Back to Simply a Young Mother this Year

I write this as I sit on a plane coming home from the 2011 American Mothers National Convention. I am officially a past National Young Mother of the Year and am headed back to Indiana to join my life already in progress as simply a young mother (as a 46 year old mom, I have decided to keep that part of the title).  Shawni Pothier is the 2011 Young Mother of the Year and is a wonderful, authentic, and inspiring young mother.

I spent time in Salt Lake City, Utah with inspiring and wonderful mothers. Some who are parenting children with special needs (as is Shawni) with the love, strength and fortitude of only a mother. Some who spend much time and energy, spreading love and support within their communities. Whether through the support of military families, placing food in the backpacks of school children for the weekend, or raising money for causes they hold near and dear, these mothers are nurturing and contributing far beyond their own families.

One of the things I love best about the national convention of American Mothers is that it pulls me away from the dailies of laundry, carpool, groceries, practices, dinner and more to inspire me through the stories of moms I would never otherwise meet. I believe sometimes we moms need time away from our families to gain perspective.

I certainly can get caught up in the dailies….let’s face it, there are so many. But I am returning home with the bigger picture in mind again. The reminder that as I parent in the dailies, I am effecting the direction and destination of our children. That parenting with intention doesn’t just happen, (thus the word intention) but that even as I value that, I still lose focus sometimes.

My greatest desire is that our kids leave our home as confident young adults. Confident in our unending, deep, abiding and passionate love for them. Confident of their faith in Jesus and secure in why they believe what they do about their faith. I want them to have explored the gifts and talents they have discovered thus far. I want them to have secured the belief system that serving others is simply what you do. That being honest, kind and giving is rewarding and fulfilling. That they know lessons learned in failure are better than no lessons at all.

As the plane descends, I look forward to landing back in my life of parenting with renewed focus and intent. Thank you American Mothers for the opportunity to step away and be inspired.

Pardon me….

Tonight while we were sitting at Zach’s football game, a woman came late and joined some friends of hers behind us. They asked why she was late and she said, “I had to go back to where we ate dinner,” her son had left something on the tray and it had been thrown in the trash, she went on to say, “I am Mother of the Year because I went back and dug through the trash and found it!”

I was like….ummm….hmmm…..A c t u a l l y…..let me introduce myself, I don’t think we’ve met!

OK, if you know me at all, you know I didn’t really say that, but Kevin, Kyler and I did share knowing looks. :) I also knew immediately that this was too funny not to share. How many times is a moment like that ever going to happen?!

I love that we ALL have moments as moms where we put on the sash that says “Mother of the Year”and the crown that sparkles with our shiny moments! (although in real like there is no sash or crown, but there is a plaque and a statue). Here’s to all of us sharing this title!!

What an Honor

Today, along with the Indiana Mother of the Year, Darlene Cyr, I was honored as the National Young Mother of the Year at the Allen County Courthouse. I am posting, in part, what I spoke about since this blog is about the journey of a year in the life as the National Young Mother of the Year…

As a 45 year old mother of 4, can I just say it is an honor to represent YOUNG mothers!!

For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage this month and are in the midst of raising four future adults. I say “future adults” as my perspective has changed as our oldest prepares to head to college in the fall…I am glad we have not raised a child as they are self-centered and are prone to throw tantrums easily.

The opportunity in May through American Mothers to attend their national convention in New York City and meet moms from across this country made me realize that what we are doing is so much larger than what we may realize on a daily basis.

It’s easy for me to get caught up in the daily tasks and believe it’s about homework, chores, practice, dinner and such. But meeting moms from Alaska to New York reminded me that we are raising up this country…in fact the next generation. The new leaders are all in our homes, so what we do on a daily basis matters in a really big way. Such as…

* Walking in integrity and with character…behind the doors of our home. This is important, its what our kids see most clearly.

* Not being distracted when we interact with them, which can be so hard with the cell phone, inbox and text messaging we find ourselves engaged in.* Looking to God so they understand that even we have a higher authority.

* Following through on what we say.

* Apologizing when we need to…especially to them.
* Showing the tender mercies of grace and forgiveness.
* Learning what is relevant to our kids and then leading them through what for us is uncharted territory. (Who knew I would have to be talking to my middles schoolers about messages and pictures that could show up on their cell phones.)

With technology today it seems our kids are leading the way. How many of us have had our kids do things on the computer for us or show us how to use our new phones! They are moving in a world of technology many of us do not understand and so some of us stay out of it. Let me say, we can’t stay out of it. We must lead them through this even though we walk in uncharted territory. They may not look like it or sound like it, but they are looking for guidance and boundaries and we must step up and lead them.

If you have ever looked at your kids and were confused about where they came from, remember they were created by our creator and He knows them better than we do, so we go to God for guidance. He longs to direct our steps so we can help direct them in the way He created them to go.

Look to other moms. I am here today because I rub shoulders and lean on other moms for wisdom and strength, counsel and prayer. Keep or get some moms who are a little ahead of you, a lot ahead of you, right next to you and even younger than you on this parenting thing.

The truth is this, the very fabric of our nation is coming from our homes. Be reminded that from this generation, who right now we get to wrap our arms around, is coming our very next generation of leaders.

One of us is raising our future President.

All of us are raising future church and community leaders, teachers, CFO’s, CMO’s, CEO’s, managers, engineers, sales people, mechanics and so much more more.
Seeing the bigger picture can be a little overwhelming. But you and I will create this tapestry one day, and one parenting decision at a time. What an honor. I look forward to doing my part and walking alongside you as you do yours.