When Mom Loses It: The SIBLING RIVALRY!

Tuesday June 24, 2014 



I heard that too familiar sound again…boys bickering in the living room.

Chances are you’ve heard it, too.

And what’s the fighting about?

Probably something that’s not too important in your world, but it’s obviously at the top of a boy’s list.

Summer is so nice – having no school schedule, time together. But sometimes that can lead to too much togetherness. Toes get stepped on, tempers flare, brothers bicker.

What to do? Here are some of my favorite strategies.
  • “Divide and Conquer.” Just get them doing something different—apart for a few minutes. Change the focus. 
  • More Mom Time. If you look and listen closely, you may be able to figure out that one of the boys just needs a little more Mom Time. Sit down and play cars with him, read a book, do something with just one for a minute. 
  • Time to Talk. You may just need to talk it out. Let the boys have a say; try to find out what’s really going on. They’ll feel better that they had a hearing, and you may learn something new! Teach them a new negotiating skill. Rock Paper Scissors is a big hit at our house. Once in a while, I even hear our adult sons say, “Okay, let’s settle this. Rock Paper Scissors.” It’s kind of like flipping a coin, but much more fun. And for some fun, you can even learn the game by pitting yourself against a computer here
The boys’ battleground can be disheartening for a mom. I’ve always said, “I don’t want anyone to hurt one of my sons – especially another one of my boys!”

But it’s important to remember that all our boys’ experiences are training for the larger picture of life. These are teachable moments that can help our boys learn about conflict management. They’ll need those lessons long after they step out from under our roof.

Proverbs 17:17 tells us, “A friend loves at all time, and a brother is born for adversity.” I know that’s what I want – brothers that will be there for each other in good times and bad. But that doesn’t happen magically; we have to train them toward that.

Don’t give up, Mom. We all endure those times of sibling rivalry, and they can light a mom’s angst if we’re not careful.

Instead, take a moment. Delve a bit deeper.
De-escalate by talking, playing, teaching. 

Turn them into teachable moments, and you’ll all be happier.

When Mom Loses It: The MESS!

Wednesday May 28, 2014 
 

In my years of mothering four boys, the mess morphed from blocks to trucks to balls and stinky shoes.

No matter what the age, the potential for mess was there.

And why did it bother me? 

Expectations—mine and the expectations of others. 

What if someone came over and saw what a mess the house was? (In retrospect, they’d realize I was a normal mom with normal boys…)

Why didn’t the boys do what I asked them to do—mainly, pick up after themselves? (Because they were kids—little fallen creatures who imitated their mom sometimes…she definitely didn’t always do what her Father told her to do.)

But it wasn’t just expectations. Some of us just work better, think better, in organized situations. I grew up in one, and that probably predisposed me to wanting some order. 

So, how to deal with the mess? 

How can I reduce the likelihood that the mess will trigger Mom Angst?

Realize some mess is simply to be expected. Ease up.

Try to contain the mess. I remember insisting that toys were played with in the family room or in one’s room. (Then I could go to the living room, take a deep breath, and pretend the rest of the house looked as organized.)

Come up with a Clean Up System. Do what works for you. My boys would go into toy overload when absolutely everything they owned was in the floor. So before naps or before we went anywhere, we’d do a quick clean up. Then when we returned or they awoke, they started fresh—and I felt fresher.

Organize the toy-keeping and teach the kids how to keep it. Involve them in the process. Kids always buy into something when they feel they’re a part of it. Ask, “Where should we put all the trucks?” or “Should we put Lego people with the blocks or keep them in their own spot?”

Kids need creative chaos, but they also need to know how to organize. Believe it or not, the times you spend encouraging them to put the blocks where they belong correlate to the (hopefully) organized backpack they’ll carry to school.

The mess will crop up again; some days are just messier than others.

Take a deep breath, Mom, and thank God that your kids are mobile, that they do play, that they can make noise.

Any ideas, Moms? How do you handle the constant mess of childhood? 




Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

Friday May 23, 2014 


It’s Friday, and it’s time for some gratitude. 

Why?

It's amazing what gratitude can do.

Stayed tuned for my fifth favorite, a quote that will inspire gratitude.

I’m linking up with the ladies of Friday’s Fave Five today, where we recount our blessings of the week.

