Friday, October 19, 2012

A Mother Knows

If you are here looking for Thankful Thursday, please visit Lisa's blog


Being the mom I want to be for me, right now, means spending time with my girls as much as possible.

It means giving them the tools that they need to survive in this world.

it's not easy.

My girls are ten and twelve. When they were younger, I always said that if I could instill faith in them, faith in something bigger than themselves, faith they can turn to when they feel vulnerable, alone and powerless...then I have done my job.

Lately that has been more apparent to me than ever.
My uncle, with whom I have ALWAYS been close is very sick.
All I can do is pray.

There has also been something going on in our little immediate family and all I can do is pray. 

Two people who rarely say things like, "Trust God" have pointed things out to me that are, quite literally, "Trust God" kinds of statements.  I get anxious and sometimes I don't remember who is in charge here or I get too afraid to just trust...but when I do things are always smoother.

When I was a teenager, my dad told me that he didn't envy me, that being a teenager in the 1980s (when I was growing up) seemed more difficult than being a teenager in the 1950s when he grew up.  Now, I feel it's gotten even more difficult.  More difficult to parent, more difficult to be a kid.  I read somewhere that decades ago parents' job was to keep their kids alive until they turned 18.  It is SO different we have to worry about college and orthodontia, technology and extracurriculars.  It's no longer enough just to feed your kids some good meals and make them responsible for chores.  When my uncle went to college in the 1950s, my grandparents had never even saved for it and were able to pay the whole $350 a semester for Fordham University for four years.  Many people have told me that their parents never really looked at their teeth unless they were in pain, as long as they could chew and talk, their teeth were doing their it's so much more about aesthetics.  When I was a kid, cell phones and internet didn't exist; my biggest debate with my parents was trying to convince them to lay down $50 for a pair of Guess? jeans (they wouldn't; I got less expensive jeans and had to save my own money for the Guess? jeans).  There were not nearly as many extracurriculars when I was a kid--and now while I am glad that there are so many options for extracurriculars, sometimes it all just adds a layer of stress to our lives that our mothers never had.

One thing remains constant, though, about parenthood.  The good parents - okay, so I am passing a bit of judgement here - the good parents teach their kids how to navigate this.  We need to teach our kids to make decisions for themselves and not just follow what everyone else is doing.  We don't need to have everything everyone else has and sometimes we need to work hard for those Guess? jeans or that cell phone or whatever.  Appearance is only so important, what is inside matters more.  These are the hard lessons of parenthood, for as hard as they may be for our children, sometimes they are harder on us as we want to give our children every single blessed advantage...but are we really giving them advantages if we don't make them work for things or if we allow them to covet what others have?  Are we really giving them advantages if we buy them a cell phone because everyone else has one?  Are we really giving them advantages if we don't think about our family and what is right for us and teach them about budget and living authentically and intentionally?

It's much, much easier to give in.  It's hard work to say no and stick to it or to make it into a discussion where you get your kids to think about what is best for THEM.  Both of my girls are becoming more aware of their bank accounts lately.  I used to just deposit any money they received for gifts, now I let them keep half and make them write out the deposit slip for half.  Allie had a little job this summer and she is working as a mother's helper this year, so she puts half of her pay each week into the bank and can keep half.  Recently we had a discussion because one of the girls wanted to buy something, but realized if they bought it, they wouldn't have money for something else.  They had to really think about it...was it really what they wanted?  Was it important?  How much would they use it? Would this take money away from something else they would use more?  I want my girls to think of these things and learn to manage money.  I want to raise my girls to think for themselves and do what is right for them not just follow the status quo.