By Tina Rodriguez of Truly Rich Mom
If you’ve been part of the Make It Blissful online community from the very beginning, you’ll know that I’m all for including prayer in our daily routines. As I wrote in my very first post here:
There is power in prayer — I totally believe this.
I also believe that prayer is especially powerful when you are praying for someone you love.
Now, while that post was written from my perspective as a married woman, allow me to share something with you: I actually started experiencing the power of prayer when I was around 12 years old.
I still recall that time with great fondness — it was my first time to attend a youth seminar at our parish in Brunei (yup, I grew up abroad like Martine!), organized by a mission team from Christ’s Youth in Action. It was there that I was introduced to the concept of having a personal relationship with Jesus, and taught to pray to Him as if I was just speaking to a dear friend.
I attended (and served at) many prayer meetings, seminars, youth camps, conferences, and other faith-focused activities after that camp, and while I cannot say that I was 100% faithful to God all those years (yup! I had my “dark moments” and still have them up to now), I can say this: prayers always helped me get back on track.
Of course, I know it was not just my prayers that led me back to the “right” path — in fact, the prayers of those around me helped a lot too.
I believe, though, that the prayers of one very special person in my life made a huge difference — those of my mother.
Yes. a mother’s prayers are truly unique and powerful.
Whenever I or one of my siblings experience trials or sufferings (even now that we are all grown up and living our own lives), my mom prays for us, and comforts us with her presence (even if, at times, her “presence” is merely “in spirit”).
Whenever we have breakthroughs and blessings in our lives, she prays for us, rejoices with us, and celebrates with us.
Whenever we face decisions or wrestle with doubts, she prays for us, and shares her wisdom if needed.
Yes, my mother’s prayers… our mother’s prayers are special and life-changing indeed!
And if you’re a mom reading this (well, hello there!), believe me when I say: YOUR prayers, as a mom, are powerful, too!
The power of a praying mom:
Her prayers can help move mountains.
Her prayers can become a “guide” — a “map” of sorts — one that can lead her children and others to the correct path.
Her prayers (and presence!) can help turn a gloomy day around.
Her prayers leave a mark — not only in the lives of her children, but also in the lives of her grandchildren, and other family members.
So, our challenge then, dear moms (and moms-to-be maybe? 😉 ), is this:
To do less and pause more, so that we can remember the main reason behind our being moms.
To allow ourselves to be pursued by Love, so that we, in turn, can share that love with others, especially with our children.
To pray more, and allow others to pray for us, too, so that we can truly experience God’s power, healing, and miracles in our lives, and in the lives of those we love.
It may be difficult to do all of these things, but please know that it will definitely be worth it — because a mom’s prayer can change her child’s future.
Don’t give up. Don’t surrender.
If ever you do feel like doing so though, please remember: you are not alone.
The other blissmakers and I are here for you, cheering you on. We’re in this together.
“…I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” — Matthew 18:19-20
Have you ever experienced the power of a praying mom in your own life? (The mom could be your mom, or yourself, or maybe even a friend who’s a mom!) Share what happened in the comments!
Dear babysitter to my baby girl:
Thanks for doing this. Thanks for agreeing to care for her for a couple of hours while I tend to a few things. I would honestly rather be doing nothing except care, play with and cuddle my baby girl. However, I have to work right now.
As much as I’d love to bring her along with me, sometimes it just isn’t possible. I believe in moms being able to bring their babies around while they work — don’t get me wrong there. If I could manage things better, she would totally be by my side, with full nursing and cuddle access to me. In a perfect world, I’d do that.
But things aren’t perfect. Sometimes they aren’t always practical. How I wish they were, because I don’t like goodbyes. With my firstborn, I would feel a sense of relief at the onset whenever I’d say goodbye to him and head off to a meeting or a “me time” appointment. I’d relish the thought of not changing nappies and feeling like a cow; I enjoyed the fact that I could make myself up and look pretty for a few hours. But in the car on the way to wherever it seemed was a more important place to be than with my baby, I’d miss him terribly.
