Archive for Parenting Articles
Think outside the Keurig. With so many coffee choices why limit yourself to just drip? Instead, pick the java for your situation. But which coffee choice is best for daily mama drama? For every situation your little lovelies create there is a brew waiting to spark some energy. Let’s discuss a few winning combinations to help through typical mom tough spots.
No Talkie before Coffee – You need black coffee straight up, in shots. Find the smallest setting on the Keurig. Now, make three shots. Forget the cream and sugar, there isn’t time! Okay, now you can breath, which is good because, trust me, they do not understand quiet before coffee. Remember to enjoy their somber moods when the teen years arrive.
Tiny Tornadoes — French coffee is the way to go for untidy tots. Cafe Au Lait, to be exact. A dash of steamed milk, a whole lot of java and the impossible becomes possible again. Don’t rush, enjoy every sip until the last drop of heavenly nectar is gone. Now equip yourself with a trash bag and a broom, it’s cleaning time!
Empty Container Equals Empty Brain — No coffee in the container? Have no fear! Time for a trip out of the house. Drive to the nearest coffee shop for a fill-up on the way to the grocery store. You’re a stay-at-home-mom, multi-task! Grab a latte before ticking items off the grocery list (If you forget the list on the kitchen counter again, wing it)!
Braving Walmart at Night — An Americano coffee will make the drive to Walmart more enjoyable without all the caffeine. I won’t even suggest the D-word, Walmart at night requires caffeine. Make the excursion even better, keep the kiddos at home with hubby.
Cooking Requires Coffee — Macchiato to the rescue! An espresso, a shot of steamed milk, and caramel make cooking spaghetti more enjoyable. Grind some fine beans, turn on the milk steamer, and create a delicacy to cope with the noise and bubbling pots. Nothing goes better with cooking than an excellent frou-frou drink!
Bugged Out — Game on, lice don’t stand a chance against a determined mama. But, you don’t have time for anything at the moment. With sheets to wash, beds to steam, hair to shampoo and pick, your hands are on overdrive. Make time first for a double shot of espresso. Chances are, if one noggin comes home with these nasty little blood suckers, soon multiple noggins will be teeming with creepy crawlers. Down your caffeine quickly, but make sure to enjoy the robust flavor.
Cuddles on the Couch — Pull out the milk foamer, because if you’re sharing coffee with a coffee snatcher, your elixir needs to be more milk than brew. I would suggest not adding the mocha this go around. Keep your mama chocolate milk a secret. Lets face it, with you and hubby already addicted to coffee, do you really need the kids addicted too? Read More→
Becoming a hypocrite is very easy for parents. Do what I say, not what I do, because sometimes adults can do things children cannot, but it still makes adults look like hypocrites. I strive to set a good example for my children, and sometimes I actually succeed. One thing I have done is not teach my children there are bad words (aka swear words); there are adult words and children words. My children have no right, whatsoever, to correct an adult they hear swearing. No, no, if I hear my children correcting an adult, even a stranger, I will stop them. Adults can swear, children cannot. If you say swears are bad words you are setting a precedent and telling your kids, adults who swear are doing something wrong. Now, this isn’t to say swearing is right, but the point is to teach the children they cannot correct adults because children are under a different set of rule than adults.
This is the point, children are under a different set of standards than adults. The difference is in the home and in society. Teachers at school can use the microwave to heat up leftovers for lunch; students do not have access to microwaves. There is a different set of rules for teachers than for the students. Mom and dad can stay up late and play video games; children cannot because there is a different set of rules.
What I want to share with you today is a memory from a few years ago. First, I need to say Christians have a different set of rules than non-Christians. Read 1 Corinthians and see what Paul has to say about this topic. Right now, I am building up to something and need you to understand that the rules for my children and the rules for Christians is why I am bringing this story up.
