I’ve been blessed to be a mom for 25 years. I’ve mothered quite poorly in many areas and for many years, but every now and then I would look brilliant–for a moment. I like to think those moments made up for the not-so-brilliant ones.
How anyone makes it through this parenting phase with no instructions is a God-thing. The nurse hands you this tiny, fragile human being with no step-by-step directions and all of a sudden you are responsible for him or her the next 20+ years. It’s both exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Just when you think you have it figured out, they age up and you go down in the learning curve–again.
Whenever Mother’s Day comes around, my mind flashes back like an old VHS tape, and I see my adult kids as children. I remember all the diapers changed, meals cooked, parties thrown, clothes laundered, miles chauffeured, pennies pinched, tears cried and laughs shared. Then I wonder, how did the time fly so swiftly?
With only one left in college, I thought I’d share a few things I did right over those years and the multitude of things I wish I’d done differently. This is for all you young or soon-to-be moms.
Things I’d wish I had done differently:
- Discerned what is age-appropriate behavior versus true rebellion.
- Prayed more and worried less.
- Taught less and lived my faith more.
- Asked more questions of my kids to help them think through their thoughts and problems before I gave advice too quickly.
- Spent more time and money on experiences than on things that get taken to Goodwill in a year’s time.
- Parented out of God’s grace rather than my hurt and been more aware of my child’s hurt and dealt with it instead of thinking it would go away.
- Learned to let go little by little instead of painful chunks at a time.
- Extended more grace than criticism.
- Enjoyed each stage of their childhood rather than wanting to fast forward to the next phase.
- Stopped putting so much emphasis on my children’s intellectual and physical well-being but cared about the whole child including morally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Stepped up my culinary skills so I could have served dishes more inspiring than cereal in the morning, turkey sandwiches for lunch, and Ragu and spaghetti for dinner. (I can hear three Amens to this one.)
- Not compared myself to other moms and wallowed in how inadequate I was.
Things I’m glad I did:
- Stayed home and played mom for many years. Even when money was tight or I was seen in public with baby spit-up down the front of my top, the sacrifices were worth it.
- Joined a Moms in Prayer group. I’m thankful for all the women who prayed for my kids and the kids I was honored to pray for. I learned through prayer that I could trust God to work through and in my children even when my parenting skills lacked or the situation was out of my control.
- Learned through Bible study. Joy of the Lord, Living Proof, Going Beyond Ministries, and Bible Study Fellowship are the different ministries that have fed me spiritually. I’ve feasted at the banquet tables of gifted Bible teachers for many years. I believe I was a better mom because of these studies and teachers.
- Parented with my spouse of 27 years. (Bless all you single parents!)
- Told my kids I love you and hugged them.
I want to be tender hearted towards those who see devastation, grief or maybe nothing at all in the rearview mirror. I have not walked your shoes. But I offer you Jesus. I offer my prayer for you that You may find Him. That you may know He sees your pain. He, too, experienced loss and hurt. He will walk alongside you if you will let Him. He can heal the broken places and turn your weeping to gladness.
Know that God’s plan for you is not finished. This day does not define who you are or are not. Seek Him. He’s waiting to take you into His arms and comfort you.
For the rest of you Moms – enjoy your day – and know that this mommy vocation is a worthy one.