Chatting With Lisa Whelchel (about raising little ones)

I had the blessed opportunity to spend exactly 15 minutes on the phone with Lisa Whelchel on Thursday morning. It was an honor for me and here’s why:  Lisa’s book, Creative Correction, was life changing for me as a mama. 

I first read it when my kids were all little bitty guys. Reading Creative Correction helped me understand that my job was NOT to raise good kids just so that I could feel good about being a good mom.   Somehow I hadn’t figured that out yet. I was very focused at that time on making sure my kids obeyed and acted the way they should (not a bad thing to focus on) BUT my motive was simply that I wanted to look good and not be embarrassed as a mother. Good kids meant I was a good mom, right?

creative

Creative Correction opened my eyes to the fact that my goal as I was raising my boys was to teach them about Jesus. To instill Godly behavior in them and a heart for Christ. To teach them scripture and a love for the Lord. It had nothing to do with ME at all. 

I was so grateful for the chance to tell Lisa “thank you” phone to phone. It was truly a delight.

Over the course of the next few days, I’ll be sharing parts of my conversation with Lisa. I appreciate all the great question ideas you sent my way and well…I have to apologize because while they were on my list…fifteen minutes goes very quickly and I barely had a chance to get through many questions at all. Hopefully you’ll all enjoy hearing what she had to say, even if it didn’t answer your specific question! Here’s the first question I asked Lisa…

Me:

“You had three babies in three years…many of my readers are in that season of life right now trying to juggle life with lots of little ones. What encouragement can you offer moms with little ones?”

Lisa:

“I’d say do as little as possible outside of being a mom. Don’t put your kids in a bunch of activities. Don’t be involved yourself in a lot of extra activities. You don’t need to try to lead a Bible study…don’t even go to a bunch of Bible studies if getting there takes too much out of you. There are so many good things to do, but you may need to give up even some of the good things you’re interested in doing so that you can do what you need to do for your family. Raising little ones takes a lot out of us and if we give a lot of our energy to outside things, we don’t have anything left for our family.   This is a short season in life…later you can do more of the other things you feel are important, but right now raising your little ones is the most important. Spend time putting a bunch of meals in the freezer once a month so that all you have to do is heat something up for dinner and not spend time putting gourmet food on the table every night. Do everything you can to eliminate what is not necessary so that you can focus your energy on what is necessary.”

Laura’s follow-up thoughts:

I remember struggling to get out of the door by 9:30 for a Ladies’ Bible Study each Thursday morning when my boys were tiny (nursing, in diapers, potty training…). I don’t remember a thing about what we studied during those years. What I do remember is feeling like I wanted to CRY every single Thursday by the time I finally got there (late) and fought my kids to get into the nursery. Don’t even get me started on how much it wrecked their nap schedule and threw the entire day off and created a lot of grouchiness (the kids were usually grouchy too).

Why did I keep doing it week after week? Because it was “a good thing to do”. Because I felt like I should. Because I didn’t want to let the other ladies down. I don’t completely regret going…I formed some wonderful relationships with many of the older women from church. However, could I have cut myself some slack during those years? Could I have instead worked in some quiet Bible study at home by myself during their morning nap? Might I have saved my children from having a worn out, grumpy mom every Thursday afternoon and Friday morning (because I would then be behind on other things.)? Maybe so.

I think it’s good to look at the reasons we do what we’re doing, no matter what season in life we are in. What IS best for my family right now? What do I need to eliminate so that I can be the best wife and mom I can be? I’d love for you all to share your thoughts on this topic!

P.S. You know I agreed with Lisa’s statement about putting a bunch of food in the freezer for easy warm up!! :)

Coming up next:  Lisa talks about raising teenagers and having young adult children

Comments

  1. says

    I often find myself (with a 2 yo and 4 yo… and hopefully more to come!) feeling like I’m not ‘doing’ enough outside of the home. I’ll even pray, “God, what do you want me to be doing, who do you want me to serve?” And yet, I know the answer: my babies and my husband. I just can’t figure out why I put so much pressure on myself to do more. I really need to work on that!

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  2. says

    I love, love, love that book “Creative Correction!” I have it highlighted, pages folded, and marked up so much (I may need to get a new one). I am constantly recommending it to others. You can never have too much help in creative ways to discipline. If you don’t have it…you must get it.

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  3. says

    This has wonderful timing. I was just thinking about how I was going to manage this fall and what activities were being added in and such.

    I have children old enough to be in scouts, and a new nursing one. So part of me would love to chill out at home, and part of me would love to get into all the wonderful things older kids can do.

    I needed a good reminder to keep it simple. If God had wanted us to raise kids with lego club, and co-op, and music, and sports, and scouts, and and …well I guess he would have given us a few more pairs of hands each!

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  4. says

    On my word… what a blessing this post was to my spirit.

    As the mom of three, ages 6 and under with one more due in late February, I am always overwhelmed… on the verge of tears as I write this. I barely make it to church on Sunday even once a month because one of the kids is always sick. Then, I feel so guilty for not doing more. My blog is very special to me but often I feel like it is stealing time from my family. I look at my kids and see how much they are growing and how time is passing and I have huge regrets on a daily basis. My heart aches over all that I have already missed.

    Please pray that I will be able to see what I can cut away to be the mom and wife God wants me to be.

