I raised and homeschooled FIVE kids in an 1800s farmhouse, with ONE bathroom.
Pause for reaction…
It was hard! There were definitely times I wanted to give up, but watching my children grow up and become amazing people and knowing I had a part to play in their education and development overshadowed any of the tough times.
Sometimes I feel like I am the wealthiest person in the world because I have a family that is always there for me.
Nothing matters more than family!
There is no greater reward than having your family together, connected, loving one another, and serving God. That’s why I want to do anything I can to encourage you and give you the tools you need to keep your family connected and on the path that God created for you.
Here are some insights I’ve learned from over 30 years of raising children, as well as some practical tips to help you stay connected to them, even in the busiest seasons of life.
If you have more than one child, it can be hard to fit in one-on-one time, but it is so, so, so important!
You have probably heard the saying, the days are long, but the years are short.
I can tell you from experience, it is so true! I can hardly believe that all my children are grown. In fact, my youngest, Kirsten, recently got engaged. I feel like it was just yesterday that she was as tall as our kitchen table, walking around in a make-believe wedding dress.
Sometimes it can be sad when I think about how my kids are all grown up and have moved on, many with children of their own, but whenever that sadness creeps in, it’s the thoughts of all the special memories that turn those feelings to joy!
As a mom, I’m sure you have SO much free time on your hands… right?
I know the hardest thing to find, as a mom, is spare time. Usually every minute is accounted for with school, sports, family get-togethers, and MORE!
When I was raising five little children, it was hard to find one-on-one time, but I made it a high priority. I want to encourage you to do whatever it takes to make time for each of your children.
YOU have the power to re-prioritize!
When each of my daughters was little, I planned a one-on-one mommy/daughter overnight trip to Belpre, Ohio, to visit the Lee Middleton Doll Factory.
I remember leaving with Kirsten from church after we broke ground on our new building. She had been playing in the sand volleyball court, and as we made that two-hour drive to Belpre, sand kept working its way out of her jean pockets all over her seat. My car looked like it was hit by a dust devil!
We toured the doll factory, and she picked out a doll from their little newborn doll nursery. Then, we visited the gift shop to shop for accessories and a diaper bag for her doll.
I made a point of doing this with each of my girls to create a special memory for each of them. They were all such memorable trips; and years later, my girls and I still talk about them.
In fact, before Kirsten got engaged, I whisked her away to Paris for one last mother/daughter trip. Little did she know, there was a little surprise waiting for her…
I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about her going down the aisle…
Okay, deep breath… I’ve got it together now.
Whatever you decide to do, it doesn’t have to be expensive or even an overnight trip, as long as it’s a time with just the two of you!
Remember, the years are short.
And just think, you are creating the kind of special memories that will last your kids a lifetime, memories that hopefully become traditions for them and their children one day.
If you want more insights and information on re-prioritizing your life and putting God first, go HERE and listen to my She Gets It! teaching. It’s a FREE video that I hope will guide you to the person God created you to be.
Bonus tip: I know it’s hard to find time in the schedule and extra funds in the bank to do a little trip, but if you make it a priority and build the expense into your annual budget, it will become something to look forward to all year! Put away a set amount each month in a separate savings account and then stick to it!
Disconnecting from Electronics
So many people aren’t investing in family anymore… that’s what the enemy wants!
I know after a long day of changing dirty diapers, making meals, and sorting through piles of laundry that never seem to end, it’s easier to turn on the TV and let technology parent your children, especially because in the culture, that’s what’s “normal.”
I remember being pregnant with my son, Tom, while trying to homeschool my two older children. There were days I felt so sick, I would just crawl into our recliner and pray for it to pass.
Well, it did pass! And I want to tell you that your tough days will pass too. I want to encourage you, when you do have good days, maximize them!
Put in that extra effort. I am telling you it will pay off big down the road!
I know sometimes it’s just easier to check out, but every time you invest in your family, you are making it harder for the enemy to divide you.
Electronics aren’t a bad thing; I’ll admit, even I can get distracted on my phone, especially when there is an online sale! With technology, it’s all about the way you are using it and the amount of time it’s taking up.
A good way to see if you are leaning on electronics a little too much is to remove electronics for a few days and take note of how much different your child’s day is.
Does a day without electronics throw your house into disarray?
If so, it might be time for a change.
I want to encourage you to unplug from technology and dive back into family time.
Gather that last bit of energy, and get down on the floor for some play time.
Did you know that simply playing with your child releases the feel-good hormone, oxytocin? Children are wired for play! It makes them feel calm and loved and helps them learn and connect with others.
Bonus tip: Create technology-free zones in places that are strictly for connecting, like the dining room. Or technology-free times of day, like an hour or two before bed. Studies prove that screen time right before bed actually makes it harder for kids to fall asleep!
Working in God’s Strength
Something I learned early on, as a mom, was that I couldn’t give what I didn’t have.
You can’t truly connect with your children if you are constantly worrying about financial issues, work drama, or any of the other curve balls that the enemy throws your way.
If you find yourself constantly stressing out during the tough times and finding it hard to give to others because of it, I want to encourage you to pray.
Prayer got me through so many moments of stress. I learned the value of asking God to insert His power into my circumstances when I was running on empty.
God never let me down!
In the early years of our marriage, before Gary and I really understood how the Kingdom operated, we struggled financially. Gary felt hopeless, exhausted from working all the time, and stressed from all of the debt that we had…
$9,000 in credit cards alone!
Gary couldn’t concentrate on our family because he was under attack and didn’t yet have the tools to get out of it. It was a dark time for our family.
But once we asked God to reveal His Kingdom, and started walking out those principles, we were set free from fear and worry. We had everything back: our family, our marriage, provision, and our happiness!
Gary was set free from that survival mentality and was able to be a wonderful, devoted, and loving father, and has been ever since!
Trusting God for the outcome and casting down negative thoughts with His Word is the foundation for a happy heart and healthy relationships.
I want to encourage you to find moments throughout your day to talk to God and let Him show you His Kingdom. Let God handle your circumstances, so you can focus on your family and pursue God’s vision for your life!
Don’t let worry steal your joy! Our children model what they see, so demonstrate an attitude of peace!
Bonus tip: Something that always helps me with overcoming negative thoughts is printing out Bible verses and putting them in my home. You can put them in your office, on your refrigerator, coffeemaker, anywhere you will see them A LOT! Click HERE for Bible verses to help you receive courage and wisdom.
If you are a struggling through a tough season of parenting right now, or if you are just looking for fresh ideas about kid-friendly activities, I want to help! That’s why I’ve developed some fun ideas for you and your kids to maximize family time fun! Go to the Drenda.com homepage and print out this FREE resource.
Are you ready to get HAPPY? God has an incredible plan for your life, but it starts with discovering your joy in His presence. Embark on a journey toward a happier you today by ordering my new devotional, The Happy Life: Notes from God HERE!