When I was in college, studying the Old Testament, I was learning about the different ceremonies God commanded His people to celebrate. Now, I have no intention of following all of the Old Testament ceremonies and feasts, I am not under that covenant as a believer in Jesus, but the Sabbath is another story altogether. The Sabbath is mentioned in the second chapter of Genesis, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on that day he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” The Sabbath’s holiness is mention before God has established a covenant with any man or group of people.
Not only is the Sabbath mentioned in the very first book of the Bible, but it is also referred to in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8). Now, the Ten Commandments do fall under the Old Covenant but are still the commandments by which we are governed (along with the new commandments to love God above all else and to love others as we love ourselves. Found in Matthew 22:36-40). The Ten Commandments still serve the purpose of recognizing sin and showing we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), even under the new covenant. Read More→
n the last article we took a short side-step from our Mr. Manners series to talk about one of the greatest potential God-centered holidays, Halloween. So for this article we were planning to get back on track and talk about Social Media Manners for your kids. It’s a great topic and we’ll definitely feature it.
Unfortunately though, while I have been compiling wisdom and manners on social media, I have been experiencing the election process here in the U.S. I’ve had some first-hand witnessing to a lot of bad social media behavior, especially on Facebook. So my list for social media manners has a lot of “don’t.” Before I flooded you with “don’ts” I need to take an entire post and set the stage for the idea of a border marking off a really safe and fun area. Sure, there are don’ts in life, but there is also a free and fun area that they boundary. So, I think it’s time for me to give you my Playground Analogy.
I hope you are ready for this. The Playground Analogy is one of the Top Ten great analogies of life. It helps describe a healthy relationship with God, and positive attitude for your life. Great Christian psychologists are humbled by this analogy; it puts books like Boundaries into the “Amateur Psychology” section of Barnes and Nobel. And, most importantly for us dads, it is a great mindset to teach your kids.
I went a little far describing the importance of this analogy. Or did I? You may be the judge.
Some of you may not have had an elementary school experience and it’s an essential part of this analogy. I’m going to describe the typical elementary school playground environment to give you the basis for this fantastic metaphor.
At my elementary school in the late 70’s there was a brick building that was the school. It was pretty typical of a school: teachers, principal, music, art, gym, cafeteria – the whole thing. As students, we would sit in class for a portion of the day, then we would have recess. We would all line up and file out to the doors opening up into the . . . playground.
The playground was an area directly outside the school. Part of it was asphalt, and there was a portion that was a grassy field. In the playground there was a kickball field painted on the asphalt. There were slides, there was a merry-go-round (now condemned by most schools as a ‘death trap’). There were swings and monkey-bars, and basketball hoops and teeter-totters (seesaws) and one of those new play equipment things that one kid used to call the Big-a-bang.
. . . and there was a fence around the playground.
The fence was an important part of the playground. On one side, it created a safety barrier to the road and the downtown neighborhood. Another side bordered the high school, where sometimes teenagers could be seen walking the track, skipping school, and having class outside. Another side bordered a woods and graveyard. Read More→
I have many single moms who have shared with me the challenges of dating when you are a single mom. After all, it’s a complicated dating world with apps and online sites. And we often feel guilty about dating again when we have little ones. When you meet someone you like, it can often be a challenge to make it work when you are so busy with your kids. But he could be ‘the one,’ so it’s worth giving it a go. Therefore, here is how to make a new relationship work when you are a busy single mom.
Explain your priorities at the beginning
To make the relationship work, you need to be honest with your guy at the beginning. You need to make it clear that your children are your priority and that they have to come first. After all, if you have to cancel dates as your child needs you, he has to understand. If you explain your priorities at the start, it can make it easier as your relationship develops. It will also give him time to process the situation, and decide if he does want to move forward with the relationship.
Make time for him
It can be a challenge finding time while you are a busy mom to spend time with your new guy. But if you want to make the relationship work, you need to make time to spend with the man. Find someone you trust to look after your little ones while you head out on a date. Try and meet up at least once a week at the start, so that you can spend some time getting to know one another. And make sure it’s outside of your home to keep it separate from the kids for now. Spending time together will help you both decide if the relationship is something you want to continue.
