By Stephanie Ziebarth
Recently I sat with a small group of women at Joy El’s Mother-Son Retreat. We were discussing a question posed by the speaker for the weekend: “In what ‘A’ area do you struggle as you parent your son?” The As included affirmation, acceptance, appreciation, availability, affection, approach and accountability.
Somewhat surprisingly, the resounding answer in my small group was “available.” These moms just didn’t feel available to their sons.
The good news? They were at a mother-son retreat! They were sending a strong message to their sons last weekend that they do want to spend time with them. And I witnessed countless special mother-son moments throughout my time there. Fortunately for me and my son Josiah, we also experienced countless ourselves. It was a very memorable weekend for us.
But as I thought of all these moms who struggle with being available for their sons, I thanked God for one little thing I’ve learned in recent years. I thought it might be worth passing on this bit of counsel.
Notice when your child is chattiest and try your hardest to be available during that time–even though this may take some real effort on your part.
As a homeschooling mother, it used to drive me batty that my son just wanted to chat while we did spelling every day. I wondered, “How hard can it be to go through a list of spelling words?!” Then it occurred to me: he may not always want to talk so freely with me. If I just planned on spelling time also being conversation time, then I would not get frustrated, and my son and I could have meaningful conversations every morning.
Then I noticed that my oldest child was always ready to talk upon her return home from school. That used to be when I scheduled my work hours (I work part-time from home), but I decided to start scheduling my afternoons differently, so I could be available to talk through her day with her. It quickly became a highlight of my day.
I still have a lot to learn as a parent, but I’ll rejoice in the victories as they come. And I’d love to hear your parenting nuggets so we can help each other. After all, parenting seems to be a lifelong journey—and a very worthwhile one at that!