Tuesday, July 07, 2009

What I Learned from My Mom about Motherhood -- Part 2

Here are a couple more lessons in Mommy-hood 101 I attribute to my mother's diligent teaching. If you are a new reader to my blog, I will tell you that my mom, Sue Benzing, passed away in March. She was a beautiful and wonderful woman, and I'd love it if you'd read more about her by clicking on the "My Mom" tag below. That will take you to the other posts I've written about her.

3. Teach your children to love learning by being a learner yourself. When I was little, my dad gave my mom a Christmas ornament that said "Those who love teaching help others love learning". Did that describe my mom or what!? She was a voracious reader -- books, magazines, signs at the zoo or museum -- and was utterly fascinated in just about everything. W
ell, I've uncovered a whole new delightful world of beauty in baby books and CDs I've been enjoying with Susie. We read books together after she gets changed, and sometimes at naptime (bedtime is a bit more tearful -- most likely she would not be able to hear me!). I have always loved children's books, but I keep discovering new things -- and especially enjoying books of poetry and prayers. There is something about the rhythm of those books that captures Susie's attention, even at this young of an age. To be brutally honest, I thought I might be a little bored with the sorts of things newborns enjoy -- just waiting for her to get older before it's really fun! But actually, there is plenty of fun stuff now! For instance, this poem I found in Poems to Read to the Very Young that my sister gave me:
Susan Blue by Kate Greenaway

"Oh Susan Blue,
How do you do?
Please may I go for a walk with you?
Where shall we go:
Oh, I know --
Down in the meadow where the cowslips grow!"

Mom used to quote little poems to us all the time. For instance, every time we arrived home after an outing, she would say:
"To market, to market, to buy a fat pig
Home again, home again, jiggity jig!"

By the time my sisters were old enough to know the poem, "jiggity jig" was code for time to go home. :) I now say it all the time to Sus when we arrive home. Which brings me to . . .

4. Enjoy being home with your children. So many moms spend all their time with their children running them in all directions so they can be the best at everything. I know we all had designs on taking every sort of lesson under the sun, and playing every sport possible, but Mom was firm on keeping it simple so we could be home more. We started sports in junior high, and took piano, but since we lived so far out in the country, it would have been a huge time commitment to do much more than that. Mom was not concerned about comparing her little achievers with other kids (which is such a temptation, I've realized already!) -- she
wanted us all to enjoy the simplicity of a lovely home, and time spent together. So we all learned how to work in the home, cook, clean, help tend the garden/pool/whatever (depending on the house we lived in). And we learned how great it was to just relax together when Dad came home at the end of the day. So for me, I'm cherishing my maternity leave and the days spent with Susie. It's true that I'm just now feeling enough human to do much more during the day than just care for Sus and get a shower, but I've started to make to-do lists so I can care for our home and make it a lovely and enjoyable place for us to be.

Well, the lessons have continued to come to me, so part 3 is coming soon. In the meantime, stay home and read a book with your kiddos.


sara's art house said...

I wholeheartedly agree with enjoying staying home with yout children!!!!! I have been feeling guilty lately that we have not had enough "play-dates" --as I was thinking this the kids were laughing and playing together--the Lord is telling me that we have enough here and this time will be gone soon enough.

Tina and Todd said...

I LOVE being home with Liam! The days do get long sometimes when Todd is gone for over 14 hours - but spending time with my baby is so precious!
I have read to Liam since day 1 ... and now it is so fun to have him bring books to me to read to him. He brings them and sits down for me to read them continually throughout the day - and I try to always stop and read:)

James and Christen said...

The over the lap pose was Daniel's favorite as in an infant. It he bounced the through that first year across our knees!

Great advice. I always love to hear what you are learning from your Mom's example.