You never know what really goes on behind closed doors. I remember hearing those words when I was growing up and started spending time with friends in their homes only to discover their family life wasn’t the way I pictured it to be. Sure, there were a lot of sibling squabbles in my home, but there was also a lot of love and laughter. And that’s what I wanted to create for my own home and my own family. Joanne Miller has not only created a sanctuary in her home, but she has also taught other women to do the same thing. She graciously offered to share her tips with us here as she talks about her new book, Creating a Haven of Peace: When You’re Feeling Down, Finances are Flat and Tempers are Rising.
Oh, and if this little interview piques your interest, please join us for an in depth audio interview as Joanne shares some of her real, raw stories and tells us what goes on behind closed doors of her home! Click here to listen to the interview.
Q: Most busy moms would not describe their lives as peaceful — in fact, it’s a bit chaotic at times! What does it mean to create a haven of peace?
A: Let me be clear on the point that creating a peaceful Sanctuary doesn’t mean you live in a monastery. Kids are loud, life can get crazy, and tempers can get out of hand. That’s life. And it is definitely the life of a home with children. What makes a home a Sanctuary is that, in spite of the noise, the mess, the chaos, there is a spirit of peace and unconditional love. A spirit of adventure and a positive culture that embraces life to the fullest without judgment and conditions. A place where those who reside feel loved and safe no matter what happens. There are many small steps one can take to make the home a place of Sanctuary for the family without breaking the bank or creating extra stress and strain. Simple ideas and examples which I cover in the book.
Q. Why did you write this book and who did you write it for?
A: Creating a Haven of Peace is a compilation of stories and articles I have written through the years for my own need to get my thoughts on paper. I love to write and I hope my message is one that ministers to the needs of others. I began to put this book together when my husband, Dan (www.48Days.com), and I started receiving as many questions about our family, our marriage and relationships as we were getting about business and career issues. People are hungry for strong and healthy relationships. When I was a young wife and mother, I looked for mentors to help me grow and teach me how to be better than average. Now I am honored to give back decades of gathered and applied knowledge to others who are seeking.
Join Me for a Live Audio Interview With Joanne Miller
Q: One of the challenges of being a mompreneur is the feeling of being overwhelmed with too much to do. We also tend to feel lost without any support from others. What advice do you have for those of us who are feeling overwhelmed and lost?
A: Quite frequently young mothers neglect themselves thinking it is best to always put their children first. When a mother becomes so preoccupied with childrearing that she totally neglects herself, convincing herself that is the noble and right thing to do, the result is often a breakdown in some form or fashion. Exhaustion, low self image, resentment, disrespect, illness, and the list goes on. Children need to respect that parents have their own lives, individually and as a couple. I think this is vitally important to remember. When the home is controlled by the children, a strong sense of entitlement can occur and the symptoms of a very unhealthy home life begin to emerge. Couples become distant with one another, children do not learn to respect that parents have rights and privileges apart from them, and parents begin to feel they have totally lost control. We always said our home was a “Benevolent Dictatorship” and our children could not out-vote or overrule us.
When I had small children, Homemakers clubs were popular and I always looked forward to those outings. Today’s young mother creates play-dates for their children and can socialize and learn from other mothers. There is no excuse for never taking a break from your children. Exchange babysitting with a friend, ask a trusted family member or friend to give you some relief at least once or twice a month. Make sure you keep date night with your partner a high priority. And for heaven’s sake put those kids to bed at an early hour so you can have time to get your wits together and cuddle with your honey. Kids grow up with a great deal of entitlement these days because young parents are not strict enough with boundaries for themselves.
Q: For moms who work from home, how to you suggest we create a haven of peace that provides a balance between work and family?
A: That’s a tricky issue. There has to be help in some form or fashion. A nanny, an assistant, a friend or family member who can help with watching the children. Our daughter works for us part-time and also does her own coaching and blogging. In order to make it work for her, she finally had to concede she needed help. She looked for someone who could tutor her home-schooled children so they are learning in the process. It works out well. Ashley knows that at least two days a week she has a concentrated time block she can devote to her outside work or just take a break for herself if needed. I realize that option is not affordable for everyone. It wasn’t affordable for us as a young entrepreneurial family years ago. As soon as our kids were old enough to fold newsletters and lick a stamp or count books, we put them to work helping us in our various business endeavors. Involving your children in your entrepreneurial efforts gives them a strong sense of unity and teaches them valuable business principles. It takes concentrated effort and a lot of training to teach children to respect you and what you do. And it is so worth the effort. When children are of school age and are gone for six hours or more a day, a parent has far more freedom to conduct a home-based business but it doesn’t have to be delayed till then. Toddlers need quiet times, naps, early bedtimes and play time with other children (Mother’s Day Out programs, etc). There are so many options available to today’s young mother.
Q: We have lots of empty nesters in the International Christian Mompreneur Network! What are some of the action steps you suggest for moms who are looking to regain their identity or rekindle lost dreams?
A: This question is near to my heart. When I turned 50 I had a meltdown. Facing empty nest and some very heavy health issues (a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis) put me in a tailspin. I felt I had gotten fired from my job. Let me assure you…Once a Mom, always a Mom! That doesn’t go away. It does, however, change. Through some introspection, a bit of counseling and a lot of determination, I decided it was time for me to regroup; to take a fresh assessment of what I could do and wanted to do. That took awhile. The first thing I did was take an art class. It was totally random and I had never done anything like it before. I ended up staying in that art class for over twelve years. It was very hard at first but I kept at it. I felt I needed that discipline and it unleashed so many unexplored places in my life. From age 50 to 67 have been extremely productive and rewarding for me. I have won awards for and sold my art, written several published books and a children’s series. I speak, teach art classes and, quite literally, have created a new me. It has been exhilarating and so much fun. I have learned to play all over again. I love to encourage empty nesters to search for what is inside them they haven’t had time to explore before or they have stored on a shelf for the “someday” that has finally arrived. Take a class, a trip abroad, do something that stimulates your thinking and becomes a great adventure. You have earned it!