Monday, May 4, 2015

Do You Ever Feel a Mom's Fight Out?

    (2014 Repost) It’s 11:40 p.m. I just came home into a quiet house with everyone asleep. The beautifully dim light accentuates my favorite aspects of this house. But after ten seconds my mind went back to reality as I walked from the garage to the bedroom. I had thoughts race through my mothering mind within a matter of minutes, “What is that foul smell? Whew. Yuck. It can wait til morning…Did the kids and Scotty really need all those dishes tonight, especially when I ordered pizza? Oh, there are my Haiti sponsor letters that I have never mailed. I need to do that.  And I forgot to get medicine picked up. Bummer. She is totally out. Well, what’s one day with a kid with no meds? Wait, I should go first thing and get it. Should I go kiss and check on all the children? Better not, they may stir and need me. Not worth it. Who’s underwear is in the middle of the foyer and why? I am hungry, but not sure why since I had a salad and an entrĂ©e then frozen custard. Maybe I should ignore the hunger.Should I wash my face? I am too tired but I know I need to…and floss...and shower…and wash my hair…and shave. Ugh. I can’t do all that. So, I will just get my makeup off then maybe brush my teeth after I go eat some cereal. I need to read the papers the school sent home. And is tomorrow the last day for teacher appreciation?! I need to write thank you notes! How am I going to do that plus pack for our weekend trip and go to Wal-mart and take a shower…and make my bed…and read my Bible…and parent the kids, and answer Facebook messages…and bring the trash can in…and take all my vitamins…and clean the foul smell coming from the mound of dishes…and redo the load of laundry in the dryer that is now wrinkled and ruined from setting...and put gas in the car and, of course, exercise then all the other things that come in a day that I have to leave by 2:00 p.m.? And where did I put my wedding ring when I took it off? Ugh. Breathe. This is not the time for a panic attack.” This was all while my fabulous five were sleeping. Imagine what it can be like when they all wake up, and even more so, when I give birth to my 6th one here in a matter of weeks. Being a mother takes a lot

     Trust me, I LOVE motherhood. I have embraced motherhood. God has miraculously turned this “worst babysitter ever” that “didn’t like her first child” into a redeemed mama soul that is thrilled to be obedient in raising the people God has given her. They are precious and priceless. They are worth every minute of selfless living. It’s just that all the logistics that come with mothering can sometimes get in the way of my heart. I have to have a mom’s fight out mentally and emotionally to feel what I know to be the true core of who I am as a mother.
My mom and I out to the movies tonight!
     And I know there are others of me out there feeling this same way. In fact, tonight, I saw the new witty comedy Moms’ Night Out movie. It. Was. Awesome. My mom and I sat through the whole thing either laughing, crying, or saying, “That is sooooo how it is!” The movie completely revealed the same mental, emotional, and even spiritual battles that we plunge through on a daily basis in our mom-fight. For me, seeing a highly-produced movie about moms and their challenges on the big screen made me want to stand and yell out, “I LOVE THIS! I LIVE THIS!” while wondering if the person who wrote the script can be my new best friend.  I recommend the movie to anyone who is a mother or who has a mother because it humorously reveals the deep-rooted concerns in the chaos.    

     Being a mother is hard. It’s a fight. And yet, I believe it’s a fight we can win with the Lord’s help. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t rely on your own ability. Stop trying to be strong enough. The house will always need work. The paper stack will always grow. The children will always need something. Choose to hand it over to the Lord in your heart and how you think. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13. Discontent? The grass is just as itchy on the other side. Escaping will only mask the core issue for a season. Take time to learn what Paul did in Phil. 4:11 “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” He didn’t have it naturally but learned it. Contentment will come when we are living in obedience. If we are right with God then we can rest instead of wondering if we should be somewhere else doing something else. If He wanted us to make a change, we would know.  Insecure? We know that Satan loves to lie. He loves to tell us we aren’t good enough and can’t do what we need to do. Only believe what the Lord says about you. He says, “I give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29. If God made the child then He will strengthen to parent the child as well. Guilty? All of us have things we regret as mamas but not forgiving ourselves and re-playing our mistakes keeps us in bondage. But Christ said, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9. Be free! Ask for forgiveness, do what you can to make it right then move on! If not, then you are saying God’s forgiveness isn’t enough so you still have to carry it. Mentally overloaded? “God will keep you in perfect peace when your mind stays on Him, because you trust Him.” Isaiah 26:3 Relax. God has the world under control. Take a deep breath. Rest in Him. Whether it is a sick child, a stray-hearted child, family changes, financial burdens, or marriage issues, we may have to walk through the hardship, but the Lord gives us peace as we trust Him to bring us through with His wisdom.