It’ll be the same with her.
So, here’s the lowdown: After realizing I am gone, she will cry. In fact, she will cry loudly, with a tinge of hurt in her little voice. You’ll at first pity her, because she’ll be helpless and feeling alone. After some minutes though, you will frown with pursed lips and wonder what the hell you can do to stop her.
I’ve been there. And while it’s tempting to air your frustrations, sigh in exasperation and gently scold her, please don’t. Treat her with tenderness, as it is all she deserves. Just hold her gently but surely, so that you don’t drop her. Whisper in her ear, “It’s OK,” and gently hum a lullaby to her. She will have tears in her eyes by then, and her little voice might sound scraped from screaming at the top of her lungs. She’s a baby, and that’s all she knows. She just wants her momma, who’d do anything to be with her, were situations perfect.
So cuddle her and hold her close. You may have to endure her screaming in your ears until she falls asleep. Thank you. At least I’ll know she was held by someone who loves her.
Thank you, babysitter, for your patience with her. It’s not easy to soothe a baby who is needy, distressed and confused. I know, I’ve been there. (I still am there several times a week.) It will pass, and she will calm down eventually. Until she does, think of all the virtues you can learn, with patience and understanding being the foremost.
I am over the moon for all you will do for her to make her feel loved and protected. I wish I could be there all the time to provide her with every bit of care she needs. And in many ways, I’ll still “be” there even when I’m not physically there to watch her. That’s why I asked you — her dad, her grandparent, her aunt, her uncle, her godparent, her friend — to be the one to care for her. I’d like to think she sees you as a part of me. So love her in the same way I would, and you’ll see, she’ll love you back.
Again, I appreciate all you do, and thank you immensely for watching her when I can’t.
I’ll be back as fast as I can — you have no idea how fast I’d like that to be.
Because to see her fat and cheeky face smile at me with those eyes is like coming home, every single time. It’s the best feeling in the world, and you’ll get to feel it, too.
Being a mother is hands down one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
Parenting my 7- and 4-year old provides me with one learning experience after another. It’s a never-ending cycle of getting to know myself and my kids as I learn how to parent them in different phases and stages.
Just like most new moms, I was overly excited when my firstborn arrived. I did everything that parenting books and my older sister recommended… and probably more haha!Though I’d rather not label myself, you can say that I was a breastfeeding, baby wearing and cloth diapering mama… and will be again soon.
Of all that I learned, though, stumbling into positive discipline has been one of the milestones in my parenting journey. It has become my framework for building the foundation to my kids’ hearts and characters.
Positive discipline is all about teaching children in a kind and respectful way. After all, the word discipline comes from the Latin word “disciplinare,” which means to “teach.” (No, I don’t know any Latin but I do know how to ask Mr. Google!) There’s no need for punishment, humiliation and scaring tactics when dealing with children.
It has definitely made parenting more blissful in our home.
Positive discipline made me realize that there is a better way to parent, one that does not suck out my energy the way that yelling, nagging and spanking do.
We hug. We talk. We connect. I let the children figure things out on their own and just step in when they’re about to hit each other… or have already.
These positive tools have helped pave the path for the generally peaceful way that my husband and I parent our kids. “Generally” because we are not perfect and we continue to work at being positive parents everyday.
Determining my long-term goals for my kids, rather than just putting a temporary plug to prevent undesired behavior, has undoubtedly improved my relationship with them. Seeing their mistakes as opportunities to learn – and showing them how to deal with these mistakes – not only saves me the trouble of doing everything for them, but also helps teach them resilience, patience, and perseverance.
As my kids get older and the family gets bigger with another daughter coming soon, I am fairly certain that our responsibility to discipline and instill values in our children will be an ever-changing affair.
They will go through different phases and stages as they grow and I have to be equipped to handle these changes as they come. I am hoping though that because we are intentional about training them by practicing positive discipline, the journey will be nothing short of blissful.
Are you blissful in parenting your children? Do share in the comments!