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    Kris Cannon Reply:

    Sister I read your comment and heard myself. I beat myself up, but somehow I wanted to encourage you!!!
    Why is that? lol Perhaps we can find some time to not be so hard on ourselves. I am reading a book called
    Breaking the Cycle by Dr. James Richards and he talks about checking our motivation for serving. Believe
    me, serving has it’s place, but you are serving at home in this season, and their is no condemnation in that!
    I struggle too, comparing myself to other mothers who “do more” (that is a sin by the way, I was relieved to
    know that so I could quit doing it!) but that is not my tempermant and I get overwhelmed easily. ANd I
    only have 2! They are 2 and 3 and I am 44, so in my mind, the quiver is full. This is a great blog and getting
    some REAL people with REAL responses to parenting is very refreshing!Be encouraged, the only person
    expecting more, is you. And don’t regret, there are a million more moments to be had!

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  5. Adrienne says

    I, too, ready LW’s Creative Correction and for the most part really appreciated what ideas she had to offer. I haven’t fully employed lots of them just yet, but there are some gems that I’ve found flowing into my day-to-day happenings in the home and they’ve worked beautifully. One that I particularly remember appreciating is how she asks her children, “Who wants their treasure on earth and who wants their treasure in heaven?” when dealing with a situation where two are battling over something. I think this message has finally sunk in with my kiddos.
    I love Lisa’s response to this question. This is not something that is communicated to moms in our world today. Instead, it’s generally the opposite message–to be a good mom, we need to do more, be more, have our kids experience more…etc. I appreciate this message that it’s OK and it’s important for us to be somewhat single minded during this stretch of time when the kids are so small. One of the most difficult balances to strike as a mom is that of giving selflessly with a servant’s heart to our family while squeezing in moments of refreshment so that we can continue giving with a spirit of joy rather than one of resentment or with the attitude of a martyr. I think Lisa would agree with that as well. She talks a lot about that in her book Taking Care of the Mommy in Me–another great one for mommies of young ones. Anyway, thanks so much for sharing this interview with us! I’ll look forward to reading more of it! Bless you, Laura!

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  6. Samantha R says

    Your post reminded me of a talk I heard in Nov 2007, so I looked it up and re-read it. It is called “Good, Better, Best” by Dallin H Oaks. One of my favorite parts of it was the following:
    “In choosing how we spend time as a family, we should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best. A friend took his young family on a series of summer vacation trips, including visits to memorable historic sites. At the end of the summer he asked his teenage son which of these good summer activities he enjoyed most. The father learned from the reply, and so did those he told of it. “The thing I liked best this summer,” the boy replied, “was the night you and I laid on the lawn and looked at the stars and talked.” Super family activities may be good for children, but they are not always better than one-on-one time with a loving parent.

    The amount of children-and-parent time absorbed in the good activities of private lessons, team sports, and other school and club activities also needs to be carefully regulated. Otherwise, children will be overscheduled, and parents will be frazzled and frustrated. Parents should act to preserve time for family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, and the other precious togetherness and individual one-on-one time that binds a family together and fixes children’s values on things of eternal worth. Parents should teach gospel priorities through what they do with their children.”

    Anyways, sorry for the long post – I just thought that went right along with your post :)

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  7. Angie says

    Thank you so much for your timely post! I have really been struggling with this lately, and your post just affirmed what my heart is telling me. My first priority is to my family, and if that means we don’t do any activities, then that’s okay, because I’m fulfilling God’s will for my life. Our culture tells us the opposite and I feel so much pressure to do what everyone else is doing.

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  8. Hannah says

    Laura! (and Lisa)
    This is what my heart needed to hear today. I was struggling thinking I am the only one of my mommy friends that doesn’t have a job and that I need to get my daughter more socially involved in Mother’s Day Out or at least start babysitting…but then I think exactly what Lisa says – this is such a short and PRECIOUS season of life and I don’t want to sell the time spent with my children. I do enjoy my Bible study and it’s going to stay but priorities need to be made and if the bills are getting paid, I can wait on the job and take complete advantage of this vital time in my children’s lives :-) Thank you!!! I need to get this book!!

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  9. says

    Oh, this is so true. I know it but sometimes I forget to put it into practice.
    (and I struggled to get out the door to bible study on Tuesday mornings for 9am at church 1/2 hour away because it’d a good thing to do…it’s just not the best thing for our family in this season. Glad to read it somewhere else too)

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  10. Tiffany says

    Great post/advice!! I see so many Moms at my church attending 3 studies/week plus women’s Bible study while their men are off doing the same. Where is the family time?! We need to focus on what God wants for our family and not what the world thinks we should have for our family. I also base what we do on this-“Is this a good thing, or the BEST thing for our family?” A lot of friends were having jewelry parties etc almost every weekend and although it was a good thing it wasn’t the best thing to keep my kids up all hours so I could have some time with my girls.

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  11. says

    Thanks for posting this! It is a difficult thing to balance, or in many cases juggle, our priorities. But one thing I have realized is that I need to make priorities and stick with them (with my husband and children’s needs up top next to time with God).

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  12. says

    I totally agree, and, as a mom to 4 littles, I subscribe to this rule. My husband was the one who told me to quit EVERYTHING in my life and one by one add things back only when i felt like I had a complete grip on my life. Almost nothing got added back. And that’s a good thing!!!

    It’s also exactly when i began blogging :)

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  13. says

    Ok, so maybe you shouldn’t put stock in my response until after this fall when I have 2 kiddos, but here’s my take. TOTALLY agree that there are things we should be willing to give up if we need to to focus more on our families. But, that “thing” is different for everyone. I NEED my twice monthly moms group at church. That is my ME time that energizes me to be an attentive mom. Now, an introverted mom would probably feel differently. Also, if you give up the Bible study at church, still do something to stay close to God on your own — don’t give up studying the Word altogether while the kids are small. God doesnt’ give us a free pass to stop learning while the kids are little. (I don’t think Lisa was advocating this, just stating my opinion)

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