     No matter what the mom-fight is for you, you can win. We win with the power and help of the Lord. We aren’t alone in this journey! There are millions of us doing all we can to mother and God will help every single one us. Now, I can let all my late-night mom’s fight out thoughts go, and just rest in a the fond memories of the Moms’ Night Out movie. Much love and prayers to all my mothering friends...and go see the movie!
www.momsnightoutmovie.com
  

How to Lead a Cousins (or Friends) Camp!

Woo-hoo! We just recently completed our 5th Annual Cousin's Camp! I gathered all first cousins who are 4 and older to make some major life-time memories. From the first-class greetings, to opening ceremonies, games and prizes, mini-group, and water fun we lived it up for yet another successful year of bonding. Here is a highlight video from this past month at Cousins Camp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WOSnGRN6fg


     After some thought, I decided that anything to lead and love children is worth sharing. Perhaps this will offer you some creative ideas to build relationships with the children in your world whether biological, extended, adopted, friends, neighbors, little ones you mentor etc. The main reasons we get together is to make an extra effort beyond birthdays and holidays (those are so busy) to grow in God, to have both sides of the family making memories, and for them to know their Aunt Casey loves them! Here is the schedule we use but adapt for your own interest and needs:


We keep the activities to two days and each day goes from 10-3:00. This is just enough time to do everything and yet not too much when things would get a little crazy.


10:00 WELCOME Greet outside with lots of energy and random instruments while cheering their name and making a tunnel. We do this until all arrive. Then we let the kids choose if they want to get their face painted which is done by a big kid or one of the helpers. Helpers are someone like an adult friend, relative, or teen. This year I had three helpers bc I am pregnant and also had 14 kids at the house…in addition, I decided I better have two camps next time bc the age gaps between the 4 yr olds and the 10-11 yr olds as well as the amount of kids! But it was fun!


10:15 OPENING CEREMONIES We gather around for the pledge to the American flag, then we circle up for a Cousins Camp Cheer (“We’re cousins! We’re cousins! We always stick together! I am with you, you are with me, its Cousins Camp Forever!”) then we put on some dance music and do a dance together (Electric Slide or something similar that is fun and easy).


10:30 BIBLE CHAT TIME There is a theme each year and we talk about a concept such as trusting the Lord, prayer, living a pure life, and learning what truth is in life. I lead the lesson and pass a balla round for each child to hold when it’s their turn to talk. We act out the lesson or use props to prove the point. It is the most valuable time of the whole camp as the children share their hearts and insights. Then we close with prayer requests and I remind them about being wise and choosing God no matter what life brings their way.


11:00 CRAFT TIME Anything from decorating t-shirts to stuffing panty hose with cotton and drawing faces to make long snakes, this is just a fun activity.


11:30 GAMES These games are easy and fun. We have two teams with equal ages on each if possible so older can help the younger. These games have included through the years tossing balls into buckets, throwing popcorn into mouths, playing Pictionary, guessing what items are missing from a tray or wrapping up in toilet paper races etc. The final game leads up one big game on day two such as a scavenger hunt for a treasure box with real coins or an obstacle course.


12:00 LUNCH BREAK


12:30 FREE TIME outdoors with sprinklers or set up pools, bikes, chalk, swingset etc.


2:00 SNACK TIME and sometimes we combine one of our girls bday celebrations during this part if the camp falls during a bday. We eat and open presents on Day 1. For Day 2, we do snack then give out awards for each child with a certificate or medal or trophy to acknowledge something special about each one. This year, due to rain, we had to move Freetime and snack to an indoor community swim area so I sent a picture with awards on it in the mail later.


2:45 PACK UP All kids gather their items and do a cleanup so the house isn’t too messy and moms don’t have to wait at pickup.


These years of effort have been worth every minute and I hope it inspires you to connect with the children in your life before they grow up and go their own ways. It truly is a gift to have influence and time with the heart of a child. ENJOY!





Sunday, May 3, 2015

Time for Myself




     One of the things that shocked me about motherhood is that I am never off the clock. Its eternal. Seriously. Most things end but not mothering. School lets out for the summer and everyday at a certain time. A job has certain hours plus vacation days. But not being a mother. There is no time clock. There is no vacation. There is no stopping point. Ever.

