17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
 

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Words From Mom: Mothering Wisdom From the Aged

A while back we had our first in what we hope to be a series of guest posts written by our own mothers. We are now pleased to share the second post in this "Words From Mom" series. This one was sent to us by the woman who at the age of 44, without an epidural, pushed out a 10lb baby girl named Carrie:

I have been reading this blog with interst for a while now. What amazes me the most is that a group of moms with the same interests and values take the time and energy to support each other and share experiences and ideas about the awesome task of being a mother.

I’ve become aware that many of you have read at least some of the myriad of available parenting books or logged on to the multiple computer sites that offer information on every possible question you may have regarding raising children. And, by the way, there are some excellent new ideas and discoveries that are very useful and valid in raising children even though some may be contradictory. I wish so much knowledge had been available while I was raising my eight children. And just so you know, I am seventy-two years old, mother of eight (six girls and two boys), grandmother of thirty-seven, and great grandmother of twelve (number thirteen on the way).

I readily concede that many of the challenges you face today exceed those I had to deal with. But children’s basic needs have really not changed much over the years. What has changed so dramatically is the society and mores of the world in which you must raise those children...children we want to become responsible, dependable, hard working adults with values and standards, many of which are not in sync with the world in which they must live.

Having said all that, I would like to share several lessons I have learned over the years, which I consider to have been the most valuable in raising my nearly “perfect” children (I jest, of course.) You can use your own judgment as to whether or not the things I write are “wisdom from the aged” or “what does she know about raising children in our day?”

Here I go:

1. No two children are alike even though they may have the same genes, are raised in the same home under the same rules. (This gives me a strong testimony of the pre-existence). So you cannot treat them alike. What works for one will not work for another. You can’t raise all children “by the book”. And by the way, there is no one right way to raise children. There are many different “right” ways that will all be successful.

2. Parents do not have to be perfect or always make the right decisions to have our children turn our ok. I attended a parenting class when my children were young which was taught by a child psychologist. After several sessions it became clear that I was really “messing up” as a parent. In frustration I approached the instructor after class with, “How is it that our children turn out to be even close to normal with all the mistakes that parents make?” Then came this answer that was burned into my mind the rest of my life, “Because they do enough things right.” So do enough things right and your children will be just fine.

3. This same instructor taught us about what he called “Lollipop Love”…something that made my children less demanding of my time when I was truly busy. This is the philosophy of “lollypop love”. When your children are playing contentedly and are not making demands of you…you know, the time you try to tiptoe away so you can get something done …that is the time to take a few minutes, sit down and play with him, or just give him a hug and a kiss.(lollipop love) After a short while he will realize that he doesn’t have to misbehave or cry to get your attention. It worked for me!!

4. Now I will contradict somewhat what I said above. Once when I was really busy doing something that was really inconvenient for me to put down, my four- year- old son come running in all excited and said, “Come see! Come see! I really wanted to say, “Wait just a minute”, but resisted the impulse. (I’ll always be grateful for that.) I followed him to see the side hill of our yard covered with bright pink blossoms. The ice plant had bloomed for the first time that morning, and he was truly awed by the sight. If I had put him off, I would have missed sharing that very special moment of excitement with him. Be sensitive to things that important to your children, even if you can’t see that importance.

5. Be consistent! This is self explanatory, but critically important. Children need to know their boundaries and their consequences. And never say anything you can’t or won’t follow up on if the need arises. This gives them needed security.

6. Give choices, beginning at a young age. (This would take another whole page to describe what I mean and how it works, so I will just leave it at that.)

7. Trust yourself as a mother. You’ve heard the lament of many mothers, “I wish children came with a manual.” What they don’t realize is that they really do! It’s a God-given, internal manual found in all mothers. It is called INTUITION. Don’t be afraid to use it and trust it. It will work when all else fails.

8. Last of all I’d like to quote Marjorie Hinckley who said, “FIND JOY IN MOTHERING.” This is the best advice of all.

Keep up the good work, mothers! Because you care, you cannot fail.

