AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE-PART 2

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CREATIVE PARENTING-

I think every parent will agree that disciplining children is such a huge responsibility. Huge because they will only be “children” for so long and those traits, habits, practices we help them build up will be with them in their teens, as young adults and eventually they will become parents themselves.

All of those amazing characteristics I believe children of God should have and good future spouse’s I truly believe we need to help instill now. I cannot expect my daughter to wake up one day when she is 16 and wake overnight gifted with knowledge how to cook a great meal and bake, how to be a wise steward, virtuous, meek or respect her elders, etc., yet these are all so important in a marriage and as an adult. I cannot expect my boys to wake up when they are 18 and say you know what I think I will start making my bed from now on; I will clean my clothes, help mom in the kitchen, learn to change my oil in my car, and learn how to use a hammer. Didn’t you just grin reading that (especially the clothes and bed, ladies you get me right?) but it’s so true, these things don’t happen overnight.

When I think of my children getting married all these wonderful things my husband and I have in our marriage I want my children to have. So if I want this great husband and wife for my child, are we as parents doing the same so our children are a blessing for whomever God blesses them with?

I want my son and daughter to know God is the center of our lives. When things get tough do my children see who I go to? Do they know where I get my strength from? When I make mistakes do they see admitting them and asking God for forgiveness and wisdom? Do they see my worn Bible from all the reading or do they see me changing my phone case because of the wear?

I typically read my Bible in Chronological order but this year I found a system that has you reading the Bible by day: The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, Gospels and Letters. I really liked it in the beginning but it’s so confusing now. I have to constantly go through my notes to remember what I read in “Law” last Monday, I will stick through it to the end but it’s definitely a bad experiment (don’t try it ;)..). Anyhow, a few days ago I was reading about Eli (while I was working on this post, God’s timing is fantastic!). He was such a man of God, he had such a great passion to serve God. Yet 1 Sam 3:13 tells tells us he knew his children’s ways and their iniquities yet he did not restrain them (ne obyzdival ih). I just cannot grasped my mind around that. Then in 4:14 it says Eli was sitting the they wayside watching when Eli was told of the ark of God had been captured, that he fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He LOVED God so much that the mention of the ark being captured really took his life yet in that same verse he found out his two sons died as well. Such a great example of us to have this desire for God and in the same time train our children!.

Discipline-

Setting the rules for a household is so easy. Point one, point two and so forth. It’s the disciplining that is really hard. We have five children and they are all so unique and stand apart. I think the biggest struggle as a parent is finding what will work with each child. My husband can sit down and tell our oldest son you cannot talk to your mother in that tone and he will understand. Our second will need it broken down you cannot talk to you mother like that; she is older than you, she is my wife, she loves you and it hurts her when you talk in that tone and so on and that will need to be repeated over time. Two children that belong to the same parents yet are so different.

When disciplining, my motive as a parent isn’t for my child to feel guilty, shameful and belittled for their wrongdoing. It’s to train with love and concern so they will mature and not commit what was wrong. I cannot say go sit and timeout and the story end there. He must get while he is being discipline so we can together build him. Whenever I feel parenting is hopeless, my child will never learn, I am so gently reminded of my relationship with God and 1 Corinthians 3 comes to mind; it says we should be eating solids and we are yet like babe drinking milk. I know oh so well what the Bible say’s yet every single day I stumble in this way or that way. Can you imagine if God treated us like sometimes shamefully to admit we act with our children? When I am at the store and I sometimes hear parents call their toddler’s names and say such hurtful things, it just breaks my heart. I was at a checkout recently Sam’s Club once and there was a mother with two toddlers behind me. She was calling them s*****d, hopeless, dumb, how many times have I told you, and seriously the list went on. It was so late in the evening; the children were so exhausted, what do you want from them? When a child hears this what is happening to their self-worth and image of themselves? They believe they are what she tells them. Can you imagine if in Heaven God told me that, oh Valentina how many times can I repeat that? You heard it in church yesterday, I told you through my Word a few days ago and reminded you at prayer; how can you possibly do this again, you are hopeless. Shaking His stern finger He tells me you just won’t get it. As I imagine God doing this I quickly shake my head oh no way but God is love, he could never do that. I am 33 and He still tenderly cares for me and at times is probably like Valentina on a spiritual level you should be on desserts yet you at times you are like that babe and require milk from a bottle with a flow of SLOW.

I heard a really wise story once and it stuck with me like glue, regardless whether it is true or not I love it. He said in Israel when a mother nurses her babe she tells him from day one how wise he is, what a leader he will be, how he will help change the world, how successful he will be in life, what a great Christian he will be, etc. Isn’t that powerful? If this child from day one of his life hears all of the great potential for his life he just kind of grows into it. It really stuck with me and I try to do the same. I’m sure you as a wife can relate, how good does it feel for your husband to come home and say hon I just love this dinner, the house is so peaceful, kids are clean and cared for; this truly is my haven from the stress and work.

Enjoy some examples from our lives!

