Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blog Party Post: Day 3: My Journey through Motherhood


On July 18, 1985 at 4:33 am, something happened that changed my life forever! I gave birth to my first child -- a beautiful daughter with a head full of dark black hair! When I held her soft, cuddly body in my arms, and breathed in deeply of that precious newborn smell, I was smitten! My life changed immediately! I was overcome with Love and Protectiveness for this helpless little daughter of mine. For some mothers, this does not happen immediately. They seem to grow into their new role, but for me, my focus, my priorities, my perspective on life all changed instantaneously when I held my own flesh and blood in my arms and realized she was Mine to love and raise!


I stayed home with little Tiffany for three months, all the while dreading my inevitable return to work as a Technical Writer. I was devastated by the thought of leaving her!! I just couldn't bear the thought of leaving my precious baby in the care of a stranger! However, we could not afford for me to to quit my job at that time. Fortunately, I was able to negotiate a part-time position, which made it a little more bearable.


I worked part time for the next year or so. Many would say that I had the "best of both worlds" during that time, but honestly, I just wanted to be home with my daughter! I was captivated by her, and didn't want to miss a moment of her development! Also, my heart was turning more and more towards Home, and I really wanted to spend all my time and energy making a home for my little family!


When Tiffany was two, I gave birth to my second daughter, Ashlyn, and my heart was overflowing with Joy over having two precious daughters to love! After Ashlyn's birth, I had the opportunity to work from home for the same company. They set me up with a computer at home, so I could proofread and edit the computer manuals, that I had previously helped write. This worked well for a couple of years, and brought in some extra income, but eventually I got pregnant with my third child, started homeschooling, and the needs of the company changed; so that chapter of my life came to an end.


Actually, what happened was that because of the amazing advances in technology, the computer manuals that I had labored over, that were my "babies" in a sense, were now all obsolete!!! They were all relegated to dusty spots on out-of-the-way bookshelves!!!! I can't tell you how this turn of events impacted me! When I learned that everything I had poured my life into for the past few years was now obsolete, worthless, I knew that I wanted to pour my life into something that would last! My children are eternal souls, and I knew that if I poured my energy and creativity into shaping their lives, that it would never be worthless or a waste of my time!!!! So, this was a major turning point in my life.


During this time of my life, a book that really shaped my thinking was The Heart Has Its Own Reasons by Mary Ann Cahill. An old, out-of-print LLL publication, this book really encouraged me to pursue mothering with my all of my heart and to look for ways to live more economically in order to make ends meet on one income. This sentence from the book was so true for me -- "Becoming a mother is unlike almost any experience, and it is impossible for a woman to know beforehand how deeply the experience will affect her. Until your baby is born and in your arms, nursing at your breast, you cannot know what it means to have a child, and then to leave your child."




Another book that greatly influenced me in my early years of mothering was What's a Smart Woman Like You Doing at Home? by Linda Burton, Janet Dittmer, and Cheri Loveless. These women founded an organization called Mothers at Home and published a newsletter called Welcome Home. They wrote, "At a time when women have a host of attractive options, they are consciously choosing to devote their exceptional skills and good minds to nurturing their families. And they are doing it by spending as much time as possible at home."


Thus, my early years of mothering were spent wrestling with my desire to turn my heart toward home, the process of weaning from my technical writing career, and the adjustments my husband and I had to make to become a one-income family in a two-income world.


During this time I learned to view motherhood as a privilege and high calling from God and embraced it with my whole heart! I spent a lot of time reading and learning how to be a wise and godly mother and how to keep my home. I also read a lot about home schooling and child training over the next few years, all of which influenced the type of mother I was to become.


In general, I feel comfortable with more of an attachment style of parenting, but not to the extreme that some might take that concept. Many tried to turn me into an Ezzo-Mom, but that ended up being a burden that weighed me down and kept me from enjoying my babies. It didn't feel natural to me to have to consult the clock and his Preparation for Parenting "bible" before I knew if my baby should be sleeping, eating, or playing. So, through some trial and error, I eventually settled into my own mothering style, which falls somewhere between the child-centered LLL philosophy and the authoritarian approach of the Ezzos! I learned that I didn't have to follow any one philosophy to have my children turn out well, and that as you have a new baby, you just learn to tuck them into your busy life and keep going!


When it comes to child training, I've read most of the books that Michelle recommended. I definitely learned a lot from Reb Bradley's Child Training Tips: What I Wish I Knew When My Children Were Young. I also love Ted Tripp's Shepherding a Child's Heart and Lou Priolo's The Heart of Anger. These are all excellent books that have helped me better train my children.


Actually, I think that Michael Pearl influenced me a lot with his no-nonsense, common sense style to child training, coupled with the emphasis on Tying Heart Strings with your children. I think that is one of the most important things!!! The Bible teaches that love covers a multitude of sins! When there is a rich, loving relationship between parent and child, a lot of mistakes will be covered, and the children will have a desire to please their parents -- and that is more than half the battle!


Being a mother is not easy. Mothering has never been a simple task. Every generation of mothers faces a unique set of challenges. Today, one of the challenges faced by mothers is the general societal disdain for mothers and homemakers and the lack of older women to come along side and teach the younger women how to mother their children and how to keep their homes. Then, there is just the simple exhaustion and weariness that affect all mothers everywhere.


