Fourth P: Parents

Frustration with Not-So-Perfect-Rule

Dear Holly,I wrote to you a few months ago, as I was making the transition to having three children 3 and under! I took your beautiful advice, and things have been going fairly well. At least I have some basic things set up: my prayer time, morning chores, family prayer … I still don’t feel like our day has a very nice flow, which gets me frustrated. I want things to flow naturally, one after the other, but sometimes, things take a little longer to accomplish, or I have to feed the baby, and then I lose the other two children completely. At this point, “Can we watch …?” often creeps in, and I don’t have a very quick response. I don’t mind them watching a video here and there, but I want to set the time, not... read more

Culture Shock

Dear Holly,I LOVE MROL…thank you for taking the time from your busy mother’s life to provide it to me and others. I recently became a full-time stay-at-home mother. I worked 4 days/week for 19 yrs. I have four children 13, 7, 3 & 6 months. I am truly blessed to be able to stay home and know it is God’s will for me, therefore I am truly happy to be doing His will. My oldest two children are in school during the day, but I’m having a very difficult time with my 3 y.o. Our personalities clash terribly – I say black, he says “NO”. I say please, he says “NO”. I say anything, he says “NO”. Spanking does not phase him; time outs make him scream & wake the baby. I’ve become so angry at times I just want him to go away. We both try to hug and say sorry and start over, but this “clashing” seems to happen a few times a day. I pray to St. Therese of the Child Jesus (my 3 y.o. was born on her feast day), asking her how to help me love him, usually by saying…”St. Therese…send me graces…NOW!” SInce I nurse the baby, I don’t get my morning prayer time in, but usually complete a rosary daily throughout nursing times, as well as a morning offering. Every other week for one hour, my husband and I go to our local adoration chapel – I don’t know what I’d do without this time alone with Jesus, it’s my saving grace. Some days I feel like I’m barely afloat – mentally,... read more

New Baby, No Rule, and A Seemingly Losing Battle

Dear Holly,I must thank you for being open to God’s grace in writing this book. I cannot express in words how inspiring it is for me. I am so excited to get started on my rule, and I have started a little on the first P: Prayer. But unfortunately, that little start is really, really small, and I don’t see it growing in the near future. 🙁 We have two children, a 2 year old and a 4 month old. I am struggling to get the 4 month old on any sort of a schedule right now. He is very clingy and needs to be held to get to sleep during the day, and he sleeps a lot – only a couple of 30 minute intervals during the day where I don’t have to hold him. While I have a good baby carrier that I can use, he doesn’t sleep for very long while in it. The best way he sleeps is if I am holding him using my two arms, and then I can rarely put him down without waking him. I am feeling so much guilt because I am neglecting my 2 year old, my house, my husband and myself. I am feeling much guilt also because I feel like I enabled this behavior in my 4 month old, and now it is disrupting the entire family balance. I have read many sleep books from one extreme to the other. Despite thinking that most of the techniques I read about were junk, I tried many of them, but without success. In addition to all of this, for... read more

Parenting Styles & "Order" for All & Baby Steps

Dear Holly,I just want to share for moms who tend toward nursing at night and babies in bed! After much prayer and trial and error, (for I had such a pull both to do the rule, for the thought of it is pure beauty, AND such a pull to still nurse the baby in my bed because it works so well for my family)… I just want to share that finally I listened enough to the Lord and to Our Lady…”Start simply!” You’ve said this over and over, but it never clicked! I never even made sure that we all got up at the same time and ate at the same time, etc. But once I started to do this, my dear son has begun to take a 3 hour nap (!) at around the same time in the pm. So here the Lord has blessed me with this time I have been begging for, but never putting the effort forth because frankly, it seemed too simple!! 🙂 I just have to share for those moms who feel like they can’t find order because they parent the way I do. But I can tell you, “simple tiny baby steps will be blessed”. Now I’m sure there will be more work coming, but it was such a beautiful week this week-and I have been able to pray more, spend time with my 3 year old-I didn’t jump to trying to figure out what chores to do b/c I think I’m learning that the baby step thing is CRUCIAL to my will not protesting the whole Rule/routine thing that I am... read more

