Kathy Mulkey - A Mother's Perspective Day 2
How do I even introduce my amazing, incredible mother??? She is truly too beautiful for words. The example she has shown matches and exceeds these words of wisdom she is sharing today. There was never a moment that I felt I couldn't conquer the world...thanks to this lady. Childhood was so fun with her as my mother. I know you will enjoy what she has to say!
How do you define motherhood?
- It is realizing you're not just raising a child, you're shaping a life. It's knowing that you've been given the awesome responsibility of caring for an eternal being. Jobs, relationships, etc. will pass away but this child is for eternity. Wanna go to the mission field? There's one right at your feet.
What advice do you have for moms of young children, teenagers, and adult children?
*** Young children - By default, young children are very time-consuming. Don't try to do it all. Cut yourself some slack. I tried to have the perfect house, perfect meals, perfect children...and I almost went perfectly insane. Other people may be able to do it. I couldn't. So I chose. I chose to let some of the housework go in order to invest more in my children. (Yes, there were actually days Danny wouldn't walk into the kitchen barefooted) Admit your mistakes. If you lose your temper, admit it. Don't be too proud to ask for forgiveness. It sets an example for them. And let your children know they are more important to you than any worldly thing. Choose to wipe away the tears before wiping up the spilled milk.
***Teenagers - These were great years and I absolutely loved them. I asked our youth director what he saw was the most influential in the your people's lives and he said without a doubt it was the friends they chose. So we made sure our home was a place where our kids' friends were welcomed. I often would cook extra in case a friend wanted to stay for dinner. I kept extra toothbrushes and contact cases in case someone ended up spending the night. And if a friend wasn't exactly of our choosing, we wanted them at our house in hopes of influencing their lives. It's also a time of transferring more responsibility to your children and relaxing some of the controls. Yeah, it's hard. You don't want to see your children make poor decisions. But there's value in a poor decision if the child learns from it. They can be stepping stones towards maturity. And when a child makes wise decisions he/she gains confidence. After years of training, praying and guiding, the later teenage years are when you step aside and let the youth walk into adulthood.
*** Adult children - I heard these words in a song one time, "I'll have tears when you take off, but cheer when you fly!" This is where I am now. I've experienced the tears and sadness of my children leaving home but also the joy of watching them find their own way and succeed in life. Now I fill the role of friend more often than mom, but it's a wonderful new relationship level and I love it.
How do you cultivate a good relationship with your kids?
- Let them know you are proud of them not because of what they've done but because they're yours...period. Be their biggest cheerleader. Spend time with them and really listen to what they're saying. When they make mistakes, don't condemn, but help them see why it happened and what would prevent it from happening again. Don't dismiss any aspiration or dream they have. You never know what will rise to the surface. (writing a blog, for instance) Enjoy every day with them, even the difficult ones. They need to know you're there for them no matter what. Relax, let some things go and enjoy the uniqueness of each child.
When raising children, the days are long but the years are short.