On Mothering

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It has been said that we learn more from what is caught than what is taught; our actions speak so much louder than our words.

This weekend, when we pause to reflect on our mothers, or ourselves as mothers, or all manner of mothering, there’s a whirlwind of emotion for so many. It can be a frustrating holiday, a heart-wrenching day, or a joy-filled, exciting celebration of a fabulous relationship. However this day tugs at your heart, I pray you’ll make it a positive one. At a moment’s notice I, like many moms I know, can recite a quick list of everything I feel I’ve done wrong as a parent, my regrets and failures and shortcomings, and can allow those memories to rob me of what I’ve done right. This Mother’s Day is about what we’re doing right! So, here’s my list of what I hope my kids caught me doing well:

I hope they caught me praying, each and every day. While I certainly prayed for each of my kids and for our family as a whole, I spent most of my time praying for myself ~ asking God to strip me of myself, to continue to reveal the unhealthy mistakes I was inadvertently making with any of our kids. I asked for strength regularly, and I even asked for little things such as multiplying my sleep and giving me the energy to make it through every day. And of course I asked for the big things, too. I wanted all of our kids to consider Jesus their friend, so I needed to make sure I modeled that. I wanted them to know that He cares about our every concern, and yet He doesn’t take sin lightly and is deserving of all honor.

I hope they caught my devotion to their father. I believe it’s  because this is something I caught from my own mother and grandmothers, that next to their relationship with God, I saw them honor their husbands first. It’s my opinion that far too many mothers lose a piece of their husband’s heart because as soon as children come along, the great majority of their time, attention and affection goes to the kids. I believe a man is understanding for a little while, but over time it causes resentment. My parenting goal was to present a united front between Mike and I, and never to go against his wishes behind his back. I will say, however, as we endeavored to find the proper balance in discipline tactics, I did step in to save some little ‘hiney’s’ at times, but always with Mike’s knowledge. I believe that the proper order of honor and respect in the home is God first, the marriage second, and the children third. This hierarchy has served our family well.

I hope they caught my respect for elders. My family of origin instilled in us the importance of honoring our elders. We had a fantastic relationship with our grandparents and gleaned as much wisdom as possible from them during their time on this earth. Since they were alive at least into my teens, we had the opportunity to get to know some of their friends and ‘running buddies.’ We were taught to look for the value in what they had to say, for they were full of wisdom, just ready to impart it. We all learned so much from them, and since that was such a positive in our lives, the respect remains today for the elderly. In an age where you can YouTube a tutorial of just about anything, nothing beats standing next to your grandmother in the kitchen and rolling out a batch of dough together; an iPad propped in the corner doesn’t come close to your grandfather bringing a spare 2-by-4 piece of wood, a new box of nails and a hammer just your size to first learn how to properly drive a nail in a piece of wood. And driver’s education at the school was nowhere near as fun as sitting on your grandfather’s knee while he pressed the gas pedal and let you steer, never knowing his knee was actually doing all the work. There’s a place for the elderly in society, and golden nuggets of wisdom at our disposal if we take the time to listen.

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I hope they caught my love of gathering friends and family. I was always keenly aware that if 9 people showed up to any gathering, it would potentially cause panic for any host or hostess, so we chose to host most of the holidays and parties at our house. My philosophy was truly, ‘the more, the merrier.’ We usually had homes spacious enough to handle company, and more were always welcome. Because of the nature of Mike’s publicity, we were afforded many wonderful opportunities for entertainment. My brother once said, ‘Geez, who needs Disney when there’s Singletaryland?’ Our kids certainly had the chance to have tons of fun if they wanted. And I enjoyed nothing more than providing joyful experiences for our friends and family.

I hope they caught my willingness to extend grace. I made a choice to be a forgiver. I have always tried to be an overlooker, and worked incredibly hard at eliminating gossip from my life once I knew God impressed me to do so. There are multiple opportunities to be resentful and spiteful each and every day, and I did my best, instead, to be gracious. I know how toxic unforgiveness is to our bodies and to our souls, and I intentionally modeled that for our kids. So many families are utterly destroyed by unforgiveness and hate, and I sure didn’t want to pass that legacy on to our kids. I wanted them to know what it looks like to let God handle their offenses.

I hope they caught that when tough times came, I got tougher. For some reason, I always thought of myself as a quitter. I’m not a quitter. I’m actually quite a fighter, but since I regularly quit diets over my lifetime, I thought I was a colossal quitter. I mentioned that to a friend a couple years back, and she lovingly rebuked me. ‘Uh, the LAST thing you are is a quitter’ she said, and proceeded to rattle off a list of things I endured to the end. Whether it was fighting for our kids who were rebelliously headed down the wrong path, or loading up home and family to move across the country several times, or remaining faithful and hopeful during a spiritual wilderness experience, I can honestly say I didn’t quit.

I hope they caught my obedience to God. If there were nothing else, I hope they saw this. In the Instagram and Facebook lives we appear to have, some may think life is all goodness and light. The truth is, we all struggle. And I have certainly struggled. But through it all, even when I didn’t understand why God would ask certain things of us, I always obeyed. I’m proud of that legacy alone.

I know my shortcomings, I know my failures. The kids lacked attention and affection from me in those early childbearing years (which, because of the numbers, lasted about 15 years), and I always felt I lacked a sensitivity gene. Oh, and pictures. I neglected to document almost every early milestone in pictures. I’m aware of my faults, most definitely. But this Mother’s Day I want to challenge you to focus on what positive character traits your kids have caught from you. And if you don’t have kids, then perhaps be intentional about appreciating what you caught your mom doing that helped mold you and shape you into the magnificence of who you are today.

 

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Comments

  1. Rosemary says:

    So beautiful and inspiring Kim! I really needed to hear your words and constantly need to remind myself that inspite of my flaws I know my own Mother helped mold me into the Mother and person that I am.
    Happy Mother’s Day Kim!

  2. Karen Murray says:

    Kim, these are such helpful reminders. Thank you for being willing to share from the wisdom God has given you. I am particularly grateful for your encouraging words to my daughter. I wish you and I lived closer!

    Happy Mother’s Day,

    Karen Murray

  3. Patti Carollo says:

    Once again Kim ~ Thank you for sharing your gift of encouragement You always inspire me to THINK bigger and better than the negative thoughts that can often invade our minds (Satan)…

    Happy Mother’s Day

    Patti

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