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Thursday

Fathers Gone All the Time - Mothers Left to Care for Children

He has his itinerary for the day and it doesn't include you and the children.  He drives around as if single.  You may be in a relationship with someone like this.  Angry that this man who claims he loves you is acting like he doesn't even know you.

When a mother comes to a point in her intimate relationship where she is fed up with a partner, she will either do one of two things, she will get even or she will focus on the needs of her family void of him.

Some fathers just don't get it when it comes to having a family.  He may be the breadwinner or not, but whatever his role, there are family members who need him more than he might realize.  For some fathers, they are becoming distant from the family because they have allowed themselves to become so distracted with what is going on outside the home.  Others fight for a life they once had that wasn't comprised of wife, kids, pets, etc.  Still others just want to be fathers without being told to act like fathers--whatever that might mean to mothers.

With so much frustration going on at home, the father disappears for awhile.  Some leave home to never return.  Others find a dwelling that they can go to periodically without family.  But for many dads they disappear in front of a television, computer or some other device.  Children are often playing alone while mothers maintain house, children, and check-in with relatives and friends.

Now with so much responsibility, a mother who is simply fed up with a father who may be physically or mentally absent from his family, may not be the best wife, lover or friend.  She will scream, curse, cry or even shake up the family home when dad doesn't bother to acknowledge his family.

It isn't any wonder why some mothers leave the family home never to return.  If a dad can't see that his inactions are driving his mate mad then he is in a poor state of mind.  The children will cry out to their father wanting to know, "What happened to mommy?"  While he comes up with yet another excuse, "I don't know...maybe she just doesn't love us anymore."  Rather than saying, "I wasn't very nice to your mother.  I didn't really care about her feelings.  I should have paid closer attention to the family."

So what is the solution really when it comes to fathers being distant and mothers frustrated because they aren't doing their part to keep the family whole?  Well it all depends on whether the man of the house can see how his absence is breaking the family down.  Is the mother communicating her concerns?  Is she providing examples?  Does she do her part to keep the family whole or are her words breaking the family down?  What is it that the father is or isn't doing that is causing so much turmoil in the house and is he willing to let go of those things?  Does he even want his family?

Some men don't want to be fathers.  I remember a relative who tried the family life and he said it wasn't for him.  He left the house and he didn't come back.  As much as the mother tried to have a distant relationship with the father and at times forced his son on him, to no avail.  The father was adamant he didn't want to be with her or the child.  They were mistakes he rather not live with for the rest of his life.  This man has since died.  But I share this true story because it demonstrates the fact that when a man doesn't want a family--he means it.  So how might you detect that a father might be checking out?

1.  He use to talk to everyone in the family and do nice things, now he doesn't.  Often uses the excuse of not having any money, but you notice he has money to spend on himself.
2.  At one time, he encouraged the family members in their games, projects, etc. and did his part to assist whenever needed, now he doesn't.
3.  He not only visits family and friends, he stays at their homes for weeks at a time.
4.  He avoids phone calls, emails, texts and other forms of communication from his immediate family members.  He may lie or make up excuses as to why he can't return phone calls.
5.  He started packing items in boxes and bags as if he is ready to go somewhere.
6.  He has various rental guides for apartments rather than homes that could fit the whole family.
7.  He acts uninterested in anything you and the children say.
8.  He is quick-tempered, mean and doesn't want to talk about his feelings.
9.  He frequently tells family he wants to be left alone and doesn't want to be bothered even when no one is really saying or doing much to bother him.
10.  He seems to be more concerned about what is going on outside the home ie.) sporting events, women, job etc. to the point that he rarely stays at home when he knows everyone will be up and about. He may often leave very early in the morning and come home very late at night.

When considering the above points, keep in mind whether the father has changed his routine.  Also, don't just take a single point and run with it, ask yourself what else might he be saying or doing that is making you feel like he doesn't want to be in a relationship or at home helping raise the children.  He may be going through a difficult time that may not have anything to do with the family.  Watch as well as pray.