By Cheryl Goodman of A Few Goodmans
Just a few weeks ago, I had a handful of moments where I was beyond overwhelmed. While it may be part postpartum, I knew it has got to be something else. I know because I have been in this space before far too many times. You know, the one where we try to do it all.
This time around, I know there is no such thing. If such is the case, how do we then get some things done?
I stumbled upon Jessica Turner’s The Fringe Hours last month and what a timely blessing it was. I was reminded of what I can do to take care of me when I find myself in this old familiar space of wrestling with balance.
Here are ways I am able to restore balance in my days:
1. I rally my village for support
It is a gift to learn how to ask and receive help. As I self-professed DIY-er, this is something that is still taking me time to learn. I am fortunate to have a husband that helps out equally with both household and child-rearing duties. I am also blessed to have extended family and friends who I know I can count on when a breather is in order. When a neighbor offers to drop off a meal when I am sleep deprived to make one, I gladly accept. If your village includes house help or nanny, by all means, delegate some of the work without the guilt. We can all recognize that on some days that we do not accomplish not very much, it is okay to ask and accept help.
2. Complete tasks according to priority
My family is the priority in this season of my life. For you it may be work, or school or combination of sorts. The bulk of my time is spent caring for my husband, two preschoolers and a newborn. When confronted with the daily decision of what needs to be done today, I go back to where my priorities lie. Everything that I complete first relates to my family, all else come second. When I keep this in check, I avoid spreading myself too thin with other things that come my way.
3. Say yes and also say no
While it is quite tempting to say yes to everything that comes across my plate, recognizing my priorities (see above) makes it easier for me to know when to say yes and when to say no. Given such, I say no to duties in mommy clubs but yes to playdates with friends. I say yes to nature walks with my little ones. I say yes to book reads during nap times. I say no to excessive time online. I say no to things that take me away for what truly matters to my heart and I say yes to things that re-energizes me so I can fulfill what God has tasked me to do.
4. Find “me time” and make it blissful
Everyone is given the same 24 hours in a day. It is all upto us how we are going to spend it. After spending some time reflecting on how much time I unknowingly waste, I become more intentional with how I spend my days. I search for pockets of time in the day and spend it on me.
I prepare what I will need to make for the family breakfast early so I have extra time for a warm, luxurious, quiet bath. I lessen my time scrolling endlessly on social media and spend more time reading and going outside for walks. Identify your time wasters and turn those pockets of time into your joy givers.
So, take some time for yourself, get the massage you told yourself you will get (regardless of whatever season you are in your life). Give yourself permission to rest, renew, and to really slow down.
“You can’t do everything, so don’t fall into the trap of trying. Instead, find the moments in each aspect of your life that invigorate you, and imbalance your life towards those.” Marcus Buckingham
Let’s encourage each other! I would love to hear how are you planning to use your fringe hours?
Photo by Jamie Espadilla. Location: EDSA Beverage Design Studio
“I’m still getting used to saying ‘the kids’ when we talk about the kids,” I said to my husband in passing earlier today as we drove home from our little girl’s small christening celebration.
“Yeah, me too,” Ton said with a small smile as he observed the intersection we were crossing and turned into the busy main road that would lead us home.
All of a sudden, I felt upset about the busyness and the noise as our little car chugged through the Saturday evening traffic. The buses seemed to loom over us more than ever before; vehicles seemed, to me, to be more reckless as they careened down EDSA, Manila’s most prominent but misused main road. My son beside me and my 2-month old daughter asleep in my arms, in a moment’s passing got me thinking —
My entire life is in this little car. Damn you, horrid drivers and senseless motorists.
Another random bus seemed to manoeuvre too close for comfort, and I got paranoid again that we’d get hit. More expletives erupted in my mind, and it took some tongue-biting to keep me from spitting out any careless insults towards that bus’ careless driver.
You could have killed us, !@#$%!
— I said with burning eyes and silent pursed lips.
