by: Sandra Elzie
There are a lot of adjectives that could be used to describe me: Female, retired, Christian, romance fiction writer, wife, aunt…and the list goes on and on. But there’s one that I’m very proud of that I’m focusing on today. Mother. Aw, yes, and now that I’m on the “other side” of those challenging years of rearing offspring, my temper is almost non-existent and I’m a much more likable person…most of the time. But looking back over the years, I realize I had rules that had to be followed in order to avoid the dreaded “Mother Look,” as my daughter called it…or, in general, facing the wrath of mother.
Of course, there were house rules about doing their chores and homework before playing, being polite and putting their dirty clothes in the hamper (or run out of underwear since I refused to pick up said garments from the floor or from under the bed), but today I thought I’d focus on the rules I set up for myself.
- Say “I Love You.” Children need to be told how much they’re loved along with the discipline that is dished out to instruct them on how to become a productive citizen and a potentially better spouse for their future mate.
- Bite Your Tongue. Everyone knows that children learn to walk, speak, etc by imitating those around them. Well, if they’re around people who lose their tempers and yell a lot, they learn to be angry and have little self control over their mouths. In years past, I found that if I got upset or angry, it was better to “bite my tongue” and wait to dole out consequences or discussion until I was calm again.
- Laugh Often. The old adage about everyone being happy if Mama is happy has a ring of truth to it…but I don’t feel that it’s everyone else’s responsibility to cater to mother all the time. I think the mother (or the wife) has an equal responsibility to be a happy person by nature (or by choice) and thus easier to live with…and thereby making it easier for hubby and the kids to contribute to the happy household without having to walk on egg shells. Also, reread the prior bullet about children learning from their environment. As cute as kids are, we don’t want our children to grow up thinking that the world revolves around them and everyone else should cater to their every whim to keep them happy. (I think this is called being a spoiled brat…or a Diva when they get a bit older)
- Say You Are Sorry. This is huge in keeping the household on an even keel. Besides, we, as parents, aren’t always right and there might be some times when we should show respect to our children by telling them we made a mistake or overreacted, or whatever…and tell them we’re sorry. It also teaches them that they need to do the same and that you won’t think less of them.
- Eat Chocolate. Naw, I’m kidding…that was never on my list…BUT maybe it should have been. (g)
- Order Out. Since I was a working mother, I learned early on that there were going to be those days when I just didn’t feel like cooking…and I refused to feel guilty about it. I remember the time I picked hubby up after work (this was after our kids were grown and out on their own) and I was bushed. I slipped into the passenger seat while he slid in behind the steering wheel and we leaned in to kiss…as we always did. Then I gave him a big smile and said: “I love you so much. In fact, I love you so much, I’m going to let you decide which restaurant we’re going to for dinner tonight.” No arguments…he knew the signs…and wanted to keep Mama happy. (Just don’t abuse this one, okay?)
- Control Your Crazies. Now, can you imagine why this was on the list? Yep, there are times when nothing seems to be going right and you just want to scream at someone…but it’s not the fault of anyone in the house. It’s time to control my crazies.
- Enjoy The Moment. Life is short. I’ve made it into my sixties and been married for decades, so I can tell you that one thing I’ve learned is to not sweat the small stuff. Life is for enjoying and we shouldn’t waste time being upset about things that aren’t important. And the big stuff? Well, some of those things are beyond our control anyway, so all we can do is deal quickly with the things we have some control over…and dump the rest. Leave those out-of-our-control problems to the one who can actually handle them and choose not to worry about them. Instead, make it a point to enjoy the moment…especially if you’re with family and/or friends at that moment. /
So, that’s my list. Come on, share items you would add to the above list and you just might be the winner of a $5.00 Starbucks card.
About The Author:
Sandra Elzie was challenged by her husband in 2001 not to wait until retirement in 2005 to start writing the book he’d been hearing about almost since they had been married. Picking up the gauntlet he’d thrown down, Sandra spent the next eight years honing her craft and published in 2008. She now lives in southern Georgia with her husband and cat and enjoys reading, traveling. Oh yeah, and she loves getting pictures of her kids and grandkids. To learn more, go to www.SandraElzie.com