I recently asked a writer friend of mine for her perspective. As the mom of three girls, I wanted to hear what she had to say to me as the mama of three boys. It seems other-worldly to even posit what it would be like in a home loaded with estrogen instead of testosterone. It’s an intriguing and terrifying consideration.
Here are Marietta’s thoughts. I just love her to bits…
About a year ago, the oldest of my three daughters was scheduled to meet a photographer at a local garden for her senior portraits. We had been waiting for the appointment for several months, and planned to have family pictures taken afterwards. The photographer felt that April would give us the prettiest weather and blooms, while still allowing a few weeks before graduation to have the photos processed.
It was a beautiful day, but the afternoon forecast held a chance of thunderstorms, and at home, our own storm was brewing. Family tension turned into a full-blown discussion with angry, hurtful words. Twenty minutes before it was time to leave, we were still sitting at the kitchen table trying to untangle ourselves from the argument.
Meanwhile, dark clouds rolled in and it began to rain. The photographer called, expressing concern, but I refused to be deterred. We would be there, by golly, and unless a downpour prevented it, this mother was going to have a senior picture of her daughter. This wouldn’t be the first time we smiled through our hypocrisy.
Later that evening, as we drove home from the photo shoot, and a concert we had attended afterwards, we reflected on the craziness of the day. “’It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,’” I quoted, and everyone agreed. Strangely, that has become a recurring theme over the past year and a half. Family tensions remain. At the same time, we have created many happy memories.
The result of this topsy-turvy lifestyle has been that I often feel inadequate and threatened, both in my role as a mother and as a wife. My relationships with my daughters and with my husband are being redefined daily as we experience the first leaving of the nest. I have been shaken.
In the context of all of this, dear Cindy entered, asking me to be a guest writer on her blog. I was pleased to say “yes,” and eager to write something worthy. Later, when she gave me the topic, I was a little less enthused: “advice for moms raising boys from a mom raising girls.” Hmmm. I’m not sure people really like advice. I really don’t know anything about boys. Come to think of it, I’m not feeling like I know very much about girls. So the thinking went.
Point your children to Christ in all things – Whether we’re raising boys or girls, it’s the same goal. Admittedly, this can be tedious work. It’s easy to feel that we should be doing something bigger or more important with our time. Maybe it doesn’t really matter who left toothpaste in the sink again, or whose turn it is to do the dishes, whether the chores get done on Saturday, or whether you’re really listening to me at the dinner table.
Continue to diligently follow Jesus and help your family follow Him – I love the way Tedd Tripp puts it in his DVD series The Case for Kids. He says, “We think these little moments don’t make any difference. Those are the moments you have with your children. And ten thousand little moments makes the character of a life. God is the God of little moments.” Yes, life is so many moments, so many snapshots. Sometimes we’re at our best, sometimes we’re at our worst. But God is always for us, in all things.
Now before you cry foul, let me say that I have also mulled over thoroughly the notion of boy-girl differences, and I acknowledge that there are some. I tried to picture myself with boys, and I pictured the house looking a lot more dirty and banged-up than it already is. I pictured myself going to pour a glass of orange juice and wondering who drank straight from the bottle and deciding to have coffee instead. It’s true that when my girls were little, they didn’t struggle with potty talk, turn everyday objects into guns, or leap from the furniture. On the other hand, they didn’t come out of the womb crocheting doilies either.
Boys become men, and some of them are better at it than others – By the time I was nineteen (the age of my oldest daughter, and the age of my husband when we first met), even as a new Christian, I had formed some definite opinions about what made a godly man marriage material. I had a checklist of requirements for my future mate, and if a young man didn’t measure up, there was no need for a first date.
So I decided to ask my daughters if they had ever made a list of the qualities they were looking for in a potential husband. I was pleased to find that they each had a list, and that they were very open and willing to share many of the qualities with me. Here are some of the things they said:
–He is a strong Christian, able to lead and encourage spiritually.
-He is responsible, hard-working, and able to support himself financially.
-He values his own purity as well as mine.
-He treats his mother and sisters (if any) well.
-He is kind.
-He has a sense of humor.
-He is willing to serve others.
-He is a good communicator.
-He is emotionally mature.
-He loves children.
-He shares some of my interests.
Thank you, dear daughters, for your many gifts to me. I treasure you each more than you could know. May you find the man of your dreams, the man of God’s choosing. And may God bless you, mother of this young man, with wisdom and strength as you parent him in the little moments of daily life, and as you keep an eye to the future. I have been praying for you.
Questions: What part of Marietta’s list of qualities speaks the most to you? What would you add to the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts, I’m listening!