Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I have four children ages 13--Gabe, 10--Tanner, 10--Parker, 7--Macy. Curt and I have been married 17 years. We live in Morton, IL, and Curt is working at State Farm and attending Lincoln Christian Seminary working on a masters in Christian Counseling. I have been a homemaker since Gabe was born until last year when I went back to work as a teacher's aide at the same elementary school as my youngest three. God has blessed us in countless ways, and we feel very thankful, but strive to be even more so.
Why do you love being a mom?
I enjoy spending time with my kids just having fun, seeing their successes, and watching their personalities grow and develop. I'm thankful for the opportunity to raise children to know the Lord and hopefully someday make a difference for Him in the world. Right now I love being a mom because I like the stage of life my kids are at. They can all feed themselves, get into the car themselves, wash and dress themselves, play relatively unsupervised, and yet they're still not to cool to enjoy being with Curt and I.
What has been the most challenging part about being a mom for you?
This is hard to limit to one thing. I have a magnet on my fridge that says "Motherhood is not for wimps." It is very true. In younger years the most challenging part(s) were the nights with little sleep, the constant demand on my time, the job that continually got interrupted, the mental strain of dealing with the demands of needy little people, the consistent discipline that is required to raise little ones, and the lack of time to myself. I came to realize what a selfish person I really was and still am when I had my children.
Now that my children are older, the hardest part(s) are more relational. I don't enjoy helping them learn to deal with disappointment and failure. It's a struggle to be consistent in teaching them how to respond to others socially, how to discipline themselves to get work done, how to do their best at something and still accept the results. The list could go on and on. As the saying goes, "Motherhood is the hardest job you'll ever love."
What advice do you have for moms in the preschool years?
Hang in there. I know you don't want to hear my next sentence, but truth is truth. Those preschool years will be gone in the blink of an eye. I never believed anybody when they told me that, but they were right. Be consistent and loving in discipline, cuddle them while you can, take lots of pictures and videos--I even videoed a night of screaming babies just to remember it all. Enjoy the crazy little things they say and do, and get lots of rest. When you're tired, don't feel like the house is too messy to lay down while the kids nap. You and the kids need the break, or you'll respond to your kids later in ways you wish you had not. For the sake of your children and your husband, take a break while they nap.
Share your favorite bible verse and why it means so much to you.
Again this is hard to say just one because this seems to change with the times in my life. I would say that if I had to pick one that I seem to keep coming back to the most, it would probably be Prov. 3:5-6. Life is full of changes and decisions and fears and concerns, but if I just keep coming back to trust in God and His direction, I can make it through.
How do you keep your husband first in the midst of mothering?
We do date nights here and there. We try to do at least one or two a month, but that doesn't always happen. We take weekend get-a-ways once or twice a year. I think those are huge. We try to talk alone for at least ten minutes a day without kids around. Again that goes in spurts, but it is a good goal to aim for. We go to bed together almost every night, and pray together before bed. Mostly it's the little things. Do the little things for him that he likes, and he'll feel loved and respected.
What is your favorite lunchtime meal?
Pizza rolls, egg rolls, leftovers. Sorry, but I'm not a lunchtime expert. I just feel good when everybody's eaten and the kitchen's cleaned up.
What is your favorite summer activity?
Probably reading or swimming with the kids or playing disc golf as a family.
Name someone who has had a positive influence on you as a mother?
Again, more than one, but I would definitely say my mom was the biggest influence on me. My growing up years were wonderful because she always made me feel loved and secure. Home was a haven after school because I knew Mom would be there when I got home. Parents, and probably even more so moms, are the first examples of God to children, and when moms make children feel safe, secure, and loved, they, in turn, can trust God someday to be that same loving, trustworthy guide in their own lives.
Share one good “mom tip” that you have learned over the years.
It's almost never too early to have them help around the house. They can help clean up toys or whatever as soon as they can figure out where the toy box is and that the toys go in it. It helps a lot when they learn to fend for themselves and help you out whereever possible. Kids and mom will both be happier in the long run.
Do you have any parting advice for young moms?
Love them like crazy because you're going to make lots and lots and lots of mistakes, but love covers a multitude of sins. God bless you all!