Nicholl McGuire

When You are a Thorn in Someone Else's Flesh

You didn't think your issues would grow into anything more than just that, your issues.  But then you opened your mouth or someone noticed something about you and now what you are going through seems like it has become frontpage news.

In the Christian Bible, the Apostle Paul talks about a thorn in his flesh, a personal problem he had that God had yet to remove.  Whatever that something was that Paul struggled with, the Bible doesn't say, but even a man of God had his share of issues and God still used him anyway.  This proves that you don't have to have it altogether to be used by God despite what ministers, teachers, and one's self-righteous parents or grandparents claim.  We also know that Mary had her share of problems brought on, not by man, but by God.  A young girl who would carry a child that wasn't her fiance's out of wedlock.  Imagine the shame she experienced.  So what do these two characters have in common? God, a heavenly Creator who didn't take all troubles away despite being chosen by Him.  Critics of these two people's lives had much to say during biblical times.  It didn't matter what God was doing to draw men and women closer to Him, there were going to be those who criticized, ridiculed, and did whatever else to God's chosen people.  If you are a believer, then you know that you are marked by an enemy to keep drama going in your life.  It is how you handle that drama that makes a difference.

For some readers, you may have brought some situations on yourself and you aren't proud of them. God may have used your unfortunate issues to bring glory to Him.  But whatever you are going through, a critic might be talking about your thorn, your calling, your project, your child or something else.  This person may be responsible for keeping you upset, but you don't have to stay that way.

I recall when I became pregnant with my first child.  It was then that I learned who was friend and who was foe.  Those who once invited the childless me to church and other places, didn't want to have much to do with me when they heard I was expecting.  I was in my early twenties, didn't have much money, periodically attended church, and low and behold unmarried and pregnant.  Did God abandon me because of my situation?  No.  He loved me anyway.  I didn't stop talking about Him because of my poor choices.  I casted my burdens on Him, confessed sin, and asked my Lord to help me and put me around wise people.  In my own strength, I attempted to make wrongs right by marrying my child's father.  But I learned later in life, that if God doesn't want you to do something, it doesn't matter what society says or what you feel is right at the time, he has his reasons.  Wrongs could have been made right in his time and not my own.  As a result, I am divorced today.  God had a better plan, but I didn't see it back then because I was more concerned about what people thought.

There were other times in my life I noticed that when I was no longer giving money to certain groups, due to my family responsibilities, so-called Do-Gooders' calls, letters and gifts stopped coming.  The issues that I was dealing with didn't welcome help, rather they only brought on negative talk by critics, a self-righteous and mean-spirited bunch.  Back to God for wisdom and strength. 

Somehow your issues become others' issues.  Yet, God has his way of taking poor, miserable you and turning you around to be rich in favor with Him.  How does he do that?  By taking a magnifying glass and showing you your  self-righteous critics' errors who think they are "better, good, kind, sweet, nice, successful..."  He doesn't do this so that you can parade around and say to your enemies, "Aha!  I knew you were nothing but a..."  Rather, your Holy Father teaches you via your struggles as well as your naysayers' issues that these people aren't better than you and you aren't better than anyone else--what a humbling experience! 

God shows you that wisdom can be found not only in good decision-making but poor choices too if you draw near to Him.  Some of us are simply too hard-headed at times to just take the easy routes in life, we have to fall hard before we can see the light.  Our Creator gives us a plan for our lives to do things like:  come up higher (ie. don't act petty, worry or plot revenge), be free from issues (ie. emotional, spiritual and physically binding relationships/partnerships), and the bravery to stand up to enemies.

I know that some of you are seeking knowledge that will get you out of your current dilemmas, and I am sure you will find it.  But just remember, there are people and then there are souls--the flesh may die, but the soul doesn't.  As much as you would like to poke someone with your thorn, don't.  One day we all will sit in judgment for the pain and suffering we have caused others if we don't confess sin and repent now for what we have done or are doing to self and others. 