Show him you care
When you are so busy with the kids, it can often make the new guy feel a bit pushed out. And it can be hard for him to know that you are interested. Therefore, make sure you text and ring him to ensure you can make it work. And as Christmas is on its way, make sure you get him a great card and gift to show him you care. You can find brilliant sites with gifts for him if you are stuck for ideas. And make sure you have honest conversations with him about how you feel the relationship is going. That way, he will know you are keen, even if you are really busy to see him.
Don’t rush for him to meet the kids
To make the relationship work, it’s better for the two of you to meet up on your own at first. After all, if you rush meeting the kids, it might put a strain on your new relationship. As this feature explains, don’t put them all together until you are sure there are real possibilities for the relationship. That way, they won’t be left dumbstruck if it ends sooner rather than later. Still, you might want to refer to him as a ‘special friend,’ so your kids can get used to the idea of a guy in your life.
Hopefully, you can make the relationship work, and you can become one big happy family!
Quick Preamble: The organic flow of kids
I didn’t have personal experience with social interaction much as a kid. I grew up in an Amish area, and the nearest neighbor with a child my age was miles away (several cornfields at least). So, I had to learn much of the information on dealing with neighborhood kids, visiting friends, having ‘play-dates’ through my kids and trying to navigate the experience as a parent. The good thing, is that our family will routinely have ‘pow-wows’ to discuss how to handle social issues. Much of the ideas in this article and others in this series involving ‘other people’ were developed from meeting as a family and discussing how best to handle each experience.
Ok, back to our previously scheduled blog article . . .
Knocking: Essential to relationships. And just like other activities that involve others, there are some manners and ethics to knocking. I’ll cover just a few in this article:
- Don’t be afraid to knock
- Be safe to knock
- Don’t knock at 7am
- Jesus knocks
Don’t be afraid to knock. Sometimes my kids would want to fill out a street-kickball game, but they needed a few more players.
Me: Why don’t you ask Kyle?
Kids: He’s usually playing x-box
Me: Did you actually ask him?
Kids: But there are no cars in his drive.
Me: [leveled stare]
Kids: Fine, we’ll ask him.
Minutes later Kyle has been shooed out by his parents to get some sunshine and he is standing on second base (which happens to be a pile of leaves they put in the road).
Sometimes people need to be asked. Some people even need to be approached and asked to be involved. Our world is full of loneliness and people that are disconnected. Knocking on a door to ‘hang out’ and/or ‘play’ isn’t that tough – the worst someone could say is, “no.” Read More→
My wife has white coat syndrome. She grew up in a military family where she was taught to respect people in authority, especially if they are wearing a uniform. Doctors wear a uniform and are in authority at their office so they benefit from the double-whammy of respect from her. So my wife gets pretty stressed when she goes to the Dr. and sometimes needs someone to advocate for her.
I suffer from the opposite malady of “white coat syndrome.” I have the, as yet to be diagnosed, Rebel Syndrome. I think people in authority are not to be trusted and uniforms only serve to identify the people to people to mistrust.
So I go with her to doctor appointments. Sometimes I try to be comedy relief for these appointments, but most of the time my attempts fall short. As it turns out, my wife doesn’t think joking with the doctor is a good thing. I think she’s afraid they will take revenge on her somehow medically if I am not funny. And, I should probably add, that my wife rarely thinks I am funny.
One time when we were dating, she was trying to run away from me (it’s a loooong story that does NOT involve creepy stalking . . . unless you count throwing pebbles at her dorm room window trying to get her to come down and neglect studying and hang out with me). I had some flowers for her, but she did not want to hang out; she wanted to study. So I brought the flowers to the bottom of the stairs at her dorm and she came and got them, then started sprinting up the stairs before I could get kissy.