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Making the Bed-

Our children have been making their bed since they were about 3 1/2. Many of you question our logic and think that is so young and they cannot make it right, true to all of points. Yes, sometimes the blanket looked so uneven you would think they did it with their eyes closed, that’s ok though. With every bed they made it got better and by the time they are 6, they are pros. When my husband would be in ear shot I would say “honey you have got to go see how Benjamin made his bed this morning”. That validation that he did a great job from daddy and mom just boosts his self-confidence. When I would come in and that blanket is still crooked but he is soo excited to show me he did a good job it’s a great time for correction. “Wow, sweet heart you did such a good job, did you do this all by yourself?” and he beams at me with the biggest smile he can offer. After I tell him he did great and hug him I say, “you know what though, if you just pull on this side of the blanket it will be straight and look even better”. Together we pull and I applaud him for his efforts. What does this do? Keeps his confidence sky high and subconsciously he registered that the blanket is better straight.

Now our older boys are 10 and 11. Do they always make their beds, is it always perfect? For the most part yes and if not, we still correct them. Not because a bed unmade will be tragic, not at all, but because there needs to be consequences for their actions. Our oldest is one of the greatest kids; he will not only make his bed but come and help me make my bed. Now our second son is a bit of a challenge and that is okay, he just needs more attention and discipline. We kept trying to think of a way to discipline him with his serious desire for not making the bed. We came up with a pretty fantastic plan. When his bed is unmade I come with him and sit while he throws everything off the bed, and makes the bed. Then throws everything off the bed and remakes it. Oh what torture you might say!. It works though. The next time he doesn’t make the bed he is throwing everything off and remaking his bed 5 times as I sit there and make sure it’s to my standards, the following time 6 and so on. Does it work? SURE DOES!!.. He thinks ten times about whether it’s worth not making the bed the way. Ha, ha.

Clothing-

The older boys have a medium sized laundry basket in their room. They are to bring up their laundry frequently. If their basket fills with clothing more than ¾ of the way they are doing their own laundry and ironing. They are old enough to understand that it takes a lot for mom to do laundry and iron. Their clothes needs to be brought up regularly so there isn’t a large load. They also know if they fill it up full they are separating the clothes, washing whites and darks separately. They will put the clothes in the dryer, fold the clothes that need folded and each iron their clothes that need ironed. They did this once and let me tell you it won’t happen again. What do we get? Laundry always in the laundry room and they are grateful for their mother’s hard work for keeping their clothes washed and ironed.

I love our clothing ironed. With 5 kiddos plus my spouse and I that is A LOT of ironing. Older boys are to hang their clothes as soon as they get home from church. If there is clothing that isn’t hung but has been ironed, they will be ironing it themselves. It’s not a matter of I cannot iron it again, it’s the fact that they need to respect and appreciate what I do and if I as a mom do not instill that in them at a young age they won’t have that respect for their spouses either. The younger two (4 and 3) hang their clothes that needs hung on a hanger and put it on the closet knob (when I have the time I hang it), do the little ones always hang it? Daughter, yes she truly tries but our 3 year old, wow that kiddo is a handful. Seriously, I spend more energy on him that the 4 others combined. He is such a strong willed child and I don’t want to break that spirit he just needs it directed in the right path, Lord give me strength!!

Chores-

When the kiddos were old enough to clear the table and help with prepping for a meal I used have to listen to “well I set the table yesterday” or “I wiped the dishes this week already”. It’s so hard to listen to my kids argue so we created a chore sheet for them. It hangs in our kitchen and broken down daily. Each day each child gets a different chore. We no longer have this: “I set the table”, “I took out the trash”, “I washed the dishes”, they look at their chore sheet and to their chores they go. If someone doesn’t complete what was needed I know who to go to and don’t have to listen as each is intent on explaining why he wasn’t the culprit, lol.

[The younger two set the table. Yes, they are so proud they can set a plate for each member, with a fork and a glass. That is some serious accomplishments. Mom, don’t you dare try to fix their table settings, wowza, pure insult (haha). Gatta love kids.] Speaking of setting the table, do you have little ones that just cannot seem to sit still and like to stand, sit, move, stand up again, sit back down etc. As I said before, our 3 year old is oh SOO much work. One day he had one of his “exercises” at the table even like I just listed. I did the same. I stood up, sat down, stood back up, mimicked everything he did. The child was terrified (yes I looked rather silly), but he saw what we see and it gets to them easier. I promised my older boys I would never embarrass them this way at someone’s house, lol :)..

