The Forgotten On Mother’s Day

Image courtesy of Pixabay

This weekend, we celebrate Mother’s Day. It’s not my favorite day because most of mine have not gone well.

Instead of whining about my issues with this day, I want to encourage you to notice the women who get sidelined or find it hard to enjoy this day.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
Psalm 68:5

As you remember your mother, wife, grandparents, or any other women in your life who answer to “Mom” please try to share a kind thought or blessing with any you know who are:

Childless:  Many women want children and can’t have them. This can be a tough day for them.

Single Moms: Most children learn to celebrate Mother’s Day through their fathers. Without a father to guide them, children of single moms don’t always recognize the significance of this day.

Military Wives:  These women have the same problem as single parents if their husbands are deployed.

Stepmothers: They get a bad wrap thanks to fairy tales. Any woman who willingly marries a man with children does so with plans to embrace the lives of those children. That doesn’t mean those children remember them on Mother’s Day.

Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren: Most of them did not sign up for this. They’ve already parented one generation of children and were not anticipating doing it again.

Mothers Who Have Lost Their Children: I can’t begin to imagine the pain they experience.

Mothers Whose Children Don’t Contact Them: Estrangement from a child hurts. This is that little baby they carried and doted on.

Mothers Whose Children Live Too Far Away: They tend to understand the problems brought on by distance, but it still makes for a lonely Mother’s Day.

Women Who Have Lost Their Mothers: It’s been four years since I lost my mom and shopping for Mother’s Day cards is bittersweet. I, always, find the perfect one for her.

Single Dads: Single dads play the part of mom, they have no choice.

Widowers:  Whether their children remain at home or are grown, they miss the woman they used to honor on this day.

I’m sure there are others who belong on this list. Find them and wish them a good day. If you have time or the means, treat them to lunch or a mani-pedi or give them a break from the kids for a few hours. They will appreciate it more than you know.

A version of this post originally ran on May 5, 2017.

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Disappointment: When Parents Break Promises

Image courtesy of Pixabay

“While we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.”Titus 2:13

We cling to hope in our Christian walk. So many parts of the gospel remind us of that hope. But hope is sometimes difficult when dealing with other people. For instance, my daughter and grandchildren.

What happens in the next week or two will significantly impact my grandchildren and their relationship with my daughter. Will their mommy disappoint them or stay true to her words? It’s hard to know, and I’m a bit frustrated with the situation.

Without going into a lot of detail, I can tell you she’s made promises. Promises that she can’t keep because she doesn’t know what’s coming or what’s going to happen. My daughter tends to count her chickens before they hatch. A LOT. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen her do this. Every time I warn her, she says I’m negative. It will happen. I’m wrong to worry. Then, of course, her plans fall apart.

She’s doing it again.

Once I realized what she was saying to her children, I tried to get her to stop. She can’t see how her words affect them. She wants to be with them, hug and kiss them. I want this for them, too. But, even if things do go the way she hopes they will, it’s going to be a long, hard road. History says she’ll disappear instead.

Unfortunately, for Victoria and Amari, this leads to disappointment and frustration. For us, it means picking up the pieces of their shattered hearts. I wish she could see this, but she’s shortsighted. She knows what she wants, and she’s determined it will happen.

The disconcerting part is the way my grandchildren interpret her promises. Amari believes that on a specific date in a few weeks (yes, he states an actual date) he will go to live with her. That’s not going to happen. It can’t. Not that soon. I had to be the bad guy and tell him this last night. He wanted to know how soon they could live with Mommy. I told him I didn’t know, but it would be at least a year or two. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it might not ever happen, but that’s a real possibility. Past experiences point to the likelihood of her violating her promises.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

I’m not anxious for me. I know to trust in God. I’ve grown past the hurt of her actions and understand the peace my faith and trust give me. To two little children, this is not so easy. As much as I’d love to say, my prayers will change what she does and how the system will respond to her, I know that’s not always the case. So, I pray. I wait. I prepare to pick up the pieces if she shatters their hope.

