

I know, as a female, how much emphasis there is put on us as girls from a young age to find "our prince" or "the man of our dreams". Fairy tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty lead all of us to believe we are princesses and that certain man will come to sweep us off our feet and rescue us into some beautiful life ahead. Now, I do feel that these stories can somehow build an unrealistic expectation of men and married life, but that's for another time ;).

But, really. Have you ever stopped to think about who Prince Charming's mom was? 

This is my conclusion of my thoughts the last few weeks: There are millions of girls out there looking for their "prince" or "man of their dreams". Well, it's MY awesome and scary responsibility to raise men for three young ladies who are waiting for them. It's my job as a mom of boys to raise a loving, respectful, honest, and trustworthy man of God. A man who WILL be someone's dream. 

I know that there are a few cases where a good man develops from a bad parenting/home situation, but for the most part, a good man is a direct reflection of how he is raised and what he is taught. 

So, I've developed a list of things that I think are important for my sons to know and I'm writing this down as a challenge to myself to try my best to instill these qualities in them. There are obviously are more things to list, but I'm just sticking to 10 for now. 

1) Love God above all else and trust Him as their Savior
2) Respect all women in his life. Me, grandmothers, aunt, teachers, classmates, his wife, and the list could go on and on.
3) Be unselfish. Go the extra mile to help others. 
4) Be a good listener. 
5) Be a good friend. 
6) Stand up for what he believes in.
7) Be honest and trustworthy
8) Let his children know that his relationship with their mom comes first and love her unconditionally. BE the man of her dreams. 
9) Be there for his kids. Don't let a job or any hobby become priority over spending time with them and teaching them. 
10) Have a good work ethic. 

As I sit here I'm thinking of all the ways my little men will be called upon to lead one day. They may be faced with a situation to take a stand against in school, even if it means being mocked for it. They will need to know how to be a leader in the classroom, in the workforce, in their homes, in their churches,etc. There are so many things that my men will be asked to do and my prayer is that they step up to these challenges with confidence. That they will accept Christ at a young age and use that relationship with Him to grow into the men God has called them to be. I only hope I don't do too much damage as a mom to hinder that! 

Lord, help me to be the mom you need me to be and to have the wisdom to know how to raise these boys to be vessels used by You. That they will lead God-fearing lives and that the woman you have for them will see them as the man of her dreams. Amen. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Our influence

Well, it's been a while............between being pregnant and building/moving/selling houses, I've barely been keeping it above water. 
Lately though, I've been challenged alot with my parenting skills (or lack thereof!) and have heard things that have been inspirational to me. So, I thought I'd share! Friday's are always self-proclaimed "casual days (aka pajama days)" in our house, so I get a little more down time :) 

I'm in a class on Wednesday nights at my church called "Awana at Home" and it's to help parents with kids in Awana know how exactly to make our home a spiritual place and how much of our responsibility it is to teach our kids the Bible and how to know the Lord...not just rely on our churches. It's been eye-opening to REALLY think on how much responsibility we have been given! 
We, as parents, have the God-given influence to tear down or build up our kids. Wow. Just to think that my words could have such a big influence in the whole life of my little one is very humbling. The example was given of a little girl being in school one day...a boy comes up to her and says "You are so ugly. Nobody will ever love you." Of course she cries, runs to her friends, etc. Then, however, she comes home from school and when she walks in the door her DAD says, "You are so ugly. Nobody will ever love you." WHOA. Can you imagine the devastation...and do you see the difference?? Parents have such an influence on our kids and how their lives are shaped. 

Then yesterday morning at my local MOPS (Mothers Of PreSchoolers) meeting, our speaker, Dan Thyng, challenged us with having an eternal perspective on life and how much that can change our outlook at the trials we face. Our ultimate goal, as Christian parents, should be to bring our children up in the Lord and hopefully witness their realization of the need as Christ as their Savior. Don't lose sight of that goal. The daily grind seems so often to get in the way of what our true goal and perspective should be. 

