I was giving parenting 'advice' to a newly impregnated woman the other day and it's had my mind spinning ever since.
I could sit here all night and give specific testimony to this in my mommyhood.
(you are welcome to throw 2/3's of it away though...actually, I don't care if you throw it all away, they work for us and for that I'm grateful that God has brought them into our lives/minds!)
ok. now let's start.
poke a fork, in my eye, please!
I love the first 10,000 "Mommy"'s...don't get me wrong!
It's the 10,001st time that I say:
(I do my absolute BEST to say this with kindness.....sometimes my best is really horrible though, not gonna lie)
I am their walking google and when I shut my computer down, they are learning patience and self discipline and last time I checked, those were buggers to learn.
Jake gets to help a ton, the girls get to use their daddy and I get a break.
I say "Word Break" and
no singing, no laughing, no noise.
this is typically on the heels of a 'sisterly disagreement' that very often feel like there will be NO END to and no resolve.
it's always on the heels of a heated moment.
it's our traveling 'time out corner'.
or on the heels of being too rambunctious in a not appropriate place to be rambunctious
(like, waiting in line at the check out - some moms have to worry about crying/whining in line, I have to worry about my four LADIES wrestling in line. geez! WORD! BREAK!)
if it's a public thing/wrestling, they also have to hold their hands.
meaning: they have to hold their own two hands together, in front or behind themselves but TOUCHING.
(thanks Mamaw ;-) that was all you!)
we also use that rule, just the hands one, in Antique stores.
When everyone was little Nap Time was essential.
There was no way to handle four little girls in melt down properly so nap time happened.
every. single. day.
I used to have neighbors that would fly out of their homes to catch people about to knock on my door during nap time because they knew.
They knew 'what kind of Holly' and 'what kind of Holly's kids' they'd see that afternoon if nap time didn't happen.
(not proud of that, but truth isn't always on the side of 'proud', huh?)
So, now we don't 'have' to have it and yet sometimes we 'have' to have it, ya know?
The twins and Samantha will sleep, sometimes.
But everyone will stay quiet in their beds for 1.5 hours on whatever day we need it sleep or not.
I'd say close to four times a week, sometime in the afternoon, we all get a 1.5 hour break from each other.
We all love it.
They don't even complain when I say, "Rest time".
I love that they are learning to get away and be quiet.
And if anyone talks out loud during rest time, 10 min's is added to that persons rest time every time they're caught.
So...no one talks.
They can play, read, write, etc...they just can't make any noise or talk to each other.
How this happens with all four in one room has taken years and I started when they were very very very little.
Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.
do not be overcome by my kids SIN but overcome their SIN with GOOD.
Every 10 min's.
But I'm praying that minutes 1-9 will be what shines in their hearts as they grow.
Good example of scripture for parenting.
that is not a 'parenting' passage but it is my BIGGEST teacher on how to be a mother.
it literally transformed how I parent.
I didn't need a book.
Just 11 words and a rockin' Holy Spirit.
I know it's funny and 'godly' to say that it's ok to have a messy house, but for Holly Panter, it's not.
I don't need it clean'ish for anyone else's sake, I just do better and stay more peaceful when I feel like what we have is being taken care of in that way.
But, I have four kids and I am a really good mess maker and occasionally Jake makes messes too...nah!
I yell out, "10 min clean up!", set the timer, and every knows what to do.
Clean as much as you can and as diligent as you can for 10 min.
After that, you can stop, but usually 10 min's is all it takes to get me back to a 'peaceful' spot.
(if it's bad, I yell out "10 min clean up!" and don't set a timer, we just do it 'til it's done)
#7 - Starting Over.
well...ya know...maybe more than occasionally.
ugly ones, with sin and crap and ick in them.
I don't like to loose whole days to those moments.
We have just recently started the 'Starting Over' game and the girls are diggin' this one.
After a quiet break apart from each other after whatever explosion mommy just blew one of the girls will come to me and say, "Can we start this day over?" -
and no matter what the time is on the clock,
we start over.
We pray, we ask for forgiveness...usually I ask for forgiveness...and we start over.
His mercies are new every morning...
#8 - Resolving Arguments.
This is so annoying.
No one is 'ever' at fault and everyone is always getting their feelings hurt.
Apparently we have a little fairy that flies around the house bothering people and then disappearing before I get there to intervene.
One day, I'm gonna squish me a little fairy!
Anyway, whenever this 'fairy' flies in it goes like this....
Both sisters (or all sisters) involved have to apologize for their part specifically,
" (insert name) I'm sorry for (insert specific offense) and I love you"
Which is followed by a hug and a, "We don't hurt or bother people we love", from me.
We RARELY make one person feel like they were the sole reason the argument/skirmish happened, because it RARELY is one persons fault. (maybe not in your house!? ha!)
On those occasional times, that person has to apologize in the above fashion and the other one has to say, "It's ok, I forgive you"
and yet I still leave the room with my hands in the air screaming guttural sounds of frustration and annoyance completely defeated 1 to 10 times a day.
Those are the times I do my own '10 minute clean up' or my own 'Word Break' until I can reboot myself and 'Start Over'......
The girls are getting older and just kinda 'get outta the way' now.
I think that is more embarrassing than anything.
Anyway, like I said,
His mercies are new every morning!
Praying it will be fun to look back on this little 'sanity list' and that I won't be looking back kicking myself for not seeing how I was actually screwing the kids up.
I know, I know....I'm a sinner, I'll screw this up no matter what I do....
Like I said,
His mercies are new every morning!
Here's to THE MORNING!