A millions scenarios can pan out while you’re driving through traffic down any of Manila’s streets. I suppose it’s why I never got past acquiring a student driver’s permit, and never finished my first driving lesson! It’s just too damned dangerous out there.
Motherhood hasn’t helped at all, at least to calm my nerves while we’re driving through the madness that is this city’s appalling roads, avoiding yet another near death experience! My husband knows how much of a nervous backseat driver I can be, and for years has had me vow to keep silent and trust him at the wheel. (And I do. He’s one of the better drivers I know!)
It’s still sinking in that I’m a mother of two now. Scratch that: It’s still sinking in that I am a mother, period. After five years of raising a son, and fighting my tendencies so that I don’t end up being some kind of hybrid helicopter-tiger-mom, I still feel clueless at times if I’m doing things right.
What I do know is that it just takes a bit of simmering in some of the world’s worst road situations to confirm that I love my little family passionately.
Each day, I still sit up in the middle of the night and try to absorb the reality that we’re going to raise two human beings to be decent, kind, compassionate, brave and loving people.
It’s such a huge responsibility. It’s so much more than getting used to the idea of plurals. Ton and I are supposed to make sure we don’t mess up our son or daughter, that if they will ever learn anything from the two of us it’s that they are something special, something important and loved. The dangers that threaten them are there, the physical, the emotional, the mental ones. And the thought of them sometimes scares me.
That’s why I’m deathly protective at times.
That’s why I’m still getting used to the idea of “the kids.”
That’s why I get scared sometimes that I am a mother.
I’m grateful, daily, that they are mine and no one else’s. Because even if the thought of raising two children sometimes freaks me out, it also amazes me that they are (at least in my eyes) perfect. Not faultless, and definitely not without their quirks that sometimes make me want to scream or tear my hair out. But they are the perfect kids for the “me” that I am, the mother that God is making me to be.
I’ll probably keep having these reflections anytime we’re on the road, in our little car. Living in a city like Manila can make you paranoid like that! I hope that I will get passed these feelings and learn to trust, above all: trust in the gifts my husband and I have received in spirit, to parent our children properly (I know they’re there somewhere); trust in our children, that they will be able to take care of themselves when I’m not around; trust in God that He will always watch over us.
Please let me know I’m not the only one like this?
Ton and I were pretty, er, sharp shooters planning both my pregnancies. Haha! There were no problems with how to make babies, we just didn’t want a lot of kids. That is cool with us.
Through the years, people have asked us, “When will Vito have a brother or sister?” and we’d always wonder why he had to have one. Was baby-making a competition? Was I obligated to produce a sibling for my son? The same questions as those in this article in Babble.com, baffled me.
Krista came five years after Vito came into our lives, so we can finally answer that question, “Do you want more kids?” with a “yes.” Usually at this point, people stop asking the question, but there will likely be others who’ll ask “Don’t you want a third? A fourth?” And at this point, my answer has been “No.” I mean, if a third pregnancy happens, then well and good. We’ll be thrilled!
But right now, I’m calling it “done” at two kids. And whatever happens, I don’t think my husband and I should be judged if we don’t want anymore after Krista. I used to think I loved kids and wanted to have an entire brood, until I had one child to raise. I realized that I deeply love MY kids (and my gorgeous nephews and nieces), but I’m not a “kid” person. Those years working in a preschool didn’t make me one either, nor did seven years of tutoring grade schoolers or a lifetime of service in the youth ministry of our church group.
I’m a “I love my kids” type of person, but I don’t like all kids in general.
It’s hard enough to raise one kid right; what more the two kids I have now? Of course I believe God will give me the grace to be a mother to as many kids as He will allow me to have, but spirituality aside, I’d like to think I have been given all that I can manage!
This article came about after I’d read some pretty good parenting articles this week. You may want to visit them:
Please Don’t Ask Us About Siblings (Babble.com)
Children who spend time with their fathers have a high IQ
Strong Is the New Pretty (Today.com)
10 Commandments for Raising Strong Daughters