My challenge to you (and myself!).....
When a problem with our kids comes up (whether it's disciplinary, not sleeping, sickness, etc.), we are quick to jump on the internet or consult friends to ask for help - to better ourselves on how to handle the situation. Think of this in terms of the spiritual condition of our kids...and do the same thing! Read books, take a class if it's offered by your church, talk to other moms you look up to in this regard, pray....whatever you can to help yourself make your home a spiritual place of discipleship for your kids. 'Cause in the end...isn't that what's it's all about?!? 

I'm so grateful for this reminder in my life and as I continue in the daily grind, I pray that God equips me to make my home a spiritual help to my boys. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What matters most...

It's been a dreary day outside today, which sums up how I feel on the inside. Feelings of inadequacy and failure have creeped all over me today. It's been a few weeks coming that these feelings have been growing, but between laying around all day cause of not feeling the best and the weather, it's quickly overtaken me. 

As I sit here there are piles of clean laundry begging to be folded and put away, even more laundry in the hampers needing washed, dishes to be done, floors to be swept and mopped, stuff everywhere....yeah not great. Not to mention it's almost dinner time and nothing has been set out so I'm getting ready to go on the hunt for who knows what to cook for dinner. I could probably go on and on about the thing that need to be done and ways that I feel like a complete failure at this whole mom and wife thing. 

I think one of the things that irritates me the most is never feeling like I have enough energy to do anything. To you miracle moms out there that work all day, take care of kids, feed your family and still somehow maintain a clean home all the time...oh and don't forget those pinterest crafts...yeah, please share your secret! There are days that I do get wild hairs and actually accomplish alot, but most days I just feel like I'm barely getting by. 

Today, though, in the midst of my sulking, a thought came to mind that - although it hasn't made the messy house and laundry go away - has somewhat put things back into perspective. 

No matter how much you feel like you fail and how many inadequacies you see in yourself, as long as you LOVE your kids with all you have and they have that security of a loving family, the rest of that fades away. Your kids will always look up to you and love you more than you could ever realize. You are their hero, whether you think it or not.
Last night I was tucking Adam in bed and as he was laying there he didn't want me to leave and just kept asking for more hugs and kisses. He didn't ask for me to clean his room, or get upset cause his clothes weren't put away...all he cared about was hugs and kisses from his mommy. To know that he is loved and I'm always there for him.

So if you ever feel down and discouraged, I hope this thought will help bring you out of that pit. Our job as moms is to love our family. If you are doing that, you are an amazing mom :) 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Invest in your children...

Well it's been FOREVER since I've posted. Yikes! We are mid-way through summer now and I have no idea where the month of June went. I will have to say, it was a pretty good month tho! 

The thought I have for today's blog is about taking time out for yourself -- either alone, or more importantly with your husband. There is no quicker way to get burnt out and not do a great job at something, when you put all you have into your kids, your home, etc. and don't take a little bit of time here and there for you and your husband. 

I was very fortunate this year to earn an all-inclusive trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for both myself and my husband for FREE. Yes, thanks to the wonderful business I sell products for -- Scentsy. They offer incentive trips for all consultants every year and I was blessed to earn it for both of us! Anyway, I cannot tell you enough how great this trip was for my marriage. We are in the middle of ALOT of stress (I don't think I can emphasize that enough) with trying to finish the construction on our new home, sell our current home, plus take care of two crazy boys and live life in between. The week we spent in the DR was so relaxing but even more amazing just to spend the time with just my husband. I felt like we were on our honeymoon! 

On our honeymoon in Costa Rica -- August 2005

Dominican Republic -- June 2012

But, my point is -- take time to be with your husband! It doesn't have to be a week long trip and it doesn't even have to be to anywhere exotic. Just a date night to get you started...or a one night stay in a cabin somewhere...or even go camping together (that's free!). But honestly -- didn't you get married to be with your husband?? I know I did! I couldn't WAIT to get our life together started. But yes, then LIFE happens...and all of the sudden you are so busy you realized you've gone a whole day without even kissing him....that was the first thing I thought about when we were dating!! haha. I know I have to check myself sometimes. It's SO hard, especially with younger children that really do need you all the time, to not forget that our husbands need us too. Sometimes it means sacrificing a few minutes here and there to leave them a note, or fix a special breakfast, or whatever it might be. But, I can guarantee you, it will be worth it! Not only for your marriage, but for your kids. Just think of time spent with your husband and doing things for him as an investment in your children. There's nothing better than for kids to grow up in a home with a Godly marriage as a model for them. Yes, they will see you make mistakes, nobody is perfect, but they will always know that you put your marriage first and made it a secure, happy home for them. 

