Motherhood: Knowing How to Pick Your Battles

Welcome to Moms’ Month on Dr. Stephanie! This month I will be featuring guest posts from some awesome moms around the country.  They will be sharing tips, tricks, and funny stories about motherhood.  This will be a fun celebration – thanks for joining us!  Today’s author is Jinnie Smith.  Welcome, Jinnie!

My name is Jinnie Smith.  I am the mother of Hannah, 30 and Megan, 27. BA in Political Science from University of Minnesota; Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis. Lived in Minnesota for 25 years where I froze every winter but look younger than I am as a result. I have lived in Indianapolis since 1997, where I am an Elder and currently serving as a Deacon at Northminster Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis.

Being Hannah and Megan’s mom crystalizes the word ‘joy’ for me.  The memories of their growing up years are filled with humor, frustration, and the astonishing moments when they say or do something that knocks your socks off. Hannah, with tears streaming down her face, talking about a doll she found during clean-up in the aftermath of a hurricane.  A phone call on my birthday from Megan and the youth group on a work trip in New Mexico. They all sang “Happy Birthday” together on the phone.

The best thing about being their mom right now is seeing the remarkable young women they have become. They are strong, intelligent and beautiful. Hannah campaigned actively for Obama in 2008 in some of the worst neighborhoods of Detroit. Megan is an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights, especially in our church. They are also 2 of the funniest people I have ever known.

When my husband was ill and dying, they both came home periodically and stayed for a week. I remember watching Hannah help Ron walk into the kitchen and teasing him about wanting to hold her hand. And Megan sobbing at his bedside when he was dying. He was in a coma and she thought no one was watching.

I have 2 pieces of advice that served me well as a mom.

1. Catch them being good! Acknowledge their positive behavior. Take advantage of teachable moments and help them learn from their poor decisions.

2. Pick your battles and be sure the ones you pick are the ones you have to win. If it is not morally, physically or legally threatening it might not be worth fighting about. I used to sit and watch MTV with the girls rather than forbidding it. I also commented on the videos and it paid off later in their words and actions. Megan told a boyfriend there was nothing funny about saying he was going to kick her butt. She sent him home. He later apologized.

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