 Here are my favorites: 


1. The end of the 2013-2014 school year. With graduation tonight, the school year closes for me. It’s been a good one, and it signals some later mornings (yay!) and the time to jump into my studies. Can’t wait!!

2. Graduates. It’s such a bittersweet time for parents and teachers. We hate to see them leave, but what a blessing to see these young people moving into their college years. And to think that I have the privilege of being a little part of that!

3. Friends. I’ll be sitting with some great ones tonight, all decked out in our stoles and gowns. It will be the last year I’ll sit with some and I’ll miss them terribly. And it’s the first year for another, one who was a student ten years ago and now is a colleague. Very cool.

4. Essays. Yes, exam essays, believe it or not. I read a few that were just awesome. Makes you feel like they really “got it.” Love that.

5. This quote: 

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” (Melodie Beattie)

The fullness of life—where we see that we have enough, where we revel in acceptance, and where we celebrate order and clarity we didn’t see before.

Simply being thankful can help us relate to yesterday, today, and tomorrow in the shadow of the Giver of all. 

Wishing you gratitude that transforms this week,
 

In Over My Head

Friday May 16, 2014


Ever been in over your head?

It’s scary and exciting all at the same time…

Stay tuned for more as my fifth favorite, a quote, sheds a little light on that.

I’m linking up with Friday’s Fave Five where we share five blessings from the past week.

My favorites this week:

1. Graduation! Yes, the last Groves boy has graduated from college. What a great combination weekend it was – Graduation and Mother’s Day – and we had ALL the boys together, along with two wonderful daughters-in-law and an awesome grandson. It was just great having them all together. So proud of the youngest as he graduates, works, gets his own place. Just wish we were closer geographically—to all of them!

2. Hospitality. Our third son, Andrew, and his sweet wife hosted all of us. We had 8 adults, a six month old puppy, and a three year old boy packed in, and happy chaos ensued. It was great to see all they’ve done to their first Home Sweet Home. They were truly gracious hosts.

3. Endings and beginnings. Today is the last Friday of the school year for us. Looking forward to having time for other pursuits after that. (More on that in #5.)

4. Summer. More travels to share time with family are ahead, and it’s easy for me to get excited about that. I love to travel and we’ll get to see some family members we only see once a year.

5. This quote:

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” (T.S. Eliot)

This quote made me smile, and it made me think of my new endeavor. I start working on my Ph.D. this summer. I’m reading for the first class, and I am loving it. It’s exciting and a little scary.

And another thing about that quote—if I had said it, I’d modify it a bit. For me, it would read:

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how big God is?” (Laura Lee Groves)

I’ve felt a definite pull toward this course of study, and all the preparation I’m doing is confirming that. Anything new is a bit scary, but when you know Who is walking beside you, it is so exciting.

I can’t wait to see what He will do with this new journey.

Wishing you some “over your head” times this week,

Craving certainty

Friday May 2, 2014 
 

It's easy to feel adrift, in need of safety and security.

We crave certainty in an uncertain world.

How do we find it? In an unlikely place.

Stay tuned for my fifth fave, a quote that will, paradoxically, remind you where to find it.

I'm linking up with the ladies of Friday's Fave Five today as we recount the blessings of the week. Won't you give thanks, too?

My favorites this week:

1. The month of May! To quote my Facebook status earlier this week, "Month of May, you are my friend." Not surprisingly, quite a few other teacher friends "liked" that one. Looking forward to slower summer days.

2. A class I'm taking. I'm learning so much. This classes is full of inspiration and truth. I may just take some kind of class all my life... Love to be a student.

3. Conversations with my boys. I just love hearing from them. Of course, it makes me wish we lived closer to one another, but I love to have a chat on the phone with each one. It's great.

4. My students. I'm sure that's a repeat because I say it a lot, but even here in the last weeks of school, I do love these high school kids. They drive me crazy sometimes, but I'm usually smiling as I go over the edge. :0)

5. This quote:

"Security is not to be found in your wisdom and strength, but in the moment by moment grace that meets you in your weakness." (Paul Tripp)

This is so true. I know I strive to be strong, to figure everything out, to be wise...but His strength is make perfect in my weakness. Love the paradoxes of the gospel. 

All I have to do to find my strength, my safety, my security, is to yield--and the beauty of it is, the One I'm yielding to considers me precious and loved and valued.

Wishing you grace this week,  
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