My parents did (and still do) a great job of this. I always knew that they were a team and that they loved each other, which made growing up in my house a great thing. And I'm very thankful now, too, that I'm married, they don't mind to watch my children so that my husband and I can hang out together. They realize the importance of it and it's awesome to have that kind of support. 

So, think about this with your own kids. Invest in your marriage and by doing so, you will invest in your children. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Birthday burnout

Well, I can't believe it, but my youngest just turned 2 yesterday. Since the moment he came into the world, it seems like Dylan has been on fast speed....beginning with how fast he came! (contractions at 2am, born at 5:29 a.m....yeah, it was fast.)
And, boy, was he in party mode when we had his party Sunday. He hardly sat still to do anything, but he was having a BLAST. And, I'm so glad!!! I wanted it to be a fun day for HIM.

(S'mores face!)

Since having kids, I've quickly learned how much pressure can be put on a mom to have the biggest and best parties for their kids. Complete with all the matching decor, perfectly themed food, a schedule of activities for the kids, etc. It's exhausting! You see pictures on Facebook or "pins" on Pinterest of all these wonderful ideas your friends did and wonder to yourself....1) when do they have time to do that?!? 2) why are they so crafty and I can't draw a stick man? or 3) I could never afford to do all that for my kids....I guess they will always be disappointed. 
Well, if that's where you set the mark of what you want out of a party, then yeah, your child AND you will always be disappointed. Obviously there is nothing wrong with having everything perfectly themed and great...but I just know for me, that stuff doesn't come as naturally to me as it does for some people and I'm tired of putting pressure on myself all because of what my friends and family will think. After all, it's for our kids anyway, right?!? If they had fun, then the party was a success! 

For Dylan's party it was all about cows...I ordered him a shirt, some cow balloons, some cute plates, spray painted white tablecloths with black spots, and tried to buy Cowtails at SAM's, but they were sold out (??). I put out a pool full of bubbles and the kids went to town in it! That's it :) Well, the food, but we have to have food! :)

(Dylan with his big cow balloon)

All this to say...I did what I felt comfortable doing for his party without feeling stressed and overwhelmed. It's no fun when mom and dad can't enjoy the party because they are too stressed! Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Make sure that the kids realize that the party itself is a gift from you, as well. There are still plenty of children for whom a party is not the norm. My husband still has a hard time getting used to all the fuss we (I) put into parties and gifts, because that's not how he grew up. And that's ok. He's no worse off for it...;) 

Happy birthday little D! :) 

Also, I wanted to post this link to our pastor's sermon from Mother's Day. It wasn't your "typical" Proverbs 31 was titled "The Imperfect Mom". When you have about 30 minutes, give it a listen. :) Very encouraging.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Laundry wars

Thanks to everyone for the encouraging words from my first blog. :)

As I was doing laundry yesterday, Dylan (my youngest, almost 2 yr-old!), came pouncing into the laundry room. And yes, I literally mean pouncing, because the kid never just slowly walks anywhere. It's always a jump, run, pounce, or sprint wherever he goes. Anyway, that's not the point. He came in and one of my biggest annoyances is that the kids love to come in the laundry room and crowd me while I'm trying to get things done. But, I resisted the urge to scoot him back out the door and let him stay. He quickly saw that I was folding the big pile in the basket, so he wanted to help. Well, his idea of helping was throwing each piece as hard as he could towards me, then watch me fold it, put it in the stack it went in, and then repeating til the whole pile was gone. And yes, there were a few socks I didn't catch that ended up behind the dryer.....oh well....I'll see those in a few months! ha! 
Here's the point. Would it have been easier for me to just tell him to leave so that I could work quicker? Of course! Have I done that before? Plenty of times! But for this time I chose to let him help in his unusual way. I caught myself thinking...what can it hurt? He is obviously wanting to help and do it in a fun way. 