      After much frustration, I have learned I can't compartmentalize my mothering. I literally would say "I am off the clock. Its past 8:00 pm and I am not responding." This didn't really work. First of all because Scotty said it was ridiculous and second of all because my girls didn't stop needing me at bedtime.

      So if you can't beat them, join them. That means that I am in it for life. I have decided that these little people are my new best friends. (Don't worry, I don't mean I won't lead them and fall into some crazy philosophy that children need us to be friends instead of parents.)When I became a parent I became a mother for LIFE. Plus, now that I have accepted the children as a part of life, I have much more joy enjoying them.  


Even though I am very "pro-motherhood" and "pro-be-with-children-more", I also have a plan to maintain some time alone:

     1. I get up before the children do so I can get a good attitude, eat, get dressed, read my Bible, stretch, go to the bathroom (a luxury once they are awake), and write out the schedule on the marker board. If I have a newborn then this plan is out the window and I let other things go in life so I can make it through the first three months.

     2. No one is allowed to get up before 8:00 unless they are capable of not talking, needing anything, and staying out of the way and it better be for a good reason. That is, of course, after I greet them lovingly (which isn't easy but this post may help...

http://realifecasey.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-first-five-minutes.html). 
     Otherwise, when they get up before 8 I greet them and send them back to bed to read or play quietly until I come get them. For the toddler that gets up at 7:00, I change a diaper and give a drink while they stay in their bed and it buys me about 20 min. Then, I go in and turn on the light and turn off the noise maker and give books and toys, that buys me another 20 min, and then I send an older sibling in to play for  with them which buys me the last 20 min of time until 8:00. It isn't perfect but it works most of the time.

     3. Everyone takes an hour break in the middle of the day. It doesn't matter if you are 10 yrs old, we are all taking a break. Everyone goes to their own bed or if I am gracious some can rest in the living room with no talking. If you are 4 and under you must sleep. If you are 5 and older and can make it through the day without meltdowns then you can just have quiet time. Books, drawing pads (no markers or crayons), magnet boards, puzzles etc are allowed.

     4. Everyone goes with Daddy at 8:00 pm. Scotty takes over after I do after baths/showers/teeth for the girls. This allows me time alone until we get our couples time at 9:30 and he can bond with the children. There are exceptions like when he travels or has a message to write or is in a pastoring crisis but overall this is what we do.

     5. Date nights, nights at grandparents, and getaways are on our calendar.
(See post Staying Connected at
http://realifecasey.blogspot.com/search/label/Marriage).

      These are all the ways I keep my mind and emotions from being overwhelmed and not having time alone. This is crucial especially for those that home school or have multiple little ones. Since you are in this mothering journey for LIFE, you must have a plan to stay fresh so you can be the best mama you can be.

      P.S. We also have a rule of no needing me while I use the restroom unless its an emergency (vomit, blood, danger) and no note-passing under bathroom door asking questions either (believe it or not this is a hard one to break for my girls).

     And if you only have small children then you may just need to plan your potty break around their naps or video time or just take the baby with you in there...they won't remember it. But I don't recommend you going to the bathroom while they are eating in the kitchen because seems like every time I do this someone ironically starts choking or it is so silent I think someone is choking the whole time I am away which leads to being tense while I am away and we all know that's not healthy.
      Yeah, being a mother takes some major planning even for the little things in life like using the restroom!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Teaching People Skills


     Candice and I watched as two of my girls got out of the van and walked into the church. While holding the door, one of the pastors greeted them enthusiastically, "Hey Girls!" Much to my dismay, they didn't stop, make eye contact, speak up, or thank him for holding the door. They simply mumbled, "Hi" and kept moving. AHHHHH! That is when Candice expressed my exact thought, "People skills, people!" So when we were home, we went over how to interact with people once again.

     Your children may do the same thing...actually, I know they do the same thing because it is typical of most all children at some point. Even those that are well-trained have to be reminded from time to time. My biggest comfort was that at least one of my children noticed the lack of skills which proves they do know better. So how do we go about teaching interaction with people? For this first entry on this topic, lets start with the basics.



