Stuck in a rut? No idea where to turn next to fix something or someone? Feel as though you are going around in circles, and not sure how to get out of the cycle? Every mother faces uncertain days, and it’s the reason you eventually become an excellent problem-solving mother.
The truth is, your problem-solving skills get a good workout – every single day. From how to get that banana stain off clothing, to getting your child to school on time, to teaching your teen responsibility. Mothers are surrounded with a million problems to solve during an offspring’s childhood.
This is Your Motherhood Life
You are on a challenging, slightly scary, and also very exciting roller-coaster. In reality, you have a long-term ride to look forward to.
Your task on this adventure is to bring your precious baby through the childhood years, and then help transition him or her into adulthood. Ideally you want this lovely one to be a fully functional and contributing member of their community. That’s your “project”, if you like. And you have 18-20 years to do it.
Becoming aware of that project was my big realization when I was pregnant the first time around, at 24 years old. The tragedy was, I’d lost my mother to breast cancer at 16. And while I was surrounded by great female role models, I still felt quite alone. The lack of my own mother caused me to be fiercely independent, but it also increased my isolation. (I can be quite the independent soul! How about you?)
It took a long time to learn that asking for help, and being interdependent, is a far more grown-up, and successful, way ahead. It’s the difference between tearing-your-hair-out despair, and feeling like you can actaully do this motherhood thing.
The Key to Being a Problem-solving Mother
When I started my motherhood journey, I had a sense I would need to be good at fixing issues every step of the way. I would need to become a problem-solving mother. And I was right. Being a great mother is hard-earned, and explains why motherhood is one of the most difficult, and most rewarding, jobs on earth.
While lots of mothers have masses of instinctive ability, many also wish the job came with a manual! The good news is: no matter where you are, you can do it. You can be a problem-solving mother. Stick with it. Keep looking at the long-term view, and remember you are running a marathon, not a sprint. For this reason, just like a marathon runner, it’s important to look after yourself in the process.
I had many moments of frustration as I worked through having a colicky baby, sleepless nights, toddler tantrums, issues with friends at school, issues with teachers at school, sport/dance/music clashes, teen tantrums – and the list goes on. Soon I realized I couldn’t do this motherhood thing on my own. And here’s the problem for independence-loving women of the modern day era. Sometimes it’s necessary to swallow pride, and ask for help (even if it means reading a blog! Hello!)
In fact, this is the next level of maturity as a person moves forward. It’s about being “interdependent“, or mutually reliant on others. Interdependence is the one BIG key to problem-solving. Read through my toolbox, below, and see how many come back to interdependence.
Toolbox for Problem-Solving Mothers
There are many places to get help when you get stuck. Here are some of the most reliable tools in your kit.
1. Unexpectedly, Prayer is the Number One Tool in Your Kit
God understands your mess. And you can talk to him. He can see things from beginning to end, and so he has a unique view to offer. God was part of the creative process, for both you and your child. He knows you both, through and through, even to the number of hairs on your heads!
He wants to work with you, and walk beside you on this motherhood journey. Ask him for help, and he’ll be there for you. Work on all of the points below, with prayer for wisdom as your constant back-up.
In my personal experience, prayer is the most unexpected tool in the toolbox for a problem-solving mother. And the most helpful. It’s amazing. I’ve discovered that God always answers a heartfelt prayer. Although it has to be said, that it’s usually not in the way you expect!
2. Journal Writing
Taking time to regularly write in a journal is an amazing tool for problem-solving mothers. Many people swear by this method. Sitting down for half an hour or so, every morning, and hand-writing three pages is a spectacularly simple, and yet unexpectedly effective way of dealing with issues that come up.
You can write about simple as problems such as, “I don’t know what color shoes to buy,” to much more complex and relational, “Why did my father do that to me?” questions.
3. Talk to Friends
The value of being part of a community cannot be underestimated. The old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child” is as true now as ever. Watch how your friends and family do parenthood, and ask them what they did when they struck similar issues.
