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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Forty years: Number seven.

Continuing on in my "Forty Years Series", here is thought number seven:

Be in the moment - especially when it comes to raising your children.

Time FLIES. How is it even possible that my oldest child is 23, my girl is 21, and my 'baby' is 19? If I would have truly known how quickly those moments would pass, I would have done a few things differently. So, for those of you who are just starting off or who still have children at home, here is some advice I'd like you to seriously consider.

At this season in your life, what is more important than raising your children? (and being a good wife!!)

I see so many moms spending way too much time on the internet, on social media, etc. So caught up in what's going on in other places that they miss the moments that are unfolding right in front of them. And for what? I've seen it over and over and over again. Mom is busy looking at her phone. Children get into fights and mom cannot discern what was the cause because she was occupied doing her own thing. Her judgments are not, nor cannot be, just and loving because she was somewhere else instead of where she should have been. Or they find something interesting or exciting ... they want to share but mom only gives them a small part of her attention. They are not stupid! They know when mom is really paying attention! Communication lines are being CUT instead of TIED. They will learn that they are not important enough to deserve mom's undivided attention. And if they do actually get her undivided attention, it only lasts for a few minutes, and then mom is back on your phone again.

Maybe mom does not use social media? Maybe she just likes to look up recipes and get organizing ideas? This can divide and rob attention too! She gets online "for just a minute" to "quickly" look up a recipe. An hour goes by and she does not even realize it. Where did the time go and what were her children doing during that gap?

I assume my daughter will have a family of her own some day. If her husband believes it's ok to have the internet in the home, I have counseled her to be VERY careful and heavily guard her time. Internet is not bad ... in fact, it can be a blessing and a very useful tool. But we must be very conscious about our use of it. When I finally got a hold of this, I found it easiest to set aside time to use the internet and did not go outside of it. So that is my counsel to my daughter and to you - set aside time that will not interfere with your responsibilities as a wife and mother. I believe it is best to set aside time when your children will be asleep and your husband will not mind.

And this is not just about social media!! Another area where I see time being robbed is during meals. More often than not, I see mothers making separate meals for their children, sitting them down to eat, getting their own meal ready, and by the time mom is ready to sit down and eat the children are done. They go off to do their own thing while mom eats (and uses the internet, watches tv, reads, whatever). Mom is a short-order cook, catering to picky eaters.

Eat your meals together!!!! Prepare a meal, put the food at the table, have everyone sit down, dish out the food, and eat. Talk to each other!!!! Give each person a turn to share one interesting thing about their day so far. What was one thing they have learned today? Or in what way have they been a blessing to someone else? The topic of possibilities is endless ... but the point is the same: talk! Learn about each other. Meal time is such a great time to bond with everyone in the family, and it can happen AT LEAST three times a day! We always ate breakfast, lunch, supper, and at least one snack together. It wasn't until the boys started working outside of the home that things had to change ... and guess what? I MISS THAT TIME THE MOST!

In short, pay very close attention to how you are spending your time when your children are still at home. Be sure you are in the moment. You will not regret it!

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