There are some people who dread the day their children come home from school and stay for the summer. They know there will be fighting, whining, boredom, noise, late nights, and just general chaos. This summer break seems like a prison sentence for some mothers. I've even known mothers who throw parties when their children return back to school.
Motherhood shouldn't feel like a prison sentence. In fact, it can be and should be the very source of a mother's power to impact the world for good. You see when the mother is wishing to have time alone, what she really needs is time connecting with someone. That someone could be a friend on Facebook, or it could be her own children.
I have noticed that I am the most joyful, and least frustrated by my children, when I am making a deliberate effort to communicate effectively with them and bond with them.
I know that at this point there are probably mothers who are thinking, “I am such a bad mommy, because my children drive me crazy. In fact, I can't wait to go to the office or to get them out the door to school.”
This doesn't mean you are a bad mommy. In fact, I would assume you are a really dedicated mommy, which is why motherhood is so draining to you. What this does mean is that you have not felt that deep connection that brings fulfillment for a long time.
Why would a mother not feel connected to her children? Well, behaviors can get in the way. Even the cutest children can become difficult to love when they are breaking everything they touch and becoming emotional every time something doesn't go their way.
How To Change The Feeling At Home
The feeling at home either energizes the whole family, or it tears the family apart. If you don't feel energized and calm by the feeling in your home, then it might be time for a few changes.
First, pray to love them again. When I did foster care for troubled teens I remember counting down the minutes until they would walk in the door from school some days because some of them were so hard to love. I knew that as soon as four o'clock came I would have to be with all the difficult behaviors again. So, at three forty-five I would go to my room and pray to feel love for that child. As soon as my heart felt connected to that child I would go watch for her to come home.
Second, I praised her every time she chose to do something right. Sometimes I had to really look for the good things. If I praised her more she was better behaved, and I loved her more. Appreciation is a magical principle to live by. The spirits of all parties are elevated by the act of appreciation.
Third, teach the children how to follow instructions, accept no answers, accept consequences and disagree appropriately. Knowing how to do these four basic skills makes the home environment more positive. Children are more obedient, the relationships are more effective, and people get more of what they want. It creates a free and honorable environment. Children are never happy if they aren't taught to honor their parents.
The Most Sensational Summer!
Summer is for the family. It is a time to make strong connections, to learn adult skills and time management. Summer isn't a time for selfishness and idleness. Idle people are never happy.
To make this summer the most sensational summer ever for your family, be there. Really be part of family living. Take the children along on your daily journey. Teach them as you live. Answer their questions, and explain why you do what you do. Limit friend time and increase family time.
This summer could be the best summer you have ever had, because it could change the way your family lives and loves. Look forward to each day. Wake up with a plan to connect to your children each day.
Start each day at the same time, if possible, and start it right. Each morning could be the time you study scriptures together and memorize songs and poems. Work in the yard together. Read together. Draw pictures together. Serve your neighbors together, and read stories.
How To Know You Were Successful!
Each night, after you have lived and loved your children, and made memories write it down in your journal.
I know, you stopped keeping a journal years ago. It's okay to start again. Just go buy a composition notebook from the dollar store and start tracking your daily family story. Each day you are living a story. Write it down. In fact, do more than that, plan for what memories you will write.
A journal is much more fun to write in if you plan out what you will do that day to add to your journal.
This type of reporting and living is called living deliberately. And, it is the only kind of living that invites freedom and happiness. It is a key to having self-government for yourself and your children.
See some of Nicholeen's family fun ideas for Summer or Family Night!