If you or someone you know is hurt because of someone else's actions or in-actions about a matter, know that God will avenge in his time, not yours.  Take your burdens to Him and leave them there!  Don't keep talking about your problems with others when solutions are already on the way--move on! 

To God be the glory!

Nicholl McGuire 

Wednesday

New Parents: On Getting Children to Talk

Once your children are able to walk, talk and be away from you, you might want to converse with them about things that will make them aware of people, places and things that could quite possibly cause them harm.  Don't leave it up to the school to teach your children about things like good touch and bad touch, good manners and bad ones, and stranger danger.  Create your own lesson plans and start talking!

Discuss good touch, bad touch.

Tell children about protecting their private parts and not allowing adults and children to touch them unless they are hurt.  If so, show them how doctors touch and teachers so that they recognize what is good and bad touch.  Verbalize what would be considered bad touch and tell them why they shouldn't let people hurt them.

Talk about good girls and guys, bad guys and girls.

These conversation works well with the previous one, because it tells children that not everyone who smiles, laughs or brings them something nice is a friend.  Show them examples of children who were hurt because they followed a man to a car.  Role-play with someone or with their toy figures so that children further understand what you mean.

Encourage children to share stories about their days.

You can use their daily experiences to teach them other things like: how to be polite, how to share, how to act when others are acting badly, and more.  Sometimes you can use a book, a toy or someone to trigger thoughts in your child's mind about things they did or said while you were away.  Ask questions about how something made them feel and what they did to handle a situation.  Always smile and watch your tone of voice so that children will want to talk to you.  Don't tell them what you will do to someone because they did something to your child.  You don't want your child to be scared and start keeping secrets because they don't want to anger you--so act calmly.

Draw pictures or do other projects with your child.

Children will talk more especially boys when they are busy with something else like building something, eating, drawing, or putting something away, so do invite your child to talk by using the activities they are doing to start dialoging.

Use gifts, money, candy, fun places to visit, and other things to keep children talking.

When you give children nice things because they are doing such a "good job, playing nicely, being polite"  they will be more likely to continue conversing with you.

Be watchful for other opportunities to talk and teach your children.  Make yourself approachable.  Sometimes simply sitting down and watching a child play or do something else will move him or her to come over and talk to you. 

Many children grow up to be some of the best communicators because they had people around them who enjoyed talking and listening to them.


Nicholl McGuire also maintains a parenting blog here.

Sunday

Thursday

Setting Boundaries with Children Doesn't Make You a Bad Parent

Ever get into a conversation with someone on how you teach your children or advise a fellow parent on why he or she shouldn't spoil a child? Almost immediately the person you are sharing your story with laughs off the child's behavior, takes the “favored” parent's side and says something like, “Let kids be kids...oh that's not so bad...its alright that dad gives them what they want.”

Some parents experience a variety of feelings when listening to one who most likely indulges his or her own children and has had a few too many wars with a partner as a result. It isn't wise to assume that one is being overly protective, strict, or even crazy when it comes to training a child just because a parent says, “I don't give my child...I don't let my child...I am not the kind of parent who would...” Simply allowing one to share a story, without judgment, is all that is really needed. Put yourself in the parent's shoes, would you want someone labeling you because you do or don't do certain things with your children?

Establishing boundaries is very necessary when parenting children. Consider the many places you and your children visit where there are guidelines, principles, laws, and more that must be adhered to. So if a parent doesn't want to give a child a sugary food item before a meal, frequent fast food establishments or let a child stay up pass bedtime often, he or she has good reason. Not every child is the same and must be managed differently based on one's personality, health, location, etc. But people who don't know all the facts, don't bother to ask questions, and avoid looking beyond their own personal experiences, jump to conclusions.