Before You Judge the Parent with the Unruly Child

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You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

Some mornings at our house don’t go well. The grands fight against our routine almost every morning.  It’s the same routine. Every. Single. Morning. So, why is it so hard for them to follow it?

 

This morning, the grands got up and  dressed quickly (miracle of miracles), except for the shoes. With Amari, that’s wear we hit a snag.

“Put your shoes and socks on, Amari.”

“Ok.”

A few minutes later, he’s still sitting in the same place, staring off into space, barefoot.

“Amari, put your shoes on.”

“I need to put on my socks, first.”

“I know. Do it, please.”

After repeating myself three or four times my volume goes up. I try to stay calm, but it’s frustrating especially when I’m busy doing Victoria’s hair at the moment. Her hair takes ten to fifteen minutes every morning. Today, she cooperated, but some mornings, if she’s dragging her feet, she jerks away and yells that it hurts. We take good care of her hair, so it rarely has tangles, but she still acts like it does.

Add that to her brother not putting on his socks and shoes, and it can get crazy quickly.

Then, there’s breakfast.  In my head, I’m hearing the music they play in mysteries when something shocking or revealing occurs…dundun DUN!

Amari would rather talk to Victoria or make some repetitive noise to annoy her. Victoria doesn’t want to talk to him, she’d rather criticize how he’s eating. We tell them to ignore each other, stop tattling, and eat.

Today, I took Amari’s food away before he finished. That’s not unusual.

If there’s anything worse than breakfast, it’s brushing their teeth. How hard can that be? Believe it or not, Amari stands in front of the bathroom mirror forever making faces and messing with his hair. If we forget to check, he may be in there ten minutes without brushing.

If Victoria brushes her teeth at the same time, Amari complains. All it takes is a speck of food in what Victoria spits into the sink, and he’ll probably throw up. He’s an expert on psyching himself out about how gross something is. Then he vomits. We try to keep them from brushing at the same time. Not so easy when you’re running out of time. Today, I made Victoria brush at the kitchen sink. She pushed back but finally did it. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to get Amari brushing his teeth.

So, this morning, we left late. As we started down the road, Victoria exclaimed, “I don’t have my red notebook.”

I turned onto a side street to turn around, asking her where it was in the house. Then, I said, “This is why you’re supposed to put everything for school in your book bag  the night before.”

Her answer, “It’s not a school notebook. I use it to draw in during free time.”

Obviously, I didn’t go back to the house. The neighbor whose car was behind me and now was in front of me probably wondered what my problem was.

Before you jump on and give me advice, that’s not the point of today’s post.

We’re raising two children who didn’t have a morning routine before they came to live with us. They never were on time to anything. I know this because when they visited us, they always arrived late, and I’m not saying a few minutes. We’re talking an hour or more

Whether you’re a grandparent raising children or a foster parent, the rhythm of your household will be different from the one the children knew before. Ours is structured and organized. Theirs was not.

This means we struggle every day with little things. Other families do experience some of these things, but this is how 90% of our days start. It’s not fun.

More importantly, this is just an example of the issues we face. For example, there are stores I will not go into if the children are with me. Why? Because I’m still trying to teach them the proper behavior in a store. They don’t get it, and I don’t appreciate the judgmental looks, and comments, I get from the store clerks. Yes, the store clerks. There are two stores near me that I no longer frequent due to this.

When you see a parent with a difficult child, don’t always assume it’s their fault. They may not be the one who created the habits in the children with them. They may be the ones trying to change those habits.

Cut them a little slack.

Oh, and since some of you are itching to tell me what to do differently in the morning, we already do the following:

  • Pack book bags before bedtime
  • Pick school clothes before bedtime
  • Get up with plenty of time for them to dress, eat, and brush their teeth and have time to spare if they do everything on time. Believe me, they have tons of time.
  • Divide responsibilities between my husband and me when he’s home (he was on a business trip this morning)

Other techniques I’ve used:

  • Timers
  • Reward systems
  • Consequences

So, if you have something different to share, go for it. Otherwise, please don’t.

And please be kind to the person with the unruly child. It’s already hard enough.