{P.S. If any of you would like to try a chore sheet and don’t have one, you can let me know in the comments or e-mail me and I will send you ours. You can just fill in for your children’s name; it will save you some time creating one.}

Toys-

My least favorite; keeping toys clean. I think this is the one that was the hardest to get each child to understand, or for me at least it was. When they were old enough to make a mess with their toys, I quit picking them up (before that we would do it together). I will never forget the very first time I had our oldest son pick up his toys. He was about under three and was a really intelligent child. He dumped almost all of his toys, along with some books (moms with kids, you know how skilled they are doing this). After playing for a whole 5 minutes, he was off to destroy the next room. We went to his room and I told him he was going to pick up his toys all by himself since he made the mess himself. He looked at me as if I had just told him he grew a third eye; then he began to cry and throw a tantrum and many no’s followed. I sat there calming him down and telling him he needed to pick them up that he was a big boy. Once I calmed him down and after some toys were picked up the crying began again. My insides were bursting with emotion; my child’s tears were tugging at my heart, his minus 10 an hr speed made me just want to hurry up and pick them up myself but I knew I needed to win this battle. If I didn’t he would always think his tears would get the best of me. We were there for what was probably an hour, not exaggerating!. Towards the end I began to cry it was so hard and painful. Guess what though!? He picked them all up, by himself, me cheering him on!. Next toy pick up session lasted less, and less tears. The following even less and then he knew whatever he threw down he was going to pick up. Kids are so smart; they just need to know where their boundaries are and if I clearly place my boundaries they will follow them. Yes, sometime they may test us to see if the boundaries have been extended but once I re-assure them they hadn’t, they continue to stay within them.

Russian language-

We try to keep their language alive at home. There is so much work that goes into that. To learn new words we came up with a rather great system and if any of you can use it, Great!!. On my fridge I have a list of new words we are learning. Everyday words and church language is so different and that is what we are focusing on; introducing them to the church vocabulary. We learn two new words a week. I have a sheet I use for the month and in there we write that word in English and Russian and it’s definition. The fridge is opened SO often and they are able to glance it and through the week we repeat, ask, repeat and learn to use it. It has been a great success for our family. This is even a great way to begin Ukrainian or Russian if you are not doing so. We go back and review the old words so they don’t forget it. There are 52 weeks in a year so multiply that by two which is 104. That is 104 new words learned a year. Might not seem like a lot but it is, but it’s rather great I think:)..

How do you keep Russian/Ukrainian alive in your homes? I think this is SOOO hard, or at least for us it is? What do you use? I would love some creative ideas!!

Sundays-

Those of you with kiddos or more will know when I say Sunday morning as well- A CHALLENGE. When we were first figuring out this parenting thing I would do everything Sunday morning, it was so stressful sometimes that by the time I calmed down at church from getting three kiddos out of the home service was almost over and I heard half the service or nothing, just being honest. While I am ironing this child’s shirt, that one is mammaing none stop. I cannot find the pants to go to this or her panty hose have miraculously disappeared from the drawer, mom’s please tell me you get me. This stress is now eliminated.

My diaper bag is ready the night before. All of my kids’ clothing is ironed and they all know what they are wearing. I know what we are having for breakfast and most items are set out and ready to go. My husband does his part, I do mine and Sunday morning is a time for us to get peacefully dressed, have time to pray before walk out and enjoy God’s word. This said though I think satan is oh very alert on Sunday mornings, he tries every way possible to get you to have a bad morning so your focus is lost in church. Example for you. When we had communion this month the night before my husband and I had such a great devotion. He was working on a sermon and we were both so excited for service Sunday morning. I have learned the closer you come to God, especially if I had a really powerful prayer or great opening through His Word watch out Valentina, a storm is a brewing. So that Sunday we are about to go sit down to enjoy breakfast. We have this large full size cabinet in the kitchen that is like the size of the fridge, really tall. My son opens that cabinet to get something and guess what one of the shelves breaks and everything I have in there comes tumbling down; pasta spills, sugar container busts open, cereal all comes crashing down. It looked like hurricane Katrina came through my kitchen. We are women can really make or break the peace in our home, right ladies? I am a CLEAN person, a PERFECTIONIST, I cannot fall asleep if I have a few dishes in my sink. I stood there and I can either act upon storm Katrina that is brewing in my heart or I can say not today satan. I chose the latter. My son stood there terrified because he is the one that opened this cabinet. As the storm in raging my heart I said aloud “not this morning Satan, Ben it’s my fault I should not have piled so much on this shelf that it could handle it.” We all go and enjoy breakfast in peace. Inside of me I  didn’t want to go to church, I wanted to stay and clean this mess I was so frustrated but I knew this was the works of Satan. The mess was untouched until I had time to clean it After church and there was peace in my heart.

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I have probably officially scared many of you with what I expect from my kiddos. It truly isn’t that bad. They are showered with so much love from both my spouse and I, we spend so much time together. Some of you may say how do you have the time? I truly don’t really have much of a life outside of my home and children. I dislike shopping (unless it’s with my spouse) and don’t really go out with girlfriends. All of my time and energy is spent on my spouse and children.. 🙂

In a few weeks I will share Part-3 and that is focusing on my husband and I. I think that is just as important as raising kiddos, but I will give you guys a break from all this babble and post a few recipes in between, do you even want to read a Part-3? Have these posts been a blessing to you?

<Dear mammas, please share you ideas!! What is your parenting style. I would love to learn from you and listen to what works for your family. Maybe it can be a blessing to our family and I am all up for new and creative ideas..>