. . . So, we were at the emergency room with her having a broken leg. I was there to be supportive, it was probably one of my first stints as “doctor companion,” plus, she was blaming me for her leg being broken. We had another friend with us also; one of Giselle’s girlfriends named Jennifer.
So, I’m doing my ‘thing’ and trying to keep Giselle entertained and her mind off of her leg. It was all falling flat. In the hazy memory of my mind, I think I might have been making the doctors, staff, and the whole waiting room laugh, but not Giselle.
Our friend Jennifer picks up a pamphlet for STDs . . . and asks Giselle if she needs to read it. And, that cracks her up.
I can’t win.
Anyway, I go to waiting rooms with Giselle a lot. As you might guess, a lot of women also go to some of these appointments and many times I see them toting their kids along because they are too young to stay by themselves. So, I’ve had a good vantage point to observe how kids take advantage of moms when they are involved in something that my wife would say is quite stressful. Read More→
Question: Why does my child ask the same question multiple times in a row?
Answer: Children repeat their questions because they want to drive you to the brink of insanity and then giggle as you fall over the edge. Or maybe, because they are so young they are impatient and expect an immediate answer. If you fail to answer in the 2.2 seconds allotted they will repeat the question for your benefit, we are old after all and could use constant reminders.
Solution: Tell your child(ren) from now on you will only answer a question that has been properly phrased and asked one time and remain consistent to your word. True to form this is not a behavior you can anticipate ending anytime soon. My own mother tried to ground me for this very action just last weekend. Being grounded to my room does not seem like such a punishment anymore.
Question: Why do my children wake us so early on weekends?
Answer: Children wake up before the sun on weekends because sleep is overrated. Parents do not remember the youthful joy of waking up with the birds and kids are here to remind them of these simple pleasures.
Solution: I have found with my children the later I put them to bed the earlier they wake up to force me into a zombie like state. Changing their bedtime to earlier usually rectifies the situation. Start in half hour increments until you find the bedtime that works for your family. Please keep your coffee pot on standby until you have found the best bedtime.
Question: Why do my kids look at me, acknowledge what I say, and then do the exact opposite of what I asked of them as if they didn’t hear me? Read More→
Author’s Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of CWAHM, the spectacular editor and counselor Jill Hart, or evangelical Christians. As always, I encourage/invite you to appropriately comment or start a dialog if you are offended by this topic or by the opinions contained within . . .
Recently I’ve noticed that the teenage kids in our neighborhood have started joking about being racist.
At first I was shocked to hear, “that’s racist” used in conversation. Then, to hear the context, made me laugh. Everything involving color, or shade, is ‘racist.’ You have a black (that’s racist) dog? I got some new black shoes – that’s racist. My oatmeal turned a dark color – don’t be racist. It is the natural result of their public school education and having the focus be on a hyper-awareness to being racially appropriate to people of Negroid decent.
It probably sounds awkward (even . . . “racist?”) for me to say ‘Negroid,’ but I actually have to differentiate between the group of United States citizens coming from African lineage with dark pigment when it comes to this trend in school. There are all kinds of ‘color’ pigment and racial background at my kid’s school. We live in Florida, so there are a LOT of ethnicities represented.
The idea of ‘multicultural’ (many cultures) is much different than my small town where I grew up in Indiana; there were maybe . . . 3 . . . ethnicities represented in the school I attended; and that’s counting Amish. But Florida aside, we live in a much smaller world than I did growing up in the 80’s. People would have to live under a rock, or, in certain areas of Tennessee or South Carolina to never see a person of non-white color. And that was only said in humor, I’m sure people in Tennessee and South Carolina get internet and TV. The point is, that the Unites States is OBVIOUSLY diverse and truly a ‘melting pot’ of different ethnicities.
Back to my kids. They have black kids at their school, but a high percentage of students are Hispanic, or from the Caribbean, or Asian. Florida is a melting pot of racial backgrounds. There is a percentage of dark skinned kids that don’t consider themselves black. Kids from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Trinidad or other nearby islands don’t want to be considered part of ‘black culture.’ One of the students that has ‘hung out’ at our house, is from England, and he doesn’t like to be called black; it makes him angry, even though his skin is darker than most of the kids I see with African descent.