     1. Show them the value in others. If your children understand that each person is created by God then they will have respect to treat others as such. Have them think of every person as a handcrafted gift from God so that no matter what the person looks like or acts like or seems like, they are valued. Remind them of Ps. 139: 13-14 "For God created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Or as Judy The Manners Lady states, "Pretend each person is wearing a star that says 'Make me feel special!' " It is not about how we feel but about how the other person needs to feel.


     2. Show them the value in themselves. When children know the above about themselves then they will also see the value in using their gift of life in response to others. For those children that claim its because they are shy, its actually more about having manners than about becoming a type-A person. It only takes a moment to smile, speak up, look at someone, and show respect. I have two girls that aren't outgoing, but we do build in them the confidence from the Lord to move beyond their hinderences. They can respond to others because they are strong in themselves.  

     3. Show them how to do it. Practice!Practice! Practice! It will take years of consistent work. But you will see progress! We start the practice by talking through scenarios with the girls, then we see how they do in public. When they are younger than age 7, we may train them in front of people if they haven't had good manners in the moment. However, as they get older, we don't address them on the spot (unless we know the person extremely well) so as not to humiliate them, but we do address it first chance we are able for a better response next time.
     One of the ways we practice with the girls is by training at home in role-play. For instance, I may say, "Let's pretend you are about to meet an adult for the first time. Smile. Look at them. Extend a hand if necessary. Answer questions so people can hear you."
Another time we train, is in the car by going over what is expected before they go somewhere. "Alright, girls, what are some things to remember before you go into the store (or the church, school, bday party etc)?" Last, we train as watch others and evaluate the good and the bad. "Did anyone notice how the family you met today had a child that was rude by not answering when greeted? How did that look to you? How do you think the other person felt?"


     So if you have ever watched in dismay as your children don't respond respectfully with others, just start with some basics and practice! Before you know it, your child will see others and say, "PEOPLE SKILLS, PEOPLE!"


Monday, April 6, 2015

Mealtime Satisfaction

      It came on suddenly. Just ten days after my wedding reality hit: My husband wanted to eat every day AND he thought I would be providing the food! Me. Not his mama. Not the school cafeteria. Not the fast food places. The non-cooking girl who was so busy doing other things that she never learned how to cook is supposed to provide meals. The flash of shock was soon sobered when I realized that I was hungry too.
    And to add to the situation, we started having children before I truly conquered cooking so then I was dealing with not only what to make but also how to avoid chaos at the table. I had idealistic images in my mind of happy, thankful children gathered peacefully around the table while their parents shared life insights for 30 minutes. But all I saw in front of me were wriggly, talkative, complaining, fast-eating little people that made big messes and weren’t ready for meaningful conversation. This is not what I had envisioned with delicious meals and well-mannered children.
     So, I decided to do what any sensible woman would do...I cried a lot then I chose to conquer this thing called mealtime. In my journey to fight hunger and attain happiness in the home, there are two chicken nuggets of insight I want to pass on for those who need them:

1. Make a Simple Meal Plan with 10 Dinner Recipes. All you have to do is learn ten dinner meals to the best of your ability and use them over two weeks. Choose five categories and two meals for each category. For example, two meals that are American, two meals that are Italian, two meals that are Mexican, two meals that are crockpot, and two meals that are hearty soup/salad/bread. Voila. These will carry you for five nights a week for two weeks. The other two nights a week are for pizza, dates, or carryout. (And, of course, the ever-rewarding backup of “cereal night” is a lifesaver if you get in a pinch.)
     Pick whatever your heart desires! Choose according to 
your family's needs and time. Go online. Look at cooking 
books. Ask friends. Just focus on learning 10 main meals. Once you have this down, you are set. No need to think of 365 dinner plans. Just rotate 10. And when life changes and you are in another season with more time, you can add to your list. But for now, there is a set rotating plan with delicious food you made five nights a week.
     And what about breakfast, lunch, and snacks? These are easier to figure out. You can rotate those every week. For instance, every Monday for us is oatmeal and boiled eggs for breakfast. Cream cheese/jam wraps are for lunch with carrots and ranch, chips and applesauce. And snack is a granola bar. The same goes on for the other days of the week. Breakfast, lunch and snack are the same on certain days every week while dinner rotates every two weeks. After years of this plan, nobody has become bored and I can rest assured breakfast, lunch and dinner are covered!

