Nicole tries to make her home a really fun place. She protects down time as a family, and guards her husband’s day off—when they can all be together. She also tries to plan a couple of little family vacations during the year, to a water park or the beach. With an age span of twelve years, sometimes it’s tricky to find activities that everyone enjoys. But Nicole has discovered that when everyone is sharing, they have the most fun.
Since they have a large family, Nicole is intentional about helping the kids share. She remembers helping her little ones pick out a book at the library to surprise a sibling. Or once when Nicole’s little girl got a happy meal, and she wasn’t content until she had taken it apart and shared a little something with everyone.
From the time they were little, Nicole has fostered a team spirit in her kids by making ‘milestone celebrations’ a family affair. So when someone lost a tooth, they all got $1. Or when someone went potty, they all got a piece candy. Now that her kids are a bit older, they celebrate bigger accomplishments, too. Like when her son sold some wood recently, all of the kids were enthusiastic about his success, and said, ‘Congratulations!’ And when the two oldest kids have a cross country meet, the whole family goes to cheer them on.
But Nicole realizes that it’s not just the kids who need to learn to share and put others first–she does, too. And sharing her time is just as important as sharing her things. Like when she’s just finished the supper dishes and is longing to sit for a while, but somebody needs something… Nicole and her husband have found that running with their oldest kids is a way to share time with them.
Just recently, Nicole has been challenged with sharing choices. Nicole’s family lives in a small town, and always before when they drove to a bigger city for the day, she would be the one to choose which stores they would go to or which restaurant to eat at. But now her teens have their own ideas of places they’d like to go. So, Nicole has begun allowing them each to pick one place to go—and she’s learned that deferring to her kids’ preferences is another way to share.
Nicole tries to begin each morning with prayer—both for herself and for her family. When she’s
tired, she’ll often pray Psalm 18:1, which says, “I love you Lord, my strength.” She prays Scripture over her kids, and prays that they will have a sweet spirit that day.
Nicole’s fifth child has been the most challenging for her as a mom. Just this morning, she woke him up by whispering her prayer in his ear–that God would help him not respond with angry, grumpy sounds when he’s asked to obey.
Nicole’s older kids often share their prayer requests for the day with her. This week, her middle school son was chosen as student of the month, and was to eat lunch with the principal. He asked his mom to pray that is would go well, and that he wouldn’t be nervous.
Nicole tries to use Christian music to create a tone and focus in their home. When she was feeling discouraged and frustrated recently, she turned Christian music on in the car and noticed how her attitude changed. She wondered why she hadn’t put it on several hours earlier! She also has a goal of listening to at least one online sermon a week, while she works in the kitchen.
Now that she has teenagers, Nicole realizes more than ever the importance of stressing obedience early on. Recently, her son was standing at the counter with her while she made a pound cake for their small group. She was letting him dump in the ingredients, but then he went to reach for the water. Nicole said, “No, no water,” but an instant later, he had squirted her in the face with the sprayer on the sink.
She was tempted to let it go, because it was funny and because he was experimenting, but then she remembered something that she had seen last summer: a mom, screaming for her teenage son to stop spraying her with a hose garden hose. Nicole reminded herself that it’s important to do the hard world of disciplining kids as preschoolers, because as they grow up, the problems get bigger and harder to fix.
Nicole finds that she has a tendency toward leniency, since this is how she was raised. She relies heavily on her husband to help her be balanced. And she reminds herself that she’s disciplining her kids for their own good; nobody wants a friend who hits and pinches them! And more than just getting her kids to obey her, Nicole wants to train them to obey God.
Thanks so much to Nicole for giving us a window to her mothering. Do you know a mom who is exceptional in some way? Read about how to ‘Nominate a Mom’ here