Children should be taught early on at home about things like: sharing, respecting others' time, not being greedy, acting responsibly and other things that will help them have a quality life in this world while still managing to get along with others. With proper teaching, children can easily adapt to a world comprised of many authority figures, workers, and others who aid, manage and build our society. However, self-indulgent, spoiled children, who are use to parents sitting at their feet and waiting on them, will not adjust well at work, home and elsewhere. While others are getting their own tools, building their own lives, and teaching others, the spoiled child (turned helpless young adult) will be at a lost searching for anyone to help him or her—good, bad or otherwise. In time, he or she will discover that not everyone is nice and couldn't care less and so back home this person goes for a pat on the head from mom or dad saying, “It's okay. They don't understand you. You are a good person. Don't worry, we will help you.” When mom and dad should really be saying, “I apologize for not teaching you well. Since you are back at home with us, here is what you need to learn or re-learn.”

 
 
Governing one's home in a way that keeps foolishness out while teaching children right from wrong is not a bad thing, so ignore voices that ignorantly say, “Oh, let kids be kids.” Telling a child “No” shouldn't be a problem and if it is then a parent needs to ask his or herself, “Why is this an issue for me?” Then make some changes. But for some parents who grew up with lack, they don't want to address the errors of their ways. They also don't fully realize that going from a lifestyle of not having to too much giving isn't going to make their children necessarily better people in the long-run. There are many once spoiled children who grow up to be selfish and the following happens to them as a result: divorced multiple times, in and out of jail, homeless off and on, abusive, addicted to substances, unemployed often, and more because they just don't understand that people aren't going to bend over backwards for them and that the majority of society dislikes greedy, selfish people.

Friday

Your Child's Eyes Will One Day Awaken to Your Truth

Most mothers recognize many of the obvious signs that a child is developing in his or her mind, body and spirit. But what some don't see is that awakening that takes place over time. The kind of enlightenment that happens with a child when he or she wants to know more about parents beyond what they say to them and do. In the following examples, you will notice how a child reaches a point in his or her life when parents aren't what they appear to be. A tween discovers daddy is not the man that he or she was told he was by family members. This tween starts connecting the dots and sees that lies have been told for years about daddy's profession—no wonder he was often absent, he had been serving time. A child gets a strange feeling about mom, the kind that makes her just stare at her parent for a long time without saying anything. In time, she notices that mom is troubled—something is wrong with her. Then there is a teen who sees beyond smiles, laughs, gifts, and compliments from parents, he begins to see that his parents are really not that nice. They are mean toward each other and others. At times, they pop pills, drink and do other things to make them feel good.

Now when a parent sees that a child is on to them, so to speak, he or she works frantically trying to cover up the truth. “Honey, that's not what you think...oh I really do love you...No, I would never say that about you, you weren't a mistake. That man is your dad, I know he doesn't look like you...” says the parent. Meanwhile, the child doesn't believe mom or dad's attempts at brainwashing his or her mind. The lies, cover ups, and niceties don't suffocate sad, angry, or bitter feelings—something isn't right. So the son or daughter just says, “Okay.” But deep down inside knows differently. Sooner or later what is in darkness will come to light. A parent who sincerely loves the child more than keeping a secret will speak truth. He or she won't allow lies to eat up a child inside. A parent who cares about her son or daughter doesn't want personal as well as external demons to attack his or her child into adult years, so the truth must be made manifest. But those who believe that they are protecting a child while serving his or her selfish interests will not speak one word of truth. “I don't want my baby to worry...I prefer not to tell...she isn't ready,” the parent reasons. However, the child's eyes have awaken and the questions are being asked, don't keep creating a public relations campaign, mom and dad—speak truth.

Many parents don't want their children asking too many questions about them and they definitely don't want them asking others about them either especially if they aren't comfortable with how they lived in the past. So mom or dad starts advising the child not to ask about this or that. For some parents, they will even go so far as to threaten a child for wanting to know more about them. “Why do you need to know that? Stop asking so many questions, or else.” the parent cautions.
 
Fantasy goes away and reality begins for many perceptive children. For instance, a son learns that his often happy mother is really a sad, depressed one on pills that make her jovial. A daughter finds out her father really wasn't happy about her arrival and for years grieved about not having a son. She learns the hard way: why dad was hard on her growing up, why she acted like a Tomboy, and later became a lesbian. When children discover that what people say don't align with what they do, they want to know why? They need to know what is it about that person that makes them feel scared, angry, nervous, sad, or confused when he or she comes around. Children can pick up on feelings from parents of not being wanted. They may not recall certain details when it comes to bad things that happened to them, but they know that something wasn't right no matter how much mom reasons that something was okay or didn't happen.
 
