I interviewed my mother in 2014 as part of an assignment targeting Millennial parents. Now two years later, I found it in my iTunes library, and decided it was past time to share her wisdom with the world--especially with Millennials and their parents! There are many reasons why this interview is a standout one, but I'll only list a few to get started: 1) My mother is amazing. 2) She's a mom who really has "had it all"--after leaving work as a CPA after she had twins, she stayed at home for 27 years and went back to work this year! 3) She has some great advice for parents: to pray more and worry less.
Read on for more wise words from my mother!:
Q (me): Tell us about your children.
A (my mom): I have three daughters--twin daughters that will be 25 next month, and my youngest daughter is 19. They were born in St. Louis, Missouri. All of my daughters are different and wonderful. It's really fun to see them all grow and develop into the beautiful young women that they are.
What has been the most challenging part of parenting?
The sibling interaction has been hard. I'm an only child. My husband has two older sisters, so it was easier for him, but for me it's been very difficult when my daughters disagree. That is very hard. I like harmony in the home. Not that there isn't, but disagreements can be challenging to deal with when you have three girls.
Have you always wanted to be a mom?
I have always wanted to be a mom because I think having children is wonderful.
What has being a mom taught you about your faith?
That prayer is central to my life. It really gets me through times when I'm not sure what to do.
How did you manage to raise twins?
My husband has been a huge support for me in raising my twins. His parents, my daughters' grandparents, were a really big part when they were really young, to help. It was a lot of fun, but it was a blur. It's been very interesting, and really good. We definitely had help, especially as early parents.
What are some parenting tips you learned from your parents?
From my parents, I learned that consistency is key. A lot of love...unconditional love. Acceptance. And to have fun!
What are some highlights from parenting your daughters?
The trips that we took -- the outings -- like going to the zoo with the grandparents -- are highlights. We've also taken a lot of vacations to Walt Disney World, and have visited family in various places. When we could all be together and my husband was off because he worked a lot, those times were always really special.
What was a challenge of raising your daughters?
The most frustrating part of raising three daughters has been deciding when to step in and try to help and when to back off and let them do their thing, whatever they're trying to decide. I don't believe in helicopter parenting, but my husband and I are very hands-on. We are very close.
Talk about Millennials in general. What is your perception of them?
Millennials are very tech-savvy--especially on social media. They multitask. They are always involved in more than one thing going on. They always have many different things going on in their lives and aren't really happy if they don't.
Is that a good thing?
It can be a good thing as long as their focus is where they should be. When they take on too much and don't focus on some of the more important things, then it's not so good.
What are the "more important things?"
The important things are building relationships--not just through texting and Facebook messaging, but face-to-face, getting together and doing things, that is important.
Do you have any encouragement for Millennials? Advice?
Stay true to who you are, stay close to your family, build close relationships with like-minded people. Church is very important. Get involved in groups that provide strong insulation from the craziness of the world. To have that stability in Bible study and prayer, and with people you can talk to that have their faith grounded and know what they believe.
Is it important to have mentors?
Yes, it's important to have mentors or at least people you can talk to when you need to that you can trust and won't send you off in incorrect directions or activities.
You've been married 29 1/2 years--what's your advice to married couples?
Commitment is a big thing. You're committed, and no matter what problems you encounter, you're committed to staying together. When you put God and prayer in the center of your marriage, that makes a huge difference. It's commitment. And a core of common beliefs. You have to have that. If you are on the same page with those things, you will go far.
How do you work through difficulties in marriage?
You talk about it. You pray about it. And always remain committed to working it out.
What would you like to see this generation of Millennials--your daughters and others--accomplish?
I think they do a really good job of helping other people--from what I've seen of watching my daughters and their friends, I think their volunteer efforts are at a high level compared to what they were among myself and my peers when I was their age and that's really great. I think they should continue that.
Are there any lessons you've learned in your life that you'd like to pass on to others?
Be really grateful and thankful for everything you have. Persevere when things aren't going so well, and believe God is helping you through that. And be positive.
You lost your mom when you were 16. For others who have lost parents, how would you encourage them to get through that tough time?
Hopefully they have someone they can talk to, and someone who can help them through. That's important.
What is your favorite memory of your mom?
She was funny. We also went on a couple of vacations--we went down to Walt Disney World when it first opened, we drove down there and had a nice time. She also did a lot of stuff at our home. She would host dinners for Christmas and Thanksgiving, and those were always fun times.
What is your favorite memory of your dad?
He was very stable. He was always there for me.
What is your favorite college memory?
I'd have to say, meeting my husband. We were working on the freshman float, and my first comment to him was, "How tall are you, anyway?" And he still decided to ask me out at some point!
How long did you guys date?
Almost 7 years.
That's a long time! Dating advice?
Date a few different people if that works out for you. To find out what kind of personalities mesh with yours, what kind of things you enjoy doing, have fun. When you get more serious, make sure you have the common values that are important.
What was the most dramatic moment of your life?
Having my twin daughters. It was a huge thing. I had never babysat, I'm an only child, so all of a sudden, I was having twins, and my husband was the youngest in his family, so neither one of us had any experience taking care of babies, and all of a sudden we had two babies we were responsible for. It was...dramatic. Community and support are definitely important. I am very proud of my twin daughters. They are both wonderful. And so is my youngest! She was easy after having twins.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
"...For neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" [Romans 8:39]. I've always liked that verse. It shows us we never have to worry because God's love is always there for us.
How do you work through stress and anxiety in parenting?
I pray. I read. Lately I've read some helpful Today's Christian Woman articles about parenting. It's kind of day by day. And to realize you can't take care of everything, and you have to let go sometimes. It's always a struggle. And a constant part of life.
Who have been some of your main role models or influences?
Other than my parents, Willa and Perry, and my husband's parents, Bob and Joyce--who were really wonderful people who showed the importance of family--there's Mrs. Anderson.
If you could go back and parent your children again, would you do something differently?
I'm sure there's something small, but I can't think of anything major.
Closing remarks for other parents of Millennials?
Just love them always. Help them when you can. Stay close.
It's my hope I'll be half the mother she was to us someday! I LOVE YOU, MOM!!! :)
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