2. Make Mealtime a Priority. Mealtime is primetime! One of my favorite poems is by family activist Nancy Campbell that implores, “Where can you communicate while you eat? Where can you enjoy real fellowship sweet? Where can you laugh with friends who are neat? At the table…Where can your children learn to sit still? Acquire eating habits that won’t make them ill? Be taught good manners of which some have nil? At the table…” All this and more unfolds at the table together.
     Once mealtime was determined to be an integral part of my family, the manners and methods followed. If there is school, work, or extra-curricular activities during dinner then we make plans for other meals such as lunch or breakfast together. At the very least, we look at the weekly calendar and find at least 3 mealtimes we are all together. It literally took our family a few years to conquer table time. But the optimistic side to that is while there isn’t perfection, we do enjoy meals now.
Some practical things we do to bring peace around the plates are as follows:

  1. Create a comfortable atmosphere with lighting, place settings, and music 
  2. Wait to eat until all have joined the table then give genuine thanks for the food
  3. Have adults make their plates first then have the older kids make the younger kids’ plates
  4. Consider having a minute or two of the silent game so everyone can calm down and prepare to eat peacefully
  5. Set the first few minutes for the adults to chat and the kids to listen while they eat
  6. Train for manners but do not use meals to lecture or bring up conflict (that would make anyone sick!)
  7. Ask meaningful conversation questions and have everyone listen to the answers
  8. Plan to have everyone stay at the table at least 20 minutes (although there are times I allow the toddler or baby to color or play so the rest can finish the meal).
  9. Make sure the seats are comfortable for little ones. This helps cut back on the wriggles.
  10. Have a dinner helper that gets up and down so mom doesn’t do all the work

     Yes, learning a simple meal plan and prioritizing dinner has warded off hunger and added happiness to the buffet of life in the Gibbons home.  So if you crave the same in your house, just take it one bite, or rather, one night at a time and soon you will be satisfied!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Time and Plans for Biblical Life Lessons!

     Since our precious children are totally born evil, I decided it is imperative that we have some character building time other than prayers at meals/bedtime and church during the week. Of course we still teach and train as we go, but this set aside time of the day with my girls called "Chic Chat Chocolate" (yes, we actually eat chocolate because I am bribing them into maturity) is crucial for guiding my girls from foolishness into wisdom. So we gather together with blankets and pillows along with my Bible and chocolate for some heart to heart time together in the Word.


     In this post, I listed the themes we decided we need to teach. Each theme is for a month so we can make sure we have ample time to discuss the topics. Also, we cover some of the topics again each year as they are foundational to growth and I don't want them to forget them. However, other topics/months I may change from time to time. I use books/stories, re-enactment fun play, dance, pictures, DVD clips, and any creative way I can implement. However, the creative part is minimal because they lose sight sometimes of the point and we walk away not sure what we just learned.

     Also, it will take some loving discipline to remind them to be still and pay attention. It seems like every distraction happens during this time but I am determined that this time with my girls is the CORE of all I do. This time HAS to happen most days of the week. (We do about 4 days). It is like a golden treasure in my heart! 

     There is so much to teach and such a small window of time before they are off into life on their own. But just think all the golden nuggets you would have placed in the heart of your children for them to have for years to come! What a blessed mother you will be watching them live it out by God's grace.
And I hold to this verse in 3 John 1:4 "I have no greater joy than to know my children are walking in the truth."

Prayer and worship (5min)
Scripture memory (5 min) Going over any that we know and can apply to life or reviewing some memorized in church. 
Character quality  (5min) http://www.duggarfamilyblog.com/2012/04/teaching-character-duggar-way.html
Each time I honor a child for having one of the character qualities. For now, we even give $1.oo and talk about how it pays to have character!
We don't memorize this list of verses and definitions but we do discuss them. 

Monthly Topic (15 min)
January - The Basics (worship, prayer, fasting)and the Armor of God
February - Relationships (friends, boys, parents, extended family)
March - Bible Layout (books of the Bible and their basic themes)
April - Fruit of the Spirit   (how it applies to our lives) 
May - Scripture Memory (Ten Commandments and Beatitudes)
June - Scripture Memory (The old ABC Song from Psalty and Steve Green CD)  
July - Scripture Memory (Psalm 23 or other chapters like I Cor. 13)
August - Temptation, Thought Life, Emotions (how to handle these)
September - Evangelism (loving and reaching the lost)
October - Evil vs. Good (Spiritual warfare and choosing life over death in our decisions) 
November - Thankfulness (understanding all we have to appreciate)
December - Sacrificial Giving and Attributes of God (resource list at http://www.josh.org/video-2/attributes-of-god/)

