Self Proclaimed "un-mom" (Casie Falls)
Before I had children I was learning how to be a great mom from Casie. She is discerning and aware of her kids' needs. I've always been drawn to her vulnerability and desire to grow. I am blessed to know Casie. Oh what I would give to sit and talk over a Thai tea with her.
I, Casie Falls, am a self proclaimed “un-mom” of 3 great but vastly different children. My husband and I, along with our kids, have lived like vagabonds setting up home in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Venezuela (in town and in the jungle) and for now, in Michigan. Our family is more like a team that exists for the goal of getting the gospel to the unreached people of the world, primarily training and equipping folks for overseas mission work these days. I say I am an “un-mom” because I don’t have any grand illusions about finding purpose/fulfillment/identity in being a mom...yes, I realize that this is counter-culture. To parent well, I have to see God’s purpose for the family, my identity must be in Him, and that is where I find complete fulfillment. What I have learned over the last 19 years...well, that consistency pays off. Dan and I have been pretty consistent in our expectations and discipline over the years. I won’t say that I haven’t sat on the couch and watched one of my kids do something that I should have approached them about, but more often than not we were on top of things. Our gang isn’t robotic, like soldiers who march in straight lines at all times, but they don’t believe they are the center of the universe. They each offer kindness to members of the family and those who visit us. Now that my kids will ALL be teenagers (13, 17, 19) in about 4 months, the need for discipline is seldom. Because of being consistent when they were small, I don’t have teenage kids that are a pain to live with (like I was at that age!) and in fact I like this age because we continue to work as a team and enjoy each other. I can’t directly connect all the dots, because I know that God’s grace, and His work in their lives have accomplished great things; but I know that being consistent with expectations and discipline when kids are small may help to successfully avert the dreaded teenage years.
P.S. With all of Savanna’s medical issues/birth defects, it was more difficult to be consistent in the first year, but once we knew her health was stable and our expectations were reasonable, she became a delight to live with as well. So glad we didn’t wimp out as parents with her because she has the strongest personality of all of our kids!! One last thing...We got the bright idea when our oldest was getting very close to turning 13 that we wanted to give her a big gift that would cost us very little. The short version is that by no small miracle, we were able to get her a horse for $1 and board it near our home. This meant that Carissa and I would have to drive to the farm together nearly every day, and that we would have to do farm chores together, and in order to pay for it we had to clean homes for people...together. If I could recommend one thing to parents, come up with a neat gift for your teenager that will absolutely cement you together with them. Too many teens are walking through life isolated from their parents simply because that’s what all the other teens are doing. I wanted to something similar for our son Connor’s 13th, I looked everywhere to find him a classic car (the problem was I couldn’t find one for a dollar!) that he and his dad would have to work on together to get it ready for his 16th birthday. It never happened but it was a good idea. Instead I homeschooled him for 8th grade just to get to know him better, and we ended up becoming great chefs together (and good friends too!). He started as an amazing sous chef, and now can cook like a pro. He’d never admit to this talent, cause it’s way too womanly, but he’s got some talent! What have I loved the most during that time....I am just starting to realize that I really miss bath time when my kids were little. It seemed a like a chore at the end of each day that required my last shred of strength. Now all I can remember is the sweet smell of Baby Magic, the splashing, talking and laughing about the day, the warm and soggy bodies rolled up into a towel burrito. A time of connecting. Perhaps at the time all I saw was a worn out mom-face in the mirror and a dirt ring in the tub. Now whenever I babysit other people’s children I have the Baby Magic in the cupboard waiting for dirty end-of-the-day kids. It’s funny how time changes your perspective and how I find myself wishing for a do-over so I could go back and enjoy bath time just once more. I don't think my teenagers would be okay with me sitting on the bathroom floor and just talking to them at the end of the day while they showered! Confession: This is hard because most of what we choose to shamefully confess is usually something that our moms would never have done and perhaps that is why it is so scandalous. I asked my kids what I ought to confess to, but they could only think of things that were not appropriate for a blog. So here is a tame one...We sing, talk and laugh about diarrhea and other bodily functions while eating dinner. On occasion we have forgotten ourselves and even started down that road while company was with us. We have little dinner decorum at our house, but at least we all eat together. After eating a modest portion of spaghetti and meatballs, we all dip our hands into the extra (unsauced) noodles in the middle of the table and swing the noodles above our heads and gently slurping the over hang into our mouths. It’s the prize of playing with your food once you finished your first serving.
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