Everyone will have a different answer, of course. But rest assured, because when the right solution comes across your path you will just know. Especially if you are using Tool Nos. 1 and 2, above.
One suggestion which utilizes your community is to ask a trusted friend or family member take your child-with-a-problem under their wing to coach or mentor. Another idea is to talk to another family you admire about doing life a little closer with them. That way, you can watch and learn. And those are just a couple of thoughts. There are many ways you can be supported by the community around you. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are being weak when you ask for help. Actually, it’s a place of strength and maturity.
Your community might be church family, extended family, school, sporting club, or even an online community. However, be careful these people are safe, and that they hold the same values you hold, that you want your children to aspire to.
Oh my goodness – what is Google for, but to research parenting issues! Don’t forget though, there are good resources at your local library, infant welfare center, doctor’s office, and local community health center. Keep looking, searching and checking things out, until you find advice and wisdom you are happy with. Funnily enough, you will be surprised to realize how you will know, intuitively, which advice is right for you.
As well, check out the Treasuring Mothers boards for Mothers on Pinterest. There are hundreds of articles there just for you. You might find an answer to one of your problems there. In fact, why not follow Treasuring Mothers on Pinterest?
5. Talk to your Partner
Your partner is also a great person to talk to as you work out and work through the problems you have. Without doubt, I was always grateful when SB brought his male sense of Objectivity, strength and authority to a situation. That’s not to say females do not bring those qualities, but in a different way.
For example, the long-term perspective was something that I kept forgetting, and with his different perspective, SB reminded me so often – it’s not all about this battle, there’s the long-term picture to remember. Knowing there is a much larger game-plan always makes a positive difference.
6. Talk to Family
Mother, Siblings, Aunts/Uncles, Grandparents
Your family members are a fantastic resource. Particularly females. But males often have great wisdom as well. Older family members can see family traits coming through in a generational sense, and can offer a broader perspective with some wisdom. There is a treasure trove of experience, stories galore, and new perspective available if you go ask them.
7. Professional Advice
Psychologist, Infant Welfare Sister, GP, School Teacher, Social Worker
There is so much assistance available from professionals. That’s what they’re there for.
See if there are free services available to you before going down the path of paying the big bucks. You never know until you ask. I mean, what’s the worst thing they can say? At the very least you are to be commended for taking action and asking for help. As mentioned above, this is a place of strength.
8. Learn how to Deal with Conflict
Often the biggest problems are the relational ones, happening in your own family. You are a wise mothers if you learn how to do problem-solving, of the dealing-with-conflict kind.
Find helpful and respectful ways to address issues. If you can teach your kids about dealing with conflict you’re giving them a skill which will help them for the rest of their life. Here’s some information about resolving conflict.
There are many great parenting courses around. Do your research and find a good one in your area. In Australia, the Families Course is highly recommended.
Check out their website to see if there is one in your area soon, and if not, send a query to suggest they get one happening near you. There are parenting course teams available nationally.
The Final Word – Enjoy the Moment
To be a problem-solving mother, it’s important to work on it, and be intentional. Sometimes it can be tough! While coping with the day-to-day struggle, it can be so tempting to yearn for the next stage. It’s easy to think things like:
“When she gets to pre-school, things will settle down.”
“Oh I can’t wait for this teething stage to finish!”
“One day, everyone will leave home, and then we’ll have some peace and quiet.”
But as John Lennon famously wrote, “Life is what happens while you’re making plans.” In other words, things can slip you by if you focus on the future too much.
Soooo, even when there are problems to solve, make sure you stop and smell the roses right where you are. Enjoy those toothless grins, the cuddles in bed, the tuneless songs, and the funny moments. Be present with your family, and take time to “love on” your children, as best as you can, day by day. Days are going to pass you by, and you will not get them back again.
The biggest lesson to give you in this problem-solving life? Enjoy every moment! And that will give you the shot in the arm you need to be a fantastic problem-solving mother.
I took a walk this morning, breathed in the fresh air, and consciously enjoyed the sights and sounds.What are you doing, right now, today, to help you enjoy the moment?
I’d love to know 🙂