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Friday, June 6, 2008

Lady of Wisdom Interview - Cathy Bowman

Cathy is the mother of two grown daughters and the wife of Dave, the acting regional director of the Navigators ministry. Cathy and Dave are also staff training coaches of the North East Division of the Navigators.

Sarah: Why did you choose to be a stay-at-home mom?

Cathy: I wanted to be with my kids. I wanted them to not have to be away from home all day. I wanted to help them have "a sense of well-being" that a child gets from being with their mother.

Sarah: What kinds of things did you do to train your children in the Lord?

Cathy: We started reading a children's Bible with beautiful pictures every night before bed and we took them to Sunday school and church and talked about God and prayed throughout the day.

Sarah: What are some "tools" in your tool kit of parenting that have worked for you?

Cathy: I think some of the things we did for disciplining worked well. If the kids lied, disobeyed, or ran into the street they would get spanked. If they disobeyed, we would say, "are you choosing to disobey?" If they did, I would say, "you have taken away my choice so I have to discipline you. We are responsible for you and you have to learn to obey God and us." I would take them to a private place to spank, explain what they did wrong and why I was doing this, and then when it was over, I would say, "I love you and forgive you."
I tried not to have a lot of "no’s" in their world, I liked distracting them instead.

Some other disciplining tools we used were consequences - taking away their favorite things. We also did time-outs if they had tantrums. I would put them in a pack and play until they could be happy for five minutes. I’d say, "you are socially unacceptable, go get some self-control and you can come back into society." :) Don’t start the five minutes until they start being positive.

I think the "funnel" approach worked pretty well for us as well. The shape of a funnel starts out very small at the bottom but gets wider the farther up you go. When our kids were little, we had more control, but as they got older we gave them more control and decision making.

As for modesty, when the girls were in Jr. High School we started giving them a clothing allowance (it started small, $150/year). They could buy what they wanted but it had to pass the "daddy test." Whatever they bought had to go through Dave. This way we avoided the power struggle between mother and daughter.

Also, ask forgiveness from your child (I had to do it very often.)

Sarah: What would you do over if you could?

Cathy: I would have been perfect. Ha ha!

Sarah: Did you have family worship/devotion time? If so, how did you do this?

Cathy: Yes, since Dave was on campus in the evening, I usually read the Bible and we prayed. Dave would have what we called "wisdom searches" in Psalms with the girls in the morning. He would read the Bible and they would have paper and pencil and would try to draw what He read. Then we made them into a book folder for them to have. Both girls loved to draw and this held their attention better. We would pray together and throughout the day when needing too.

Once they got in junior high and high school though and the schedule got busier, we didn't have family devotion times as often. This is something I wish we could do over.

Sarah: Any advice for stay-at-home moms who feel like they've lost themselves as women?
("I feel like I'm only a mom" etc.)

Cathy: Fight the lie and don't feed it. It is a privilege and the most important "job" ever. Be around others who have similar values. Your children are the ones God wants you to disciple the most.

Sarah: How did you make time for your husband when you were exhausted with little ones?

Cathy: By keeping priorities. God first, Dave next, then the kids. The best thing I can do for the kids is to love their dad and let them feel the security of our bond. We did lunch dates if the schedule allowed. I am still too tired most of the time to enjoy night dates as much as lunch ones. Have a regular date time.... a time when you know you have the full attention of each other and can really talk.

Sarah: What is the greatest thing you've learned in how to be a good wife?

Cathy: To choose to let him be and to let Dave know that "he is enough for me". Men struggle with feeling that they are not enough. I want to be a refuge and place where he can experience freedom and grace. I am to be his biggest fan.

Sarah: What is your favorite "cheap" date?

Cathy: We (still) use coupons (buy 1, get 1 free) all the time. Also, we love to walk and talk and pray.

Sarah: If you could only pass on one piece of wisdom for young wives and moms, what would it be?

Cathy: Deal with and repent of your own "core lies" so you don't demand from and damage your child as much. To determine your "core lies," watch for things that make you angry, anxious, or depressed. The core lies are usually under there. Whatever goals we’ve created because of our core lies have to go. For me, I wanted everyone to think I was a good mom. I had to let go of what other people thought of me because it was affecting how I dealt with my girls.

Also memorize and believe Psalm 27:10 (the version I memorized, I think, was King James): "When my father and my mother fail me, the LORD will take me up." (It doesn't say "if" ). You will fail and God loves them more than you and sees all. They need their own personal relationship with the Father who will not fail.

Sarah: Thank you so much! I have learned so much from you and am truly grateful to God for your presence in my life.


Lisa said...

This is a great interview! She has a lot of good advice.

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