Here in Part 1 are the first 7 points of 13 on how parenting is like a profession, and these are the points I will cover in this post:

  1. Prepare for the day
  2. Be purposeful
  3. Focus our attention on our work place (our home)
  4. Invest in the atmosphere
  5. Apply self-discipline; others are relying on us
  6. As a manager, motivate others
  7. Have a vision 

One of those comments that we get fairly often is, “Wow, you guys are professional parents.”  And my answer is both No, and Yes!  We are not professional parents in the sense that some people mean, that I have it all together and I’ve “arrived” as a parent and “have it all down”.  Not at all.  I am learning and growing every day in parenting our children and in developing my own character as well as theirs.  Parenting is not something that people can have all the answers to or do well at all of the time ~ we can only do our very best.

However the answer to the professional parents comment is also a Yes!  Because I pursue it as my “profession”.  When I think of the aspects of having a career – what that looks like, how people pursue it, how they view it, how they respond to it – then parenting to me is much the same thing.  

It is the career the Lord has given me as a mom.  *smile*  I did not resign myself to it, or do it out of obligation; rather I pursue it with all of my being, my efforts, and my education.  Many times moms say, Well I just can’t follow a schedule; or, I can’t get up early; or, I desire to just follow the Lord’s lead, winging it as we go.  Well…when those moms were in school, or when they had a job they got up early, followed a schedule, and followed the Lord’s lead by being responsible and productive.  We can do anything we put our minds to because the Lord does not give us more than we can handle with Him.

Many people pursue a career hoping that they will one day leave their mark on the world.  But really, parenting is the career that has eternal value, and will leave the greatest “mark on the world” that anyone could possibly leave ~ their children.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1. Prepare for the day 

When all the moms I’ve known for years were not yet moms but held jobs in the work force, they were always up early in the morning, showered and looking their best, and ate a good breakfast so that they’d be able to perform their best that day.  They didn’t say, I just can’t get up that early, and they didn’t stay in their pajamas all day.  *wink*  They took that job seriously and they looked the part.  We need to take our “job” seriously now as moms as well.  We need to be prepared, looking and acting clean and fresh (and it very much effects our attitudes when we are showered).  And, we need to get to bed early enough so that we can get up early in the morning to be ready before the children get up and need our full attention and help.

Before becoming wives and mothers, most of us probably got to bed at a decent hour on Sunday night in preparation for Monday’s work day.  We made sure our clothes were ready, and we might have prepared some breakfast or lunch food in advance so we’d be ready the next day.  In such a way we need to prepare for each day with our families.

Here are some posts I’ve written that go more in to the “practical how-to’s” of being prepared for the day:
     * Mom Tips – For Prettying Up Mom
     * Sleep Better – How to Make Your Bedroom a Better Place to Recharge
     * Motherhood with Vitality

2. Be purposeful

It’s so important for moms to to be on purpose about their life as a parent and wife.  One of the ways we can do this is to budget our time for the week.  We can decide in advance how our time will be used and make sure we not only get the important things done (not just the urgent), but also that life is balanced.  We need to make sure we have enough sleep, some exercise, have a little free time, keep up with the house cleaning, complete homeschooling, and yet not expect 28-hour days out of ourselves.  There is a way to do this by learning to utilize a schedule for the children and mom during the week.

Before becoming wives and mothers we needed to know what was expected of us in our job description, and we needed a plan (either of our own creation or some one else’s) for implementing and doing that job well.  We needed to be on purpose in order to complete our work.  So we need to be at home.

Here are some posts I’ve written that go more in to the “practical how-to’s” of being on purpose: 
     * Scheduling & Routines:  You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too
     * Scheduling – Just a Few Kids
     * Scheduling – What to do With Weekends
     * Scheduling for Fall – How I Create Our Schedules
     * You can go to the “Topics List” on our home page and click on “Schedules & Routines” to see all of my posts on this subject.
     * Managing My Time, Part 1 of 2
     * Living Life On Purpose – “Isn’t It Exhausting?”

3. Focus our attention on our work place (our home)

It is really important that moms intentionally focus their thoughts, attention, energy, and time on their home and family – not outside of it on all the activities they desire to do or think they ought to be doing.  If we do not then we feel frustrated, or trapped, or angry at the children who are “getting in the way.”  When actually the truth is, those children and the home are meant to be our primary responsibility!  It can make all the difference in the world.  I know, I’ve been in both places before learning that I need to turn my heart towards home intentionally.  *smile* 

Before becoming wives and mothers, we needed to focus on our job if we desired to be successful and to improve in our abilities and skills.  To really think about what we were trying to accomplish, and how to best achieve our goals.  Now we need to implement that same discipline for our families.

Here are some posts I’ve written that go more in to the “practical how-to’s” of focusing our attention on our homes: 
     * Enjoying Being at Home
     * Our Home – a Virtual Tour of Our Favorite Place to Be

4. Invest in the atmosphere 

We can choose to make the atmosphere of our home inviting, enjoyable, warm, and our favorite place to be.  *smile*  I encourage you to think about what your favorite things are, such as soothing music, a crackling fireplace (DVD if necessary – I love ours), candles, air fresheners.  What makes you smile, and say, “Mmm…nice…” to yourself?  Do you like to see orderliness, organization, and a generally clean home?  Because I can almost guarantee that when mom enjoys her home, it’ll rub off on the children as well.

Before becoming wives and mothers I’m pretty sure you, like I, did things to your work environment that made it “you”, and made you smile while you worked.  I encourage you to do those things at home as well.