For me, surrounding myself with encouraging articles, books, CDs, DVDs, websites and blogs helps to keep me encouraged and inspired as a mother. I try to always keep an encouraging book on my bedside table, and one in my book bag that I grab whenever I go to a doctor's visit or baseball practice or on a road trip. That way I can redeem any time spent waiting by encouraging myself as a mother and keeper at home. I also love to listen to encouraging tapes and CDs while driving, folding laundry, and ironing.


These are my current Favorite books on Mothering -- A Mom Just Like You by Vickie Farris, The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson, and Seasons of a Mother's Heart by Sally Clarkson.







Whenever I'm scraping the bottom, I usually grab Seasons of a Mother's Heart or A Mom Just Like You, pour a cup of tea, curl up in a chair, and start "sampling" the book. By that, I mean that I don't read the entire book, but just sections here and there, and I always reread my favorite passages that I have highlighted and re highlighted and underlined!


As busy mothers, we need to find a time and way to refill our tanks!! We all find refreshment in different ways. Like my favorite writer, Sally Clarkson, I need reflective time alone to refill my spiritual tank.


Sally explains, "I need regular moments in my life like that morning walk, times of refreshment and restoration that fill up the spiritual well in my heart that is too often left dry by the spirit-draining hustle and bustle of contemporary life. If I don't take care to keep it filled, I soon find I have no spiritual refreshment to give to those God has put into my life, especially to my always-thirsty children. . . . I cannot keep giving out without taking in. . . . As a homeschooling mother, keeping my well filled up with restful waters is not always an easy task. I am constantly drawing from it to minister to my children who are always with me, to keep my home-domain in order, to feed and clothe my family, and to be a helper to my husband. In the same way that Jesus often retreated from the needy crowds to spend time alone with God, I realize I need to get away from the needy crowd in my home to be with the Lord, and to draw from his restful waters. He is, after all, the 'living water' that will become in those who drink of him 'a spring of water welling up to eternal life." " (From Seasons of a Mother's Heart.)



I hope this mega post has encouraged you in some way and not just given you eye strain from staring at the computer screen for too long! I'd love to hear how God meets you as a mother. What kind of vision has he given you for your children? How do you stay encouraged and inspired as a mother??





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11 comments:

Amy said...

Wonderfully written post! During my senior year at UGA I was working on a project with a small group of women; the topic turned to marriage and kids at some point in our casual conversation. Now, at that time, I had already been married and widowed, so I had already gotten to a different point in my thinking than any of these other young women on these two subjects. They were genuinely surprised to find that I was planning on quitting work to stay home and raise my (future) children. It was *unanimous* that I would be wasting my education. It was quite an eye-opening conversation for me, to see that feministic viewpoint that is so flawed. It is interesting to note that one of these women (the only one I kept in touch with over the years) did exactly the thing she said she could "never" do--she is now a stay-at-home mom and loving it.

Thank you for another bit (actually, more than a bit!) of encouragement! :)

Melinda said...

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE reading your blog! You are such an encouragement to me every time I read it! I hope that one day I can be the kind of mother that you are! Thanks for the reading tips. I have read a few of them but want to read the others. I'm making a list. Anything you say to read, I will. :)

busymomof10 said...

Believe it or not, I forgot to mention a resource that has definitely had a *huge* impact on me as a mother!!! I *love* the Above Rubies magazine put out by Nancy Campbell. She has so many wonderful resources to encourage mothers to recognize the value of what they do and to live out their high calling with purpose and joy!!! Check out:

http://www.aboverubies.org/

Lainie said...

I was a technical writer of computer manuals when my first was born, and then worked from home while pregnant with #2. I joke with my kids that 15 years ago I was a computer genius - you'd never know it today! Half of the programs I wrote about were DOS-based!

Michelle said...

Okay, You Won! But now I see you have the book that was to be given away! I figured you would. I can either send it anyway for you to give away or I could substitute 4 beautiful handmade notecards. You choose! Also, Kelly from Gen. Ced is giving you either the download or actual CD of her Scripture Songs, again you choose. Your lucky day I guess!

Email me.
Michelle

busymomof10 said...

Michelle,

I can't believe I won! I never win anything! Of course, I did win something I already have, so maybe that doesn't count!!! (wink!)

You may go ahead and send me the book, because I love to bless other mothers who are struggling
with helpful articles and books to encourage them along the way. Since I LOVE Sally Clarkson, I can't wait to share one of her wonderful books with a young mother I know!

Thanks for your generous give-away!
Elizabeth

busymomof10 said...

Lainie,

I can't believe you were a technical writer too! How neat is that??? We certainly have a lot in common!!

Elizabeth

tami said...

i too have found my mothering place in between LLL and ezzo.
i have ENJOYED reading your entries for the blog party. :)

L.H. said...

I have found this post so encouraging! When I look at your family and how much you seem to enjoy them, it makes me think about what my own might be like someday!

Tesha said...

Wonderful post!!!! I also love to grab a book I heave read and take a sample. I am thankful for all you recommendations I have read some but look forward to getting the ones I have not. I am really happy to have found your blog, you have a beautiful family!

busymomof10 said...

Thank you! I am grateful for the positive feedback! :)

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