14 Comments:

  • Thanks Grandma for the great advice! I am definatly printing this out and saving it in my journal. I love the story about my dad and the blossoms. I've heard it several times but everytime I hear it I find myself getting a little emotional. Sometimes it's hard to believe that my dad was once so little. He's almost 45 now! Hahaha. Anyways, I love you Grandma and thanks again for the comments. Some of the best lessons of life I learned from you.
    posted by Anonymous Mia Mortensen at 7/13/2006 03:49:00 PM  



  • I am #11 of the 37 grandchildren this remarkable woman has. I would definetly take her advice on motherhood. Grandma, I love you.
    posted by Anonymous brenbot at 7/13/2006 04:17:00 PM  



  • I'm grandchild #5!
    posted by Blogger tamrobot at 7/13/2006 04:26:00 PM  



  • I'm not related at all. But I really like the idea of "lollypop love".
    posted by Blogger Melinda at 7/13/2006 04:53:00 PM  



  • I'm not at all related to this remarkable woman, but I'm especially grateful for her advice--and thanks to Tales for posting it today. My son is not yet three, my daughter just 15 months, and I'm 16 weeks along with #3. Sometimes (a LOT of times) I just feel so overwhelmed with raising these precious little spirits--especially when they're acting more like little demons! So I'm grateful to hear from someone NOT related to me that I'm probably not doing all that bad of a job. So thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of this tired mama's heart.
    posted by Blogger Keryn at 7/13/2006 05:03:00 PM  



  • Gma M---adopted Gma to my daughter (when you come to visit)...I got teary at the end when I read "because you care" Thanks for all the great steps...b/c I love 10-lb Carrie I will take your advice to heart.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 7/13/2006 05:49:00 PM  



  • Your Lollipop Love is exactly what I read in a Positive Parenting book recently. Go ahead and notice that your kids are behaving. So even if they are just sitting quietly in the car (not fighting or whining) I pat them on the leg, I smile, I give them a kiss on the head, etc.
    You have listed a LOT of good parenting advice. Its amazing to see how universal it is. Thank you so much for taking the time to share all of those things.
    posted by Anonymous JKS at 7/13/2006 07:14:00 PM  



  • OK, I needed your post today G-ma. I did the Lollypop love and everything. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us. And thanks for having Carrie, all 10 pounds of her - we like having her around.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 7/13/2006 07:50:00 PM  



  • How come I did not know Carrie weighed 10 pounds? That is unthinkable!

    Thank you so much for your post. Your legacy is astounding. One that I truly admire. You have raised a beautiful daughter, whom I adore. She exemplifies a true friend. A testiment to your parenting!
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 7/13/2006 08:15:00 PM  



  • 10 lbs...without an epidural. Amazing.

    Thank you for this great advice. It's definitely "wisdom from the aged".
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 7/14/2006 08:23:00 AM  



  • Can you be my grandma, too?
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 7/14/2006 08:31:00 AM  



  • Grandma-
    Thank you so much! The best thing I ever did in my life was to marry your first grandson. You continually amaze me with your wisdom, kindess, and wit --and I think you know EXACTLY how to raise kids "now-a-days".

    Carrie-
    Now I know why my #3 weighed ten pounds! It's genetic! :)
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 7/14/2006 08:18:00 PM  



  • z, I didn't know that true friendship was defined by knowing each others' birth weights.

    And come on, Carrie was number 8, you gotta think things are a little stretchier by then...
    posted by Blogger Kage at 7/15/2006 07:39:00 AM  



  • Thanks for putting this together for us mom. I especially like the Lollipop Love too. I need to be reminded to do it because it doesn't come naturally...yet.

    It's also nice to get the reminder that we're doing enough things right as mothers. It seems like for every one thing a read or hear about parenting that I am doing right, I read about 2 things I'm doing wrong. And sometimes I read that the right things are actually wrong and the wrong things are actually right. It's enough to drive a mom crazy! It reminds me of a post The Wiz wrote at MMW a few weeks ago.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 7/15/2006 09:27:00 AM  



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