Many parents work hard to keep secrets secret. But sooner or later, a child will sense that something is not right, and for many, they will search and search until dots start to connect. What's sad is that for some parents even if lies are killing a child mentally and physically, they will not reveal truth! They will blame the child when they see their issues show up in the child. For some parents, they will act as if they don't see the elephant in the room. How can one expect a mere child to carry the burdens of adults? If a curse is in a family, don't act as if it's the child's fault. Those who tell falsehoods, act double-minded, slander, and do other things to hurt others reap what they sow and unfortunately sometimes the sins of the parents fall on their children.
 
A child turned adult seeks his or her identity, purpose in life, and looks for reasons as to why they feel the way they do about mom and dad. Patting a boy or girl on the head and saying, “Don't worry.” Is not good enough after children reach a certain age.
 
From sex to drug addictions, a young confused man or woman finds his or her temporary peace in these things, an attempt to run away from those nagging feelings from childhood. Unanswered questions, verbal and physical abuse, lies told about what a child sees, hears, and more will drive a poor boy or girl insane. Don't wonder why some children go off, act weird, or don't seem to have their heads on straight, it isn't always about a mental condition with all children, sometimes it is a heart condition. A deep longing to sincerely know parents and a desire to be loved honestly and innocently.
 
A self-absorbed, quiet parent, a controlling, abusive parent, or one who has a mental issue, can be a child's worse enemy. Think about how these type of people affected you when you were raised by them, dated or married them, it wasn't a good feeling now was it?
 
So don't think for one minute children are not paying close attention to you mom or dad, because they are! They want to know what makes you tick. Why do you say and do the things that you do? How do you really feel about them? There comes a point that we all want truth, no more story-telling, game-playing, cover ups, and “you better not say...” statements. “What is really going on and why do I feel this way about you, mom and dad?” says the awakened child.

Nicholl McGuire

Tuesday

Don't Give Up on Your Children!

When everyone else says that your child will not, can not, or never will, there is nothing wrong with being that one voice that says, "Oh no he won't be that...he will be this...and I am not going to permit that!" 

Today, I encourage all mothers reading this who are going through hard times with children to continue to seek information you need to help your children--look high and low!  I hold every mother accountable, including myself, that we will do as much as we can for our children mentally, physically, and spiritually as our Creator wills. 

No more excuse making, lip service, and saying, "One day we will..."  Nope.  Start doing something today that will assist your child (or children).  Maybe you might have to get some things started, spend more money, get more people involved, or spend longer hours getting needed help.  For some of you, talking to the child's father (or others) to make necessary arrangements will need to be done.
If writing letters to many, many organizations to help stimulate a change will help you and your child, then do it!  If you need to cut someone or something out of your child's life because they are delaying progress, then do it.  Too often we fear what might happen in the future if this thing or that thing is or isn't done.  Cast away that fear!  So how do you do that?  You get started.  You look fear in the face and you keep moving! (See Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate, if you are in a troubled relationship.) 

We are all in a season of challenges in order to prepare us for more troubles ahead, but we will survive because we are learning from the experiences we are dealing with now!  Some of us have more difficulties than others, but we are still breathing, aren't we?  We are still awaking each day caring for children.  We are still putting up with people and things involved in our children's lives (even if we don't particularly like the people or the situations), but we know for now, they are what's best--praise God, no storm lasts forever!

No matter what we go through as mothers, we must remember that our children never asked us while we were love-making, "Hey, could I come to this planet?"  They came about whether we were prepared or not, we had the option to choose and we chose life!  Therefore, we must not give up on them.  Train your child for as long as he or she is in your care--do the very best you can, mom!

