I attended the Hearts at Home National Conference over the weekend, and it was just what I needed. Six moms took to the road in a Honda minivan on Friday afternoon, heading off to what we affectionately refer to as “Mommy School”. We had a nice dinner Friday evening and then hung out in our jammies and talked until midnight (pretty late for a “school” night.) Mommy Communication: 101 and Keep the Siblings, Lose the Rivalry were among the classes I took at school on Saturday. The majority of the workshops I attended were filled with practical information and tips for making the profession of motherhood a little less challenging. Some were just fun ideas to incorporate into our routine to increase and improve our family time together. Some were actual steps to follow in order to “train” my kids to play together with less conflict. But the primary idea that every speaker of the day stated over and over again was about God. I am paraphrasing here, but I like the way one speaker in particular put it. She said to remember that we are not perfect mothers, and we are not expected to be perfect mothers, but that we have a perfect God to count on to be our partner in parenting.
The abundance of useful information is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I want to do it all, yet there are way too many helpful hints and ideas to touch on everything at once. I am excited to teach Big D to say: “C.B. when you take my things without asking it makes me feel angry”, rather than snatching the item out of his brother’s hand and shouting “That’s mine!” I am interested in using my newly learned methods of listening and responding to my children, and also in trying hard to model behavior that I would actually want them to imitate. However, these are things that don’t always come naturally for me and will take lots and lots of practice.
But out of all of those practical ideas, the one about remembering God as my partner in parenting is probably the most important. You wouldn’t think it sounds too difficult to incorporate into my daily like either. And yet even this simple idea is something that does not come naturally for me. I am very used to being in control, especially when it comes to things that affect my children. I feel so helpless when I am forced to allow another person to take over the driver’s seat temporarily. Even when I leave my kids in the care of their father, I feel like I have to get things all set up for them so that things will happen exactly as if I were there with them. I thought it would be easier for me to be less controlling when it came to God because he’s, well…God! But it’s not easy, it’s not natural, and just like the other things I want to work on, it will take practice.
Besides all of the workshops, the great parenting ideas, and the inspirational talks, I was also blessed to be with 5 wonderful moms during the 30-hour journey. It was not only loads of fun being with them and talking and talking and talking, it just made the overall experience more complete. I love that I had those women to talk about the things we learned that day. I love that I had those women to share the emotions that are inevitably stirred up when more than 3,000 mothers are all in one auditorium. (There’s a reason they give you Kleenex in your welcome packet!) I love that I have those women for my allies, my supporters, and my friends. I’m already looking forward to next year, ladies!!