My Mom and I

I have always admired my Mom and when I was a little girl I remember saying “I want to grow up to be just like my mom”. I wanted to be a teacher because my Mom was a teacher.  I wanted to have three kids because my Mom had three kids. Although I didn’t grow up to be EXACTLY like my Mom I did learn everything I needed to know about life and motherhood from her. 

Motherhood is scary because no matter what age you become a mother you feel like you are never really prepared or trained to take on this awesome responsibility.  I remember bringing my first son, Drew, home from the hospital.  Dwight and I drove home with little, baby Drew in the back of the car and I kept thinking, “Why did they let us take this baby home? We don’t have any idea what we are doing!  Are we really qualified to be parents?”  There are no special classes on how to be a good Mom. They have classes on how to give birth, but what happens after the baby has arrived? How do you know if you are ‘doing it right’?  

I’m sure my Mom probably had these same fears while raising my brother, my sister and I.  I’m sure she had the same insecurities that I have and I’m sure she questioned some of her parenting decisions too.  However, she always made it look so easy and as a child I only saw perfection.  I don’t remember the house being dirty or her yelling at me. I don’t remember her struggling to balance the demands of working, raising three kids and being a pastor’s wife. I only have happy memories : Memories of having tea parties and playing school with my Mom.  Memories of my Mom using sheets and dining room table chairs to build tents in the living room for us to play in.  I have always felt lucky to have such a wonderful mom.  I only hope that my kids will have the same happy memories of their childhood and that they will forget about the times I have lost my patience and yelled at them. I hope that they won’t remember how messy the house was or all the times I forgot important things (like picking them up from school or feeding them dinner).

Ethan asked me the other day, “Did you have to go to a special school to learn to be a Mommy?”  I laughed and said, “No, they don’t really have classes for that. It’s more of a ‘learn as you go’ type job.”   The only “teacher” I had for Mommy 101 was my Mom and she has taught me everything I needed to know.  

Not only did she teach me about being a Mom but she also taught me several other important lessons about life.

If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well  – My mom has always been a very hard worker and she takes great pride in her work, both inside and outside our home. She taught me to always do my best and taught me to have a good work ethic.

J.O.Y (Jesus, Others,Yourself) – My mom taught me that to have true Joy in life you need to think of Jesus first, then Others and then Yourself.  If you think of yourself and your needs before you think of Jesus and Others then you will never find the Joy and happiness that life has for you.

Money can’t buy happiness – My mom taught me that you can have a lot of fun without spending a lot of money.  We didn’t  have expensive cars, brand-name clothes or take lavish vacations. Many of my favorite childhood memories were ones that were FREE (playing Monopoly, eating popcorn or ice cream together around the fireplace, swimming or taking hikes in the mountains).

Family Time is important (and fun) – My mom always sacrificed time and energy to make sure we were taken care of.  She always made time to spend with us and made spending time with her fun.  Even when I was a teenager I loved hanging out with my family and I NEVER thought my parents were “un-cool” or too embarrassing to be seen with.

It’s not always WHAT you say, but HOW you say it – My mom taught me that the “tone of your voice” can make a big difference in how what you say is interpreted by another person.  Use caution because a harsh tone, negative body language and other non-verbal cues will dictate how what you say is heard by others.

The hunt for the bargain is what makes shopping fun – I have always loved shopping with my mom and before I could even read my mom would find me picking up price tags and looking at them as she pushed me in my stroller through the aisles at the store.  She taught me that there is nothing quite like that thrill of finding a great sale at your favorite store or even a garage sale full of bargains too good to pass up!

The journey is part of the gift – My mom was always very creative and thoughtful.  The gifts I receive from her mean a lot to me because of the thought she put into what to give me and the time and energy she often put into making the gift special and personalized for me.  This taught me to do the same for others. It not only makes the recipient of the gift feel special, but it makes the gift even that much more fun to give!

Three Generations of Mothers

When I was born my Mom had some serious complications and almost died.  I am so glad that God decided it wasn’t her time to leave this earth because I can’t imagine growing up without her.  My Mom has always been there for me and I know that I can call her any time, day or night, and she will drop everything and rush right over to help.  She has taught me more about motherhood and raising children then I could ever learn in a parenting book or class. 

I love you Mom  ~ Happy Mother’s Day !!

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Emma and Ethan were constantly obsessing over Santa’s list. “Mommy, am I on the naughty or the nice list?”  they would ask me on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis.  They wanted to make sure that they were being “good enough” to make the cut.  I have to admit that it often worked to my advantage … you know, using the threat of the naughty list when they wouldn’t  go to bed, clean their room or take out the trash. “I have Santa’s cell phone number and email address – don’t think I won’t tell him about this!”  Drew would play along even though he knew Santa’s real identity.  Whenever he would talk about Santa he would use air quotes and say things like, “Yeah ‘Santa’ may not bring you that game for the Wii if you aren’t nice to Mom. He’s watching you … always watching you.”  A few days before Christmas I asked Emma and Ethan what they thought Mommies had to do to get on Santa’s nice list. Ethan said, “Feed your kids and be nice to them.”  Emma thought a little longer and added, “Well, you might want to clean up this house a bit too.”

Raising four kids, working full-time and being a pastor’s wife doesn’t leave much time for house cleaning and it leaves even less time for Christmas shopping.  I am not a big fan of fighting the crowds and the traffic either so when I discovered Amazon.com I was in heaven.  Being able to shop from the comfort of my own home, in my P.J’s, anytime of day or night was like a dream come true.  I was able to have the kids make their wish lists on the Amazon website and then easily buy the things they wanted. I also had the option to pass the list along to Grandparents when I ran out of money and/ or when they needed gift ideas for the kids.

When I would see the UPS driver coming down the drive it was like seeing Santa coming in on a giant brown sleigh.  I didn’t have to drive through crowded parking lots or walk through snow and rain. It was so much easier and quicker that I ordered 95% of Christmas online.  When it came time to wrap presents I discovered yet another benefit of shopping online … boxes.  Yes, I had boxes, boxes and more boxes from Amazon and they were perfect to use for wrapping awkward gifts like Pillow Pets and to use to wrap Wii games and DVD’s so that it wasn’t too obvious what they were by the shape of the package.

On Christmas morning the kids were excited to see all the beautifully wrapped presents under the tree and even more excited to open them and discover the gifts they had asked for inside.  As they were opening gifts Drew asked, “Wait, when did Santa start shopping at Amazon?” and winked at me.   Luckily Emma and Ethan didn’t hear the question or seem to notice all the Amazon boxes lying around the room.  However, if Santa’s elves ever went on strike I’m sure Santa would be shopping at Amazon too!