Friday, July 31, 2009

What I learned from my Mom about Motherhood -- part 3

Here's part 3 -- sorry it took so long! I just hope there is someone still reading.

  • Know your children. I think this is something my sisters and I all agree we miss most about Mom. We all felt understood by her. She was a great listener -- when we were young, she enjoyed listening to our stories, etc., and when we were older she listened to our problems with friends, adults, etc. Emily and I agree that Mom was a good person to tell your issue to because she did not just automatically be on your team and hate on the person you had a problem with (this is typically my response to my sister's issues, thus making me a not-so-great confidant). Mom had 6 kids, and I can truly say she did everything she could to know each one of us individually. I know some people from large families feel like they got lost in the shuffle -- but that really did not happen to us at all. How do I apply this lesson to mothering Susie? Well, so far, it has played out mostly in how I have worked out her schedule. We have been able to ease into a very good schedule where she pretty much always sleeps through the night by combining things I liked from both Babywise and Attachement Parenting. She is a happy girl, and seems well fed and well rested. There are so many opinions out there, and some people might thing I spoil and coddle my baby too much, while others think I am too strict with my routine. But I know my baby! And I continue to work hard to see what works for us!

  • Put your best face forward. Okay, I know I've already tread on rocky ground, here is some potentially rockier ground! But I do think this is a lesson I learned from my mom, so I can't leave it out. In no way do I advocate being focused on the outward appearance -- my mom was adamant that we tell my sisters they were clever and special and kind, not just cute all the time. But she DID do her best to always get us out the door in clothes that were clean, hair that was tidy and faces and hands that were washed. I remember being envious of girls who wore their hair free as a bird, while mine was slicked back into Laura Ingalls braids. :) Mom did not want us to have stringy hair! Looking back, I see what wisdom was in that -- especially for large families. When you have a bunch of kids, it is much more noticeable if they look like ragamuffins! It can be a bad testimony to people who frown on large families because they see messy children and assume that their parents do not care for them. People DO look on the outward appearance, no matter what we think. When your children are small, they have no control over their appearances, so it is up to you to keep them and their clothes clean and teach them to care for their appearances. I know I have only 1 child, but it has to start now -- working hard to get the stains out of baby clothes, bathing regularly, washing the little face that can have a milk mustache or neck that can hold spit up. :) Keep in mind -- the goal of a tidy and lovely bunch of kiddos is not so people will complement their appearances, or to turn their hearts to love beauty, but to keep from being a distraction from what is important about you! And if you are a Christian, you want others to see Christ, not dirt!
(The picture I put up here is of Sus with her Aunt Abby at a baseball game. Everything she is wearing is a hand-me down from her cousin Cede.)

I miss my Mom so much. Almost every day a question pops into my head to ask her, before I catch myself. I hope that the lessons I remember from her are helpful to you, too.


Fran R. said...

I can almost hear dear Sue talking to you about these things. She was very neat and you kids always looked like you were fresh out of the shower and neatly tressed. I love hearing what you have to say about your mom. I miss her too.

....t said...

What wise words!! If there was one thing that i learned from your mom it was that she gave attention to the detail. From the way she looked, kept her home, dressed her children and the way that she walked with her Lord. i could go on and on. You know Gret, through your writings on this blog you are helping all moms, all daughters, and all women,learn that way of life. That living your life to the fullness, that God wants for us,is found in living out the disciplines of the details. Thank you for sharing these private memories that you will always have from your mother and sharing them so freely.It is in those little details that my friend Sue lives on in my heart....

Anonymous said...

great post Gretch. Mom did always make me feel individually special, as well as my husband and Josh, and Janet. There is always at least one question every day that I think to myself I'll ask her, and then catch myself. Heaven seems so much more precious now.


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Anonymous said...

Hey Gret Your mom was a truly remarkable woman. Some things you won't ever know she sacrificed for you kids and me.You should write a book to her in loving memory...DAD

Anonymous said...

I agree Bill, it is hard to know your brothers & sisters after so many years apart, let alone their mates and kids. So thankful for the time I got to spend with Donna last month. Love you, Diane

Tina and Todd said...

Gretchen .... I am sure the longing in your heart for your mom is painful! Thanks for sharing - I cry everytime I read about her .... thinking of the memories when your family lived in WI. Her love was amazing not just for her own children, but for others as well.
Keep reading your baby Susie .... you are her mother and know best what to do to care for her (books are helpful ... but ultimatley you know your child best!)
Sorry I missed your birthday .... Happy very belated Birthday!