     Feel free to change up the theme of the month based on what your family needs during that time or for a theme perhaps your church is using. The goal is to have open discussion and training with those precious hearts God has given you. Make time for it! Whatever and whenever it can be, do it while you still have them with you. Every minute makes a difference! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Liking the Daughter You Love

     


     Raising a girl can be a blessing and a challenge all at once. Girls can be enjoyable and yet so difficult at times. As I think about raising daughters, lines from the song “Maria” in the classic movie The Sound of Music come to mind. “…She is gentle! She is wild! She's a riddle! She's a child! She's a headache! She's an angel! She's a GIRL!” Girls are so lovable and yet not always likable. 

     As a mother of five daughters, I certainly love them all deeply and unconditionally. But it didn’t take long to realize I didn’t necessarily always like them. For instance, one of my girls talks excessively. This little one reminds me of the continued “Maria” lyrics, “When I'm with her I'm confused, out of focus and bemused and I never know exactly where I am…” while another daughter is highly emotional and “Unpredictable as weather, she's as flighty as a feather…” The other three deal with everything from hyperactivity, “how do you make her stay, and listen to all you say…” to overly opinionated, “many a thing you know you ought to tell her…” to stubbornness “…many a think she ought to understand.
    So, assuming there may be another mother out there that has admitted she doesn’t always like her daughter, here are a couple of things that are helping me on this journey of liking my lovables. First off, choose to like her. The story of old “Mr. Jones” comes to mind. After his wife passed away, Mr. Jones needed to move into a nursing facility. Upon arrival, the nurse walked him down the hall on his way to his room. She said, “Mr. Jones, we have prepared the room for you and we will see how things are when you get there.” He answered, “I already like it!” “But you haven’t seen it.” “No, but I have decided that I will like it!” And we can do the same as mothers. We can decide to have the attitude of accepting our children no matter what. This resolve can drive us steadily forward through the challenges that may lie ahead. I am determined to like my girls.
     Secondly, remind yourself how undesirable you have been. I can think of dozens of my behaviors that weren’t what they should have been. I don’t even know how my dear mother made it through all my questions in elementary school, my emotions in junior high, and my dominating attitude in high school. Furthermore, as an adult, I still have moments of less-than-admirable actions. None of us are completely likeable at all times. This very thought causes me to give grace to my daughters. And just as most of us know when we are being unacceptable, our children may be in tune with their own awareness of their behaviors yet may not be mature enough to know how to handle it or stop.     This leads to a third step of taking time to communicate in order to work through issues. While it is necessary to decide to like our girls and beneficial to remind our self of our own shortcomings, this doesn’t mean we just move on and let things go as they are. In fact, this is a prime time to face the issues at hand in order to gain understanding. Listen. Ask questions. Engage with her emotions. Then, share your feelings and thoughts so that she can see how her actions are affecting others and how she can improve. Sometimes we need to confront the unlikeable as we lead our girls. It may take time and several attempts but they are listening and most girls do want to know how they can be the best they can be.
  In fact, my mom and I had a talk like this just a few years. She and I were frustrated with each other. So, we talked it out. It took three hours and many tears to work through how she thought I was controlling and I thought she was careless but it worked. We both ended it feeling understood. And we also knew we both had things to work to improve.
     Finally, when all has been done, think outside your own personality. Sometimes we just don’t like our daughter because she has a different personality. There are some things about girls that are a part of who they are! I am amazed at how my five girls can all be born within seven years and each can be so unique! I have had to accept that while some things need to be changed, there are other things that are just personality.
    For example, one night I burned the rice at dinner but served it anyway to see if anyone noticed. Well, they did. And each one had a comment. My oldest said logically, “Mom, the rice is burnt because you got distracted with laundry.” My second girl responded, “Yes, but its okay because we all make mistakes, mom, and I still love you.” The next one wasted no time and spit out the food while saying, “Yuck! That is terrible!” Her younger sister took note and said, “Thanks for making it mom but I am NOT even going to taste it!” And of course, my toddler just played with the rice happily. It was just a matter of their personalities. Sometimes, it’s just easy and fun celebrating who they are and how they see life!
     Overall, learning to like the daughter you love may feel like the ending words of the “Maria” song that ask, “How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?” but I believe we can. We can like them as we do all we know to do then simply embrace the fact that, like us, “She’s a GIRL!”


Also published in Paradise Valley Lifestyle Magazine