The following is an excerpt from my interview with Loyla Louvis on my podcast, “You’ve Got This.”
Loyla is dedicated to eliminating frustration in the parenting journey by customizing solutions to fit the uniqueness of each child within the family so that a mom can better enjoy the day-to-day of life. Loyla is triple certified with the American Association of Christian Counselors and founder of Mothers In Training based out of Montclair, N.J. She conducts one-to-one sessions, provides workshops, parenting classes, and is a columnist for The Montclair Local News. As a mother of four children, experienced with single parenting, remarriage, home education, mentoring and teaching, Loyla has compassion and understanding that personal experience alone provides.
What kind of changes do we experience as moms?
Loyla: When you start your family, you need a long-term vision, then it all sort of makes sense. You understand there is going to be transitions, peaks and valleys, and that there is an exit plan at the end of it. That reality kind of helps you prepare for the transitions in the motherhood journey.
I love that you talk about having an exit strategy with your kids. Motherhood changes from one season of parenting to the next.
Loyla: Whenever you have organization in your mind, life just gets easier automatically. I love that idea in parenting because it is so complex and it is so exhausting—it can get crazy sometimes! To be able to organize the whole journey starting with the early years, when you are nurturing and you are pouring into the foundation of who your child is and discovering who they are as a person, then it can make such a difference. Then moving on into the years of experimenting with “How does what I am fit with the rest of the family and then with society?” Unpacking what that looks like in the middle years, then moving on to the high school years where the teen starts to think about “What do I let go of?” Finally, stepping into full adulthood where you have explored your foundation, you have been graced with values resonate with you, that your family gave you, and then having a completely unique relationship as peer to peer with your parents. That in a nutshell is the journey and the seasons that I see. If you don’t understand the changes in motherhood, you are going to sabotage the season you’re in by trying to carry into a new season something that only worked in the last one.
Or what I’ve found too is that sometimes, when your kids hit the teen years, all of the sudden, you’re like, wait a minute, they are going to be leaving. Are they ready for this? And so, we start holding on tighter and acting like they are in the toddler stage. That’s what causes a lot of unnecessary friction between moms and their teens.
Loyla: I have often found myself telling a mom, “Let your child do X.” Let your toddler do as much as they can do. Don’t do so much for them. When you allow your child to do what they can do, you are in a nonverbal way saying, “I find you to be competent and capable and valuable member of our family.” That is so empowering and it is a beautiful mindset that really helps a mom transition from one season to the next.
Part of the hesitation to let our kids do for themselves is that it can be more time consuming and create more messes in our life. So many times, when my kids were little, I had to stop myself and say, “Yeah, my three-year-old can pour her own cereal” because she is going to make a little bit more of a mess doing so. She is not going to make a mess forever. It’s just going to be temporary messes.
Loyla: I kind of see it in my mind as training, tried, trust, transition. That happens over and over again at every stage – train, try, trust, transition. When you have to clean up the spill or you have to come back behind your child and redo something maybe later on that needs to be redone, you have a better vision in your head of what this whole thing looks like.
Loyla: We need to remind moms that there’s no comparison to other moms. That is so toxic to compare yourself and your family to your next-door neighbor or somebody else. We are all a hybrid combination. No two people come together with the same history, perspective, or coping mechanisms for life, so you put those two unique pieces together, and then add children to the mix, and it is going to be unique every single time. It’s not supposed to be a cookie-cutter household.
You have to consider what is the essential over what is important. You as an individual have to establish what it looks like for yourself, and then own it because if you don’t, you are going to add the additional frustration and rules, and constructions, and life is not going to be enjoyable once you start living by everybody else’s value system.
And we should enjoy our kids. Our kids are hilarious—they do funny things. They have unique outlooks in life, and when we are so focused on the things that don’t fit our family, it can just up that frustration so much.
Loyla: Kids are just so creative, imaginative, and so funny. Honestly we should try to just go along for the journey and enjoy the ride, and let them be who they are, and just cultivate that and turn that to bring out their best characteristics. What a privilege as a mother to be able to have that opportunity.
We do need to watch how we talk about other moms and other situations, and other families. We do need to be careful that we are not being judgmental because no matter what your family looks like, we are really all in this together. We want to raise our kids the best way we can.
Loyla: As a homeschooling mom, I’m passionate about customizing education, so that our children can continue to learn throughout the years. The seasons go by so quickly. Like someone said: The days are long, but the years are short.
We as parents can sometimes feel pressure to conform to what everyone else is doing too. It’s hard sometimes to do what you fully feels right for your family even when you are out of step with what the majority of other parents are doing.
To hear more great advice and stories from Loyla, listen to “The Changing Roles of Motherhood” on the “You’ve Got This” podcast.