Nicholl McGuire 

Thursday

Some Mothers Don't Like Other Mothers

As much as we might not want to admit this, but there are one or two individuals in our circles that simply have a problem with mothers.  Now the trouble-maker is a mother, someone who is a career mom or home-maker, shuffling children around here and there, cares for her babies, and does other motherly things, but she doesn't like motherhood much, other mothers, or even her own mother.  She is just getting by with all other negative emotions!  From childhood woes to a bad relationship that left her with nothing more than a child, she is sad, depressed, jealous, and going through whatever other emotion that keeps her from truly connecting with other mothers on a spiritual, emotional or physical level.

Angry that things didn't turn out the way she had hoped in her life, an emotionally, physically and spiritually bond, mom is often disappointed with no real means of escape.  In her mind, everyone else is the cause of this issue and that issue, but never her.  "If my mother was more like...if my children's father would have...if these mothers would do this..." she thinks.

The bitter mom has more drama than most and usually speaks quite negatively about her family.  She lies when she is around other mothers who appear to be much happier and settled in their lives.  The mom exaggerates her love for everyone as if someone is going to question her about her personal views, and she covers up her feelings with a plastic smile or fake laugh.  She fears being judged, warned, advised, or corrected when it comes to her parenting practices, so if she doesn't have to call, write or come around others she won't. 

For some of you reading this, you might be that mother who one day exposes, admonishes or dismisses the troubled woman in your group who keeps tension flying amongst others.  You might not intentionally mean to tell this mother the truth about herself or ugly ways, but then again who knows what God might use you to do.  Yet, somehow something you say or do is going to ruffle the angry mom's feathers and she is going to come back with some insulting retort, deep sigh, eye-rolls, or outburst.  You see, a mother who doesn't really like being a mother or enjoys the company of other mothers, doesn't take too kindly too practical advice no matter how nice you say it. 

Many mothers who have little time or patience with others are usually the ones who pop off, not only with those in their own families (like husbands, mother-in-laws, etc.), but with others outside the family network too.  She finds faults with most people to cover up her own.  "Oh how could she do that...what kind of mother would...?"  Meanwhile, she never bothers to look at the evil thoughts she wrestles with from one day to the next or her questionable parenting practices when it comes to raising her children while claiming to be "a Christian, a Believer, a good mom."  When challenged on her foolishness, she perfers to argue.  "I think it is alright for my son to play games that shoot bad guys...I think it is okay for my daughter to dress like Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj...I see nothing wrong with saying bad words around my children, they will hear them anyway!" She reasons all is okay. "What about you...don't tell me anything! My children are fine!"

The mother, who doesn't like other mothers, enjoys being around select individuals, who like her, don't enjoy children much, but tolerate them.  She hopes to get a few good laughs about others' short-comings.  When she is weary of her children, she is all-too-ready to enlist a babysitter or two (even if they are not the best people for her children to be around) and welcomes anyone in her circle who can save her time and money by doing things for her kids. 

These selfish moms don't like generous moms, because they sometimes feel they have to help them even when they don't want to.  She thinks, "Oh, I wish she wouldn't buy my children anything, because I don't want to feel obligated to her...I don't know why she spends so much time with those kids, I wouldn't--they would get on my nerves."

For some it might be difficult to believe that there are such mothers in this world, but there are, and this is why sometimes you have that one in your group who just can't seem to get along with other mothers.  You might have a mom who is often jealous concerning other mothers.  She might be the one always at war about what this one and that one said to her. 

It is difficult for some moms to sit in the presence of others not having a clue as to how to love, care, nurture, or create an atmosphere that is in the best interest of their children.  Pride keeps some from getting the necessary help to come up higher when it comes to relating to other mothers.  Love of money and material things are more important than relationships so she doesn't much care about others unless they have what she has or can benefit her in some way. 

For the mother who doesn't like others like her, she doesn't want to face this personal truth.  She rather sweep it under the rug.  But if she has a faith, she might want to consider taking her issues to the Lord and ask him to put more love in her heart for family and fellow mothers and take away jealous and bitter feelings in Jesus name. 

Nicholl McGuire author of Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate
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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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