Build healthy relationships with extended family members. Manage your relationships with in-laws, grandparents, cousins, and other extended family members so they’ll feel like blessings and not burdens. Set healthy boundaries to protect your immediate family’s routine and traditions while still keeping up with the lives of other family members when you can. Help your children learn about their family heritage by encouraging family members from both sides to share family stories and write them down or record them. Take lots of family photos and preserve them. Travel to sites that are important in your family’s history. Pray regularly for your extended family members and invite them to pray for your children.

Invest in your marriage. You and your spouse need to keep meeting each other’s desires for fun and togetherness even while handling the demands of parenting young children, or tension will result that will damage your marriage. Don’t neglect enjoying regular dates together. Make sure that you’re participating in a healthy church together. Communicate often about your schedules to stay in sync, and ask each other for help with the children, chores, or errands when you each need it so neither one of you becomes overwhelmed with stress. 

Develop some close friendships. Make the time to build a few close friendships in which you all give each other grace and support, encourage, and pray for each other regularly. Keep in mind that many of the other parents of young children you meet may be lonely. Take the initiative to invite them to spend time with you.

Keep growing in your faith. Even during this busy parenting season, your top priority should be your relationship with God, rather than your children. Keep in mind that a strong relationship with God will empower you to be the best parent you could possibly be for your children. Participate actively in a healthy church. Devote time regularly to spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible reading and reflection.

Adapted from Mom Connection: Creating Vibrant Relationships in the Midst of Motherhood, copyright 2012 by Tracey Bianchi. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.revellbooks.com.  

Tracey Bianchi is a hyper, over-caffeinated mother of three who is camped out in the Chicago suburbs with her husband Joel and, sometimes, a goldfish. She does freelance writing and speaking for a wide variety of nationally recognized organizations. She also serves as the Pastor for Women at Christ Church of Oak Brook. You can catch her musings and find out more about her other books and projects at www.traceybianchi.com.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles, at: http://angels.about.com/. Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer. 

Publication date: August 3, 2012