I attend our MOPS group at church (Mothers of PreSchoolers). Our speaker a few weeks ago was our pastor, John King. Something he said really stuck with me. He said, "When it's not impossible, say yes." When your kids want to sleep in their clothes instead of pajamas....what's it gonna hurt?? Say yes! When they want to go outside and it's beautiful but you don't want to and have 1,000 things to get done inside. Leave it and go play...tell them yes! When they want you to cover them with every possible blanket in the house before going to bed even though it's 80 degrees outside...say yes! It's not worth the fight and you can always go in and take them off after they are asleep so they don't die from heat stroke (ha!). And yes, we've had this request many times. 
So, yeah, it took me a bit longer to fold that one particular basket of laundry, but it got done and I also felt that I'd gotten a victory in the mommy department (for the fleeting moment that it was). Dylan needed to feel like he helped and I also was not just constantly telling him "no!". I think sometimes we say no, just because it's not convenient for US, not because we have a good reason. 

So my thought for today: When it's not impossible, say yes!

In the beginning....there was a girl who was scared to death about the responsibility of being a wife (first!) and then a mom. Now there are two little ones who rely on her for everything they need and think the world of her. Little do they know that she is still that scared girl, just hoping she brings them up to honor the Lord and doing the best she can, though her failures seem to outweigh her positive contributions. Thankfully for her, they don't see that, and at the end of the day (no matter how bad the day was!),  they wrap their arms around her and tell her they love her. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The beginning...

Well, I've decided to start a blog. I know, I know...if my mom and husband read this they are probably already cringing :). Like I need something else to do! But, I've decided to get back into writing. Now, don't expect any amazing grammatical phrases or words; this is just a blog! I do, however, need this I think mainly to encourage myself! 
This blog is going to be about life as a mom...whether you are a stay-at-home all the time mom, a working mom, or somewhere in the middle (I've been all!), then my goal is that if you choose to read this, you will come away with at least one encouraging thought that will encourage you in your life as a mom and wife. At times, I'm going to be very open and honest about life in the Jones household, but how else are you going to relate?...cause don't go acting like things in YOUR house are perfect! haha! 

Now I certainly do not have any credentials when it comes to being a mom, and therefore will be using thoughts that have encouraged ME in this journey. It's been 3 1/2 years that I've been doing this and never before in my life have I been stretched and pushed so much. Yes, physically, I've gone through much worse (Coach O'Neal's workouts, college basketball pre-season workouts, having babies (!!), etc.), but that's not the kind of stretching and pushing I'm talking about. Being a mom requires things from a woman that is like no other job. The mental and spiritual toll it brings is exhausting! And it's not something you can just leave at the office :). 

So my hope is to write a thought at least a couple times a week (probably more at first and then it'll drop off...haha!). But, I need to do this for myself and hope that you as a reader will be encouraged from it, as well. 

My thought for the day: Yesterday was a rough day in my household. From the minute they were eating their cereal, my kids were just bent on making MESSES. I walked into the room to find Lucky Charms all over the living room floor and couch (yes, my kids eat their breakfast watching TV, don't judge). I won't bore you with all the various ways they chose to irritate me, but they did and my reaction wasn't pretty. At the end of the day, I was so flustered and FURIOUS with myself that I just brokedown. No, it's not always like that around here, so I got to thinking what had changed yesterday to make it such a hard day....and you know what? It was ME! Not my kids. I mean, yeah, they made the messes, didn't listen, got put in timeout 20,000 times, but that stuff isn't usually much different from day to day...the difference yesterday was me and the way I reacted. Stress from other issues spilled over and got the best of me and ruined the day for all 3 of us. My husband is probably very thankful he didn't get home until late!! So, I encourage you to watch your reactions and attitudes carefully because it can affect way more than just yourself. Our kids see that and feed off of it...and also might start to think that yelling and flying off the handle is how they should react to things too! 

Ok, well all my blogs won't be this long, but thanks for reading. 

In the beginning....there was a girl who was scared to death about the responsibility of being a wife (first!) and then a mom. Now there are two little ones who rely on her for everything they need and think the world of her. Little do they know that she is still that scared girl, just hoping she brings them up to honor the Lord and doing the best she can, though her failures seem to outweigh her positive contributions. Thankfully for her, they don't see that, and at the end of the day (no matter how bad the day was!),  they wrap their arms around her and tell her they love her.