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Home  Marriage, Parenting, Celibacy   Mothering with a Purpose

Mothering with a Purpose

蔣吳蘊蘭 By Winnis Chiang

Are you unhappy how your marital relationship has deteriorated after your baby arrived? Are you disappointed and tired of heated arguments or emotional coldness from your spouse?

You are not alone! Millions of couples agree that parenting have strained their marriage. Instead of feeling loved and supported, many couples escalate into conflicts, resentments, separation and even divorce due to normal stresses such as mundane routines, financial and career demands, fatigue, sleep deprivation, and day care arrangements, not to mention other issues involving grandparents, in-laws, and personal developmental pains and traumas.

Parenting takes time, energy and money. It stirs up a lot of feelings, tests the core of our beings, and brings out the best and the worst in every couple. When our kids are at stake, we naturally take things personally, and argue about who is right and who is wrong. We don't have the time nor the patience to hear each other out, let alone resolving conflicts. When we cannot enjoy each other, we feel tense and annoyed. As frustration turns into hurt and disappointment, we sometimes question why we got married in the first place, and why are we working so hard to provide for and take care of our family.

That was how I felt twenty some years ago before our son turned six. Now I am amazed with gratefulness how our little boy has grown up to be a responsible husband and father of three kids! Imagine my joy when I held my newest grandchild last month. As a mother, I am grateful for my son and his family. I am so satisfied that our hearts are connected and I don't have to worry about them even though we live in different states.

Often after one of my parenting workshops, a mother would say this to me. “If I understand correctly, the best gift I have for my child is to take care of myself and my relationship with my husband. Is that correct?” Many times, a mother standing by would add, “And I need to have good relationship with God first.”

Do you want to get along with your kids, enjoy your teenagers, and influence them for the long haul? Don't let past disappointments and current challenges hijack your marital satisfaction or your relationship with our Creator God! Come to a future parenting workshop (in Mandarin, Cantonese or English) to share common concerns and learn how to break your downward escalating cycle of unhealthy interactive patterns.

In her book, "Battle Hymn of the tiger mother," Amy Chua shared that as a Chinese mother, there were many things that she never allowed her daughters to do. As it turned out, Amy is an American Born Chinese and many of her parenting styles and values were instilled in her from her parents. Her mom and dad came to the United States in 1961 when her dad studied for his Ph.D. and later became professor at Purdue and U.C. Berkeley.

Most mothers do not consider themselves tiger moms. Give some time to yourself to celebrate Mother’s Day. Reflect on your personal child rearing experience. Explore strategies and ways to refocus on parenting. Hopefully you (like me) could re-evaluate and rebuild your relationship as a couple and parents, rekindle your love, and communicate so that both of you get what you really, really want. Your kids will be happier when their parents are happy and having FUN functioning as a team when your family grows together!

Times have changed from the days when Amy was growing up with her family as foreigners and outsiders. But some of the ABC children, teenagers and young adults today have lost their purpose and motivation. How can you help your children appropriately so that they become mature responsible and independent adults that you do not have to worry about? I’d love to share practical tips to improve your relationship with your kids, teenagers, and young adults.

If you are single, or married without kids, don’t forget that you can mentor spiritual children. After I became a believer, Jill was the first person who discipled me. I consider her one of my spiritual mother even though she is younger than me in age. You could read one of my Chinese article about helpful witnesses who are my mentors and friends at
http://www.ficfellowship.org/helpful-witness.html#.U2jgifldW8A

Who could have imagined me becoming a marriage and family therapist, a coach and mentor, and a pastoral counselor around the world? It all started with my new life and new identity in Christ that enabled me to live in Christ moment by moment. My journey as a daughter, wife and mother reflects how my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ has been helping me to help others. May all glory and praise be to our God in the highest!

 

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