Listen up, young moms, this is for you! I sit here today writing this, just days away from it being my last Mother’s Day with children living in our home. Our baby has grown up and is about to fly. I’ve been at this motherhood gig for almost 3 decades now. I think about our oldest daughter who is doing such a phenomenal job at raising our first grandchild but how often she needs a cheerleader.
I remember being exhausted beyond comprehension. One more episode of Barney, Thomas the Tank Engine, Teletubbies or Gullah Gullah Island, please, just so I can remember what it feels like to close my eyes. I remember in later years being shocked and grateful that I had pictures of me smiling because I honestly didn’t remember smiling much in that particular season. I remember flying blind most days and wondering if I was totally screwing up my kids. I also remember being so in love (as I still am) with the incredible blessing of getting to be a mom. I am so often in awe that God allowed me to get to be a part of the lives of our three amazing children.
So, in the vein of these treasured memories, I thought I might encourage you to do, or not do, a few things as you run YOUR race. I’m imagining you sitting across from me. We have a warm cup of coffee or tea and we’re chatting about all the things. I look into your eyes straight down to your love-worn heart. You are eagerly listening to see if 1) I really know what I’m talking about, and 2) If there’s one ounce of hope in my words that will help get you through one more exhausting day.
I hope I convince and inspire you that I do know and that there is hope enough for you.
Dear Young Mom,
Don’t quit. You can do it. Really. Many have gone before you and survived. I find it so incredibly amazing how resilient the mother’s heart is and how seemingly limitless our energy supply is. Even when we think we’re utterly depleted, we somehow come up with one more ounce of energy that propels us toward that one more load of laundry.
Remember that the good days > bad days. The bad days are fewer than the good days. The bad days just scream louder. On those bad days, remember that “This too shall pass.”. One day soon, maybe even tomorrow, you will have a really good day and possibly several in a row. All will be well.
Ask for help. Please, oh please, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Step out of your situation and think about what you would tell someone else to do if they were in your shoes. Then do that! Maybe you ask your husband, maybe a friend or maybe you hire someone. Think outside the box. There is zero shame in needing help.
Show your heart to your children. Within reason, of course, but moms, our kids desperately need to know we’re human. It’s not like they can’t see what’s going on in your life. They take in much more than we think they do. I wanted to show them that I was real. That I had a heart. That I made mistakes and apologized for them. That I cried when I was sad and that I danced when I was happy. It’s important to show our children, again, within reason, how to respond and react to what life offers us, or sometimes throws at us.
Don’t compare. Other moms will do it differently. Everyone has different priorities. What you need to remember is that you don’t see the full story of their lives and they don’t see the full story of yours. Don’t compare. Comparison is the thief of joy and the sucker of energy. Invest this time in something better. Like cuddling.
Brag! Please, oh please, brag on your kids. Gush. Celebrate their goodness. Do it where they can see it or hear it. Ignore those who try to make you feel shame. Brag, mommas, brag! We need to stop all this craziness of being upset when other moms are proud of their kids. Please be proud of your kids! Mom pride is a good pride.
Take pictures. And when your kids balk, take them anyway. No guilt. No shame. No apologies. Take pictures. You will be glad you did. Your kids will be glad you did! Tell them that if they’ll smile it’ll be over with more quickly.
Stick to your guns. I’m not exactly where that phrase came from but it means to be consistent with your follow through. There will be those who tell you to loosen up, lighten up, let your kids have fun. But hear me when I say, you will be glad that you didn’t listen. In this season, we are their parents, not their buddies. The blessing is that when we go through the parenting years, we then get to be their buddies. The payoff is grand!
Watch older respected moms. One time (among many) when I was trying to lose weight, one of the tips I was told was to watch how skinny people ate. It was rather eye opening. When my kids were young, I watched what other moms did. I would take notes of what I did and didn’t want to do or be like as a mom. I encourage you, young mom, to find a couple of older respected moms to watch. Note how their kids have turned out. How is their relationship with their children? Even go so far as to ask them for wisdom.
Rest in His Grace. When you get to the end of parenting (not motherhood, because being a mom never ends), you will look back and wonder if you worked hard enough and loved enough. I’m here to tell you that you won’t. But I also want you to hear me say how true it is that grace covers. Because God is enough, He loves enough. His grace covers you as well as your children. Rest in the knowledge that He will fill all the nooks and crannies of parenthood that we miss. He’s got this. He’s got you!
I could go on and on for days because my heart longs to encourage yours but, alas, my word count has far exceeded that which any respectable blogger would ask of a reader. I will close this with the encouragement that one day you won’t have to parent and you can sit back and enjoy being a mom. It’s a pretty sweet deal if I do say so myself.
Happy Mother’s Day!! I hope and pray you feel loved and celebrated.
Grab your cup of coffee or tea (and warm it up again) and feel free to comment with other words of encouragement or questions that will continue the conversation. I’m not ready for this to be over. Visit the Empty Plate.Full Heart Facebook page and let’s chat there if that would be easier for you.
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:22-25 NIV