Here are some posts I’ve written that go more in to the “practical how-to’s” of investing in our home’s atmosphere:  
     * Enjoying Being at Home
     * Orderliness – A Closer Look
     * De-Cluttering:  The First Steps of Organization
     * Organizing a Home:  Principles and Tips for Organization, Part 1 of 2
     * Large Family House Cleaning – Getting It Done, & When To Do The Big Jobs

5. Apply self-discipline; others are relying on us

It is so tempting for moms, I think, to spend way too much time on things like Facebook socializing with the “outside world”, or watching television, or doing their own hobbies.  Facebook, TV, and hobbies do not talk back; they do not disobey or require character training; and they can be a nice tool in helping us be in relationship with people or in exercising our creative side (in moderation).  But they can also pull our hearts away from what is most important – our family – and suck time into a vortex of no return.  I personally do not know where time goes when I’m checking my email!  So I need to stick to my “budgeted” blocks of time and not spend too much time in any of those things ~ and not “just jump online real quick” all the time when I should be homeschooling the children.  It’s not fair to them, or to our husbands who are relying on us at home.  We need to take our role at home seriously, pleasing the Lord, blessing our children, and blessing and honoring our husbands.

Before becoming wives and mothers I assume you, like I, would not spend excessive amounts of time doing your own little projects instead of doing your work.  I assume you desired to be successful and to be praised.  *smile*  So we need to also take our parenting seriously ~ and strive to be successful, and praised by our husbands and our children when they find themselves growing in to productive, wonderful, capable people.

Here are some posts I’ve written that go more in to the “practical how-to’s” of applying self-discipline: 
     * Choosing Thankfulness 
     * Book, “Present”, by Keri Lamar

6. As a manager, motivate others

Moms need to train their children to obedience and to increasing good character.  As a good manager of a “company”, this involves consequences for non-performance, allowing natural consequences, and especially motivational strategies moving “employees” towards the desire to comply and the reward for having done excellent work.  *smile*  And this can bring joy to a mother’s heart as well.  It feels good to bless others, and rewarding them is a reward for mom, too, really because she succeeded in moving those little people towards success.  

Now this is not the same as bribery for every single thing children do.  Children do need to also understand that they need to obey simply because they were told to by their authority (when they’re young, and not yet understanding the reasoning behind many of mom’s instructions).  But there’s no harm in offering a reward such as a sticker for a chart or a Jelly Belly candy once in a while.  Daddy goes to work and he is rewarded for his efforts with a pay check.  Children do their work during the day, and it’s okay for them to receive a reward for their efforts as well.

Before becoming wives and mothers most of us either worked under a good manager, or we learned to be a good manager ourselves.  We can implement many of the same principles with our own children; strategies to help them do good work, which include verbal praise and recognition, and monetary rewards as well.

Here are some posts I’ve written that go more in to the “practical how-to’s” of motivating others:
     * Incentives and Rewards for Children’s Behavior
     * Strive to Bless With, “Yes!” 

7. Have a vision

From our experience, when the Lord brought us vision for how large families can be affordable, how they can function, and how a home can be pleasant and productive rather than chaotic, then fear disappeared and hope and enthusiasm took its place.  *smile*  We need to share that vision with our children sometimes.  They can’t, of course, understand long-range vision necessarily until they’re older, but they can certainly understand the reason for doing work jobs at home, for completing their school work,

Before becoming wives and mothers we experienced people giving us a vision which then motivated us.  An employer might have said that the company needed to increase it’s sales, and resulting from that would be a nice bonus.  Woo-hoo!  We’re all over that!  *smile*  We can give children a vision for their success in doing a job well and quickly the first time, and then they have the blessing of showing off their good work to their daddy, the blessing of mom’s joy in having a clean house, and the blessing of not having to do the job twice because it was done poorly the first time.  *laugh*  *wink*  Vision is motivating.  I encourage you to use that to your advantage.

Here is a post I’ve written that go more in to the “practical how-to’s” of having a vision for our family:
     * Character Training For Children

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Here are two quotes I’d like to leave you with.  They’re about motherhood, and I loved them so much when I first read them that I printed them and framed them for our home as a reminder to myself and our daughters.

          “…Motherhood requires vision…one of the reasons why Motherhood is both the most biblically noble, and the most socially unappreciated role to which a young woman can aspire.  There are many people who ask the question: Does my life matter?  But a mother that fears the Lord need never ask such a question.  Upon her faithful obedience hinges the future of the church and the hope of the nation.” ~ Doug Phillips, former President of Vision Forum 

In 1950, the great Scottish American preacher Peter Marshall stood before the United States Senate and he explained motherhood this way:

          “The modern challenge of motherhood is the eternal challenge – that of being a godly woman.  The very phrase sounds strange in our ears.  We never hear it now.  We hear about every other kind of woman – beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career women, talented women, divorced women, but so seldom do we hear of a godly woman – or of a godly man either, for that matter.
          “I believe women come nearer fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else.  It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife than to be Miss America.  It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home than it is to produce a second-rate novel filled with filth.  It is a far, far better thing in the realm of morals to be old-fashioned than to be ultramodern.  The world has enough women who know how to hold their cocktails, who have lost all their illusions and their faith.  The world has enough women who know how to be smart.  It needs women who are willing to be simple.  The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant.  It needs some who will be brave.  The world has enough women who are popular.  It needs more who are pure.  We need women, and men, too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct.”

Blessings on your parenting efforts,

Recommended resources:
Our “Recommended Books List” on our blog home page!  *smile*