But there is a hyper focus on race in the media, and kids pay attention to media. Combine that, with the hyper sensitivity to racial issues taught in school, and you get everything being ‘racist.’
So, what is a dad to do about this issue? We may not be able to solve racism for the world, but being grounded in multicultural diversity is definitely within our grasp.
Don’t condone racism: Neo-Nazis, the KKK, Beyoncé’s pro Black Panther tributes, telling racist jokes, riots, racial slurs in song lyrics, — all need to be called out to your kids, exposed, and condemned as a sinful act. By the way, jokes that disparage another race = bad. Jokes that point out the difference in racial culture = ok. For instance, did you know that if you look in the bathroom mirror and say “Pumpkin Spice Latte” three times, a white girl in yoga pants will appear and offer you a Starbucks coffee?
It’s a fine line, but basically anything that puts down another person’s race . . is racist.
Celebrate Diversity! – God made all the people and races of the world. Everyone is unique and special on purpose. The fact that some of my friends look different than I do; is good. Learn about other cultures and share those experiences with your kids. Ask appropriate questions. Experience different languages. It’s a great way to promote racial understanding, and it really helps them as they grow to participate in global understanding since our world is becoming more and more digitally connected.
Don’t lock-step to “African American History Month.” It really seems unfair to focus on one racial background and neglect the rainbow of other ethnicities represented in the U.S. The result seems to be that black ethnicity then becomes a joke. Racism then becomes a disrespect for ethnicities; exactly the opposite of what the forefathers of racial equality envisioned.
As a dad, I suggest augmenting the school curriculum that only focuses on one ethnic group, with some information on other ethnic groups. Or possibly highlighting the times African Americans were included and treated equally in history. However, don’t forget to learn about Harriet Tubman; she was pretty amazing…
Know the Biblical background on racial diversity. When I was a kid, no joke; I would hear people try to use Biblical justification for racism and bigotry. I once heard an adult point to Scripture where Cain was “marked” for killing his brother (Genesis 4:15) and supposedly fathered all dark skinned people of the world. (And, of course, the mark had to be black, right? Dark skinned people of Mesopotamia wouldn’t get a ‘white’ mark . . ) Or, possibly even worse was the time I heard an adult use Ham being a “slave” for looking at his naked father (Genesis 9) as a justification for slavery (and, to make that ridiculousness work, Ham also had to have dark skin . . . as opposed to his brothers). I’ve also heard adults justify prejudice against mixed marriages or people using Old Testament references to associating with foreign nations (passages that were taken waaaaaay out of context).
Biblically, God spread out people by making them different so that they wouldn’t be so prideful to think they could compete with God.
Genesis 11: 8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.
And in the Gospels, God seriously smacks down prejudice by the well-known story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. There are others, but those are the ones you should know to be able to share with your kids.
Don’t buy into the media. I met with a guy not very long ago that was very incensed with how police were mistreating the residents of Ferguson, MO and the resulting riots there. The media sure made it seem like racial minorities of that area were rising up en masse to protest the police. However, a little research behind the news shows that rioters were bussed in from other areas and that the whole fiasco was financed by a European . . . yes, a ‘white’ European.
Lately the news outlets are full of situations like these. People don’t realize that murders and violence statistically are less than they were in subsequent years. However the media makes the most money when there is controversy and tragedy. Teach your kids to look behind the “news” into the truth.
Look to your leaders. I pointed out earlier that Jesus was a champion of diversity, and he struck an eternal blow to prejudice by just telling a story. He didn’t revolt, riot, burn down buildings, and the only thing he disparaged, was pride. I have a great respect for other leaders that enact great change while following in the example of Christ. Martin Luther King Jr is one such leader. Nelson Mandela is another. Gandhi is another. Chief Joseph is another. The world needs more leaders who embody the Scripture “overcome evil with good.” People you see in the news recently do not follow such principles.
