As a mother who has all of her children out of the house, I know how easy it is to say, “Enjoy your kids. They grow up too fast.” I heard this many times when my kids were young. I remember thinking “Yeah, right. It doesn’t feel like it’s going by very fast.”
I had 4 kids. My youngest was born when my oldest one was eight. So you can imagine that our house was very chaotic, and messy! The following is some of the best advice that I received as I was raising my children.
Remember to pray. During chaotic and stressful times, remember to take some time to yourself and say a prayer. When my oldest was only three, I remember locking myself in my room to say a prayer. When she would knock on the door, I would tell her that I am saying my prayers. She understood this even at age 3, and left me alone for a few minutes.
Whenever possible, have a Calgon moment. You younger girls won’t remember this, but there is a bubble bath called Calgon, and the commercial’s slogan was, “Calgon, take me away.” Take a bubble bath when your husband or someone can watch the kids, or after they have gone to bed. Relax and visualize a peaceful place.
Do something during the week that is just for you. That might be taking a class, enjoying a sport, a book club, etc. My sister gave me this advice. She liked to play Volleyball once a week. I took a choral conducting class. This led to me getting an Associate’s Degree in Choral Conducting, which led to a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. It took me 10 years to finish, but I enjoyed the process.
Play. I would rather go to the park, library, zoo and play with my kids than clean the house.
Don’t stress about having a spotless house. We all know that kids are going to make messes, so if you stress about having a spotless house, you are only adding more stress, due to the fact that the kids will just mess it up again after you clean. Then you end up yelling at the kids for messing up the house, and then you feel guilty for yelling at your kids when they were just being kids. When my kids were little, we usually had a messy house. Yes, we had chore charts, which they hated and every one had to do their part. One thing that worked well on occasion would be for me to give the kids a list of jobs to do. Their motivation for finishing the jobs in a timely manner was that I would give them money for their jobs and then we would go to the mall for them to spend their money.
Laugh. Try to find the humor in the little mishaps of life. I love Marie Osmond’s saying, “You’re going to laugh about it later, might as well laugh now.”
Our children are our most precious gift from Heavenly Father. We have been given charge over them for a very short time. If we make the most of this time, and teach them by example, they will give us a lifetime of joy that will continue in the hereafter.
Lori is the mother of 4 children and the grandmother of 2. She is a junior high choir teacher who loves to sing, shop, spend time with her family and listen to Harry Potter books on tape.