Thursday, January 17, 2008

Interview with a Mom - Marla

Today I have a very special "Interview with a Mom" to share with you - an interview with my mom!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I have been married to Gary for almost 31 years; have three grown daughters, two of whom are married with children, giving me 7 grandchildren. They all live close, so I have the luxury of being involved in their lives. I help at our ministry, LifeSong for Orphans a couple days a week, and try to be available to baby-sit grandkids. I think I am busier now than ever, wearing more hats than I did as a young mom. That is okay for the most part, but once in a while, when I become overwhelmed with the busyness, I am grateful to be able to go to Florida with Gary for a few days!

Why do you love being a mom?

I always wanted to be a mom. Being a mom gave me purpose, something I struggled to find after my girls were raised. There were so many times when I did things wrong and I often felt inadequate (usually when I compared myself to other really great moms), but I never, never considered my job as a stay-at-home mother unimportant or worthless. I knew that I was raising children who would hopefully grow up to love the Lord and who could make a difference in the world.

What has been the most challenging part about being a mom for you?

Being consistent. I always said that the only thing I was consistent at was being inconsistent.

If you could go back in time and change one thing about the way you parented what would it be?

Well, this is the thing... when the girls were still at home, I would have said something like, “I wish I had taught a better work ethic.” But now they are young women who all seem to have found their niche, and are actually doing more purposeful things than I did at their ages. So I just thank God for his mercy in spite of my lack.

How did you keep your husband first in the midst of mothering?

This is especially hard with young kids, because a crying baby needs attending, even if you are in the middle of a conversation. I guess one thing I did was always go to bed when Gary did, even though many times I was just getting my second wind. And we would get away for a few days a couple times a year without the girls.

Share your favorite bible verse and why it means so much to you.

One of my favorites is Micah 6:8. “He hath showed thee O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” To me as a mother it means to do the best I can, to be understanding with my kids when the “best” doesn’t happen, and to realize who I am and that it is God who can bring it all together.

What do you like to listen to in your car (music, talk radio, nothing, etc.)?
I listen to the Moody affiliate almost all the time in the car. I really enjoy the speakers and the music they play. I do go through spurts of WGN talk radio, too, especially if the Cubs are playing, but it is usually Moody now.

How has your mom influenced your parenting?

She showed me how to serve my family, because she was always doing it. After I was married w/ children, she was usually available to keep the kids for a few days if we were traveling. Even though she worked, she hardly ever turned me down. Of course, she lived far enough away that I didn’t ask her except for when we were going on a trip. The circumstances are a little different with me living close to my kids, but I want to be available to them when they need me. I never realized how much Mom did for the family until I had one of my own, and I never realized how tiring it was for her to keep my children for extended stays, until I became a grandma.

Also, Mom never meddled so I try to keep my advice to my grown children to a minimum. (unless they ask, of course)

Share one good “mom tip” that you have learned over the years.

Because Gary played piano, I tried to get us all to sing together. Because of that, we actually did a few gigs! When Megan was 9, Jami was 7, and Leslie was 4, we started singing at nursing homes and ladies luncheons. So I guess my tip would be to find what your kids are good at, something you can enjoy together, and use it to bless others.

Do you have any parting advice for young moms?

First of all, I know that I am preaching to the choir. Most of you young mothers that read this are already doing wonderful jobs…I am witness to it. So I guess this really just serves as an encouragement to keep up the good work.

We reminded our kids often that the most important thing in life is serving the Lord. (Gary was especially good at this.) If we had done everything else right and neglected their spiritual lives, it would mean nothing, absolutely nothing. If you lead them to a lifelong relationship with God, all of the other training will fall into place. Of course, the best way to teach is by example. When they see how sold out you are to Jesus, they will desire that relationship, too.

One last thing….fill your home with laughter. Try to find humor even in disasters…it will help you to keep sane, and it will be a comfort to your kids.

Thanks for the encouragement Mom - I love you and have been so blessed by your example! I want to be like you when I grow up! :)


Taylor said...

What a special treat to hear from your mom! I am always amazed at how my mom juggled everything when my sister and i were growing up. She did it all and I admire her so much for it and wish I had her energy. But I know that I am not her and God made me differently, so I never try to live up to all the things she did. What a great interview!

Anonymous said...

Megan and Marla, thanks for the interview! It is encouraging to see God's faithfulness in the lives of your girls. I like the humor part, I enjoy that when I am around your family too. I also like the work ethic advice...what an encouragment...I have heard of moms who build this wonderful idea of picking up toys and their children joyfully do it...I have tried but I usually get "we have to pick up AGAIN! I didn't make the mess, so&so did!" I am glad God works in our children in spite of our best efforts :-)

Closer to knowing... said...

aunt marla-hopefully you will read this-i was just thinking of you two days ago because i was feeling very down because although life doesn't feel 'bad', it realized it's been awhile since i really felt like i was enjoying it. i thought of calling you and asking you if you ever felt that way, and if it's just phases that you pass through. (please tell me yes!!) :)

so it was SO special to read this interview from you a couple days later. i am sort of the same as you as far as always thinking mothering was important, and i used to say to jaret, "yes, the kids drive me crazy almost every day, but i still love being a mother."

i still wouldn't say i don't love it, but i just can't muster the enthusiasm to say i love it. i guess it IS winter (which always depresses me), i'm pregnant, tired, and often feel overwhelmed, so surely this will pass!? :)

anyway, this isn't my blog so sorry for the long post, but it was just such a blessing to read your thoughts so soon after thinking i'd like to talk to you.

love you both,

Marla said...

You are totally is winter blahs. I still go through times when I just don't "feel" it (love, close to God, happy, etc.) but that is when we rely on faith and not feelings. Please call anytime..I would love to talk to you. We are all in the same boat. (Except for the pregnant part:)

Lori said...

Marla & Megan -
It was wonderful to read your interview! Delayne and I have been so blessed to get to know your whole family! We often say that if there is anything that we strive for, it would be to raise a family that loves the Lord, each other, and to laugh together like we see when you are all together. There are so many days when I feel like I am totally failing on all counts of this enormous task of parenting, so your advice and encouragement was great. Megan, thanks for doing these interviews, I always enjoy them. Love you both!

Jami said...

Mom - what a great interview! You have been a truly wonderful mom! From little on up I knew you would listen to me and always made me feel validated and loved! Now I "feel your pain" when my kids follow me around the house talking to me all day! :)

Though I still kind of do that to you. . don't I! :)

I love you Mom...and you too Megan...and Leslie if your reading this too..and...well I'll stop now! :) (cue the rolling of the eyes)

Ann said...

I came across this blog and interview through Jen Heiniger's blog (she is the daughter of my cousin Cathy Hohulin) and really enjoyed reading it--and have no doubt that your mom was being self-effacing as to her talents as a mom, that she was a wonderful one. I knew Marla back before you were even a gleam in her eye :-) . . .Tell her that Ann Klopfenstein Bailes says hello, that we have absolutely worn out the Joy in the Journey CD she gave us when we were in Gridley about four years ago, and that someday, maybe this side of heaven, we are still going to have to get together for a night of singing!