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Questions and Answers for Young Moms (Part IV)
 by: Murphy Toerner, LPC, NCC, LMFT

CAREER

4. My husband would like for me to stay at home with my children but I would like getting back to my career (I've been at home for a few years). How do I help him understand that I enjoyed the professional fulfillment that I had before I had kids?

A--Having someone understand what I am saying is one thing. If you want to tell him your perspective about work and how much you value it and that you think that you can still be a great mom and work outside the home... then, all you have to do it TELL HIM.

However, to get someone to AGREE with your perspective is another goal entirely. He may never agree with your desire to go back to work.

I am curious about why your husband wants you to continue to stay at home. Did his mom work outside the home. Was he lonely as a boy. Has he read some books on Christian parenting that have indicated that this is best? Do you guys have other Christian friends where the mom is staying home with the kids and is choosing to not go back into the outside workforce? He must have some reasons for his values and beliefs. If I were you, I would search out what he is really thinking at a deeper level than what is on the surface here.

I would do the same for yourself. Why do you want to go back into the ourside work force? Are you unhappy being at home. Are the kids driving you crazy? Did your mom have a career? Did you have a nanny or babysitter who reared you? Do you guys need the money? Is work a greater source of validation and worth and esteem for you than being a "stay-at-home" mom? There are lots of reasons why you are wanting to do what you are wanting to do.

If you can figure out what your deeper reasons are and they the truth on the table... and he can verbalize what his deeper reasons are, then, I believe that you guys would be more likely to be able to talk this out more effectively. This is not a "right or wrong" issue. It is a values, preference, desire, how I feel about myself, what I think is better -- type of issue. Keep talking about it.

EXTENDED FAMILY

5a. What is the best way to communicate with family about holidays and possible changes in the "way things have always been done"? I would like to create some new traditions with my own family but I don't want to hurt my in-laws' or parent's feelings.

A--Change is almost always difficult simply because it is "change." BUT, God designed human being to be adaptable and the truth is people can and will make adjustments to new things in their lives.

Anytime we want to make changes, I suggest that we simply talk with our spouse first and make sure that we are in agreement. If we are not in agreement then, we need to reevaluate what we are wanting to do and what our time table is. When you and your spouse "stand together", your stance is more powerful. Your opinon carries more weight.

Sometimes, if you are wanting to make changes about certain major holidays, you may want to make it suddenly (... we are going to do ____ this year....) or you might choose to make the change gradually. It might take several years... making the change little by little.

It is not wrong to have your own traditions. Make sure you ask God what he thinks and ask for His direction about timing and the like.

5b. When in-laws don't impose the same rules for our kids as we do (especially dealing with respect and obedience), how do we handle that? My husband's parents watch our 3 year old daughter occasionally and especially around holidays when I have to work. Our daughter is very demanding/bossy with them and they let her get away with it. She basically gets whatever she wants. After the grandparents leave, it takes us 4-5 days to get her back to a more respectful and obedient attitude.

A--One of the easiest ways to accept this is to know and accept the truth that..."no one is going to rear your child in the exact same manner that you would." NO ONE. Not a grandparent, not a nanny, not a baby sitter, not even your spouse will handle every situation in the exact same way that you would.

I'm not saying that you have absolutely no option here. You can certainly ask another person to comply with your requests but you can't make them do it. Getting angry with them won't work or help. People will alway follow their own philosophy about how to deal with children. Some people are more lenient; some are more permissive. Some are encouraging; some are critical. Some are patient; some are far from patient.

Some Christians would cloister themselves (and their children) away from every one who is different from the way they are. Is this what Jesus would do? I think that Jesus regularly spent time with people who were different.

I know that when our kids are with others and these caregivers do not do things in the same way that we do, it can be difficult. It can take some time for us to get back into our routine, but I think this is just a part of life. We will consistently and continually train our children in the ways that they are to grow. We will train them for about 18 years and they still will not be "done" when they leave our homes.

About The Author

Murphy Toerner is a Christian counselor in private practice in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is a writer and retreat speaker. If you would like to know more about Murphy and her various retreats, please go to: www.murphytoerner.com

mtoerner@hotmail.com

This article was posted on March 27, 2006

 

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