Don’t try to solve society. It’s easy to get angry and take a global view of racial issues. But very few of us are in positions to change the mindset of city officials or correct all the ills of society. What we can do is to vote our beliefs. We can teach our kids to be aware of the world, pursuing truth, and to be loving of all races. And, of course, we can set the example as leaders in the world for following the leadership of Christ.
I invite you again to comment or e-mail if you agree/disagree. That’s another thing that makes the U.S. great: freedom of speech.
Also, I saw someone post a little snippet from an interview with Morgan Freeman the other day. It echoes much of what I wrote above, and, it’s Morgan Freeman! Here it is: https://youtu.be/GeixtYS-P3s
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brad Washburn is a father, husband, and Director of a Christian counseling center in Tampa, Florida. He has helped hundreds of people over the last 15 years. In particular, he desires to see fathers be “men after God’s own heart” — a description of King David in the Bible who was a lover, fighter, sheep herder, and harp player . . .
As CWAHM grew, my kids grew. And I grew – as a person, as a business owner, as a mom.
Now I watch my months-old niece regularly and find myself reminiscing about what it was like when my kids were small. I find myself telling my (amazing) sister-in-law little things I wish I’d known. She’s most likely tired of hearing them…But I’ll keep telling her, because it’s important that we moms remind each other that it’s going to be OK someday.
Frankly, I find myself wishing I could write my young-mom self a note to encourage her and to let her know that there really IS a light at the end of this tunnel. Here’s what it would say:
* This WILL end. Whatever it is. Terrible twos, terrible threes, frustrating fours (So. Many. Questions.). Temper tantrums. Potty training. Diapers.
This season will end. And you’ll move on to the next one. And it may be better. It may suck worse. But it will end, too, and there will be a new season. And another and another.
* Breathe. It’s ok, even normal for your kid to get on your nerves sometimes. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. It doesn’t mean anything other than that you’re normal. Welcome to motherhood. 🙂 Thank God, every morning is a fresh start.
* It’s ok for your child to do their own thing some of the time. You are her mom, not her playmate. You can read or clean or stare out the window for a little while and your child will survive. They may even learn to become independent. 😉
* Choose your battles. Oh, if I had figured this out sooner what a quieter home we would have had in those early years. This one applies to marriage to. Not every battle needs to be fought. Not every frustration needs to be aired.
Take a walk, have coffee with a friend, find a healthy way to manage the stresses of motherhood and marriage. Read More→
I feel like the writer of Hebrews as he comes to the end of the “Faith Chapter” (11): And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell… of Rahab and Ruth, of Naomi and the bleeding woman, Lydia and Dorcas, and all the other single ladies of Scripture! Somewhere in the Word, there’s a story that mirrors your own. Find your sister, listen to her testimony, learn from her journey. The trove of truth treasures is unlimited. Explore its depths daily!
As I wrap up this series on “Single Ladies”, I find myself thinking of you, of single ladies that have bolstered me in my own journey, and of the lessons I have learned personally. So this time, we’re drawing from present-day single sisters, those that we see face-to-face, those that walk this earth and this road with us now. Here’s what we can learn from one another:
First and foremost, be faithful to your Lord. You cannot expect to have real success or true joy apart from Him (Psalm 16:2). Spend time with Him. Listen to Him (Proverbs 8:34). Saturate your heart and mind with His truth. Walk with Him daily (Micah 6:8).
Be faithful to your family, not only in word and deed but in truth and love (I John 3:18). Church family, immediate family, extended family, and all those who are part of our realm of service and influence and support. Let us love one another! (Galatians 5:13)
Be faithful to your calling. God has gifted you and equipped you to fulfill a specific purpose in His perfect plan (Romans 11:29). Be strong and courageous and do the work (I Chronicles 28:20)! Read More→