Mother Requests Input from Other Moms

Dear Holly,I am a former elementary school teacher with 3 pre-school age children at home. We’re not homeschooling yet because they are too young but that is our plan for the future. I think I need to create order and “flow” in our day NOW so it will be easier to homeschool as our family grows. My ideal would be to create a schedule that has time for reading aloud, playing with Mom, playing without Mom, clean-up times and prayer times. I would also like to make a list of the activities we have in the house for the kids to pick from during certain play times (much like in a Kindergarten class where the children know that it is dress-up time, kitchen time, etc). I find that when it is time for Mom to make dinner and for the kids to play freely, they wander from room to room, pulling out all the toys and games, making a mess and not really playing with anything. I would love to hear if anyone else has made a schedule like this. I’m trying to balance keeping a clean house (which is very important to me), spending plenty of quality time with the kids and still having my own time to work on projects, read,... read more

Needs a Basic Orientation to Life

Dear Holly,My husband and I are parents of three beautiful boys (7,5,3) and would love to have another child. I am having, and have had for a long time, that longing for another child. He does, too. Our problem is that we are caught between the realities of having another child in a very dangerous, spiritually bankrupt and expensive world (we live in Washington, DC) and just going with our feelings and trying to have another. I am 38, so there are no guarantees. We have high expectations of providing for our children both in money and time and don’t want to “get greedy” in wanting what we want (another child -not material stuff) rather than providing for the three blessings that we already have. My question: How do you know if the Lord is telling you to do the best with what you have or to continue to have children? Maybe the Lord is telling me that three is all I can handle. Sometimes I feel that... read more

When the Rules Don't Apply…

Dear Holly,I have a 3 year old autistic son, and it has been overwhelming, to all of us, and our 6 year old is handling it as well as can be expected, but she doesn’t totally understand. I guess my question is, how do rules apply to children that seem to not fit into the rules category . . . my son doesn’t sleep through the night, even now I am risking being tired because he will be up soon and I just have to get some things done! He monopolizes my time when I am home all day, which is why I am a stay at home mom, but even walking out of the room creates havoc in his world . . . . I am frustrated to say the least, and then feel guilty when I want to do something for me (like the shower I am going to take after answering your email ) . . . . and then my 6 year old isn’t understanding the amount of time we have to devote to her special needs brother . . . . maybe sending up a prayer for me is all I am really looking for (sigh) . .... read more

Struggling With Babies at Mass

Dear Holly,I’m having a real conflict right now about the attendance of Mass and little children. I always believed that it was important, and set a good precedent, to have a family attend Mass together. Right now we have a little 10 month old who is seriously questioning that for me. When I bring him with me, my level of participation is so low as I’m constantly trying to entertain him and/or keep him quiet (the Church where we’re attending right now doesn’t have a cry room). Another factor is that he is such a distraction to other people around us, as they end up looking at ‘the cute baby’ and saying hi to him instead of concentrating on the Mass. In this situation, would you recommend switching off with your husband and going to Mass at separate times while the other stays home with the baby, or do you think it’s better to try and make it work... read more

Room For Kids' Sports?

Dear Holly, One thing where I could save money and time, would be to reduce the kids’ activities (my sons play ice hockey and soccer, and daughter plays ringette). They cost a lot, and take a lot of time too. Actually that was another question I wanted to ask from you… Your view on these kind of activities. Do you think they are basically a waste of time and effort? Especially my 10-year old son is quite talented and loves his sports activities. I don’t think I would ever have the heart to say to him that he has to stop, unless he loses interest at some point. At the moment I’ve at least managed to reduce the time needed from me/my husband to drive them to the ice rink by taking turns with some other... read more

A Mother's Rule and Children's Homework

Dear Holly,Thank you for your book! What a gift! My husband and I have been blessed with 6 children. (13,12,10,8,4&3). Our 4 older ones go to our parish school. I desire to home school. God has not yet opened those doors for our family. God placed your book on my heart months ago. This past four weeks I have been working on putting together our family rule. My family has been receptive. My question is what are your thoughts on home work time. Two of my children have “learning differences”. They have A.D.D. and are dyslexic. Great kids, but school is hard for them. After school time is crazy. Sometimes there are 2 hours of homework. I work on having older ones help younger ones. Because of impulse control issues, I use our kitchen area for the school work. We limit outside activities. School work is best done before dinner. I am trying to have 6:30-8:00 family/rosary time. The kids are home at 3:00. This time of the day is so stressful. The teachers are good, but their hands are tied because of the size of the classes (18-20 kids). I need some help to bring peace to after school time with my family and create a learning environment. I will add that as a mom, I struggle with the idea of my children needing some down time after school and the amount of work they are expected to do after school hours. My hands are tied in regards to home schooling. I must remain positive. Any wisdom that you or other schooled moms may have to... read more
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