Motherhood is so complex! The first baby brings so many challenges. When that sweet one becomes a toddler, all his needs have changed, and so have your methods of caring for him. Then the next one comes, and they are completely different! The routine you had settled into, and all the “tricks” you learned are now obsolete. How can two children be so different?
We just had our fourth sweet blessing a few weeks ago. And life is ever-changing. For me, the adjustment to four is easier than three. Chaos just reigns all the time! And we are learning, and trying to lean on Jesus to make us into the parents He wants us to be as we enjoy our beautiful children.
So, here are a few things I am learning about motherhood. 🙂
1. Nobody has it all together.
I have a home schooling friend. When I first met her, I thought she was pretty near perfect. Her clothes were always nice and neat. And even though she’d just had her fourth baby, her figure was neat and trim. Her hair is shiny. She cooks from scratch a lot. She does Girl Scouts with her daughter, clean her church building, brings two of her girls to me to piano lessons. She does special projects with her daughter for the fair. She is always the least stressed in our group about home schooling and seems to always take it in stride.
I wasn’t sure I could be her friend. 😉
Fast-forward a couple years. I know her better now. I still greatly admire how she seems to “get it all done.” But I’ve seen her weaker side several times now. I know it’s not always easy. I know her kids lose their socks too. I know she sometimes loses her temper. I know she sometimes texts her husband and says she needs him to bring her some chocolate when he comes home from work.
Nobody is perfect. Nobody’s house is perfect. Nobody’s children are perfect. I need to breathe, and realize that I don’t have to be perfect, and I don’t have to appear perfect. Whew!
2. It’s all about grace.
Sometimes we know what we should do, and we just flat-out don’t do it. There are so many things I feel I should be consistently doing as a mother. I need to be training my children in character. I need to be helping them hide God’s Word in their hearts. I need to be praying for their salvation and for their growth. And although I do all these things, I fail to be consistent. I am human.
Then there’s grace. God loves my children more than I do and He gives them grace. He gives me grace to do a good job as a mother, and He gives grace when I fail.
I will never, ever be a perfect mother. That’s why it’s all about grace.
3. Ordinary days are anything but.
We all have highs and lows. A high would be like a family vacation, or big event at church. We had our fourth precious baby just a few weeks ago. We looked forward to her birth forever! It seemed that we planned everything around it, and couldn’t wait for her to come. When we finally held her in our arms, it was a definite mountain top, basking in the sunshine of God’s pure grace and goodness on our family! Highs are so refreshing, and our spirits need them from time to time.
A low would be children being sick, moving, financial struggles, stressful times that we all encounter from time to time. But those times are when we draw closer to the Lord and acquire more grace for our needs. We must have these times.
But the other 80% of life is full of ordinary days. It’s funny how perspective changes everything! If you’ve just been in the hospital with your little one for a week, an ordinary day looks amazing! But if you’ve just had a baby and that sweet experience has ended, you come home to “regular life” with piles of laundry still there. The kids still fight, they still need to eat. The cleaning still needs to be done. These are ordinary days.
But the ordinary is anything but. I love teaching my 6-year-old to read. It’s so precious to be his “teacher” and enjoy how he’s learning and how he pretends to be a tough, non-excited big guy. I love the comic my 4-year-old is when he’s playing. He is so silly, and we giggle at his expressions and raised eyebrows. I love watching my 2-year-old prance around. She literally bounces from room to room. I love snuggling my newborn, smelling that sweet baby smell. I love watching my children love their Daddy, and beg to hold their new baby sister. Yes, ordinary days are anything but.
I want a sign in my dining room that reads “Keep Calm and Enjoy Life” for it is passing me by. I get so caught up in the stress of keeping a house clean and keeping laundry done, that I forget to enjoy the sweet moments that are happening around me every single day.
4. More is “Caught Than Taught”.
Several years ago, my former pastor’s wife had a ladies’ meeting at our church. The theme was Proverbs 31 and she had a few ladies in the church share in areas where their strengths were. One sweet lady told about how she loves to cook for her family, and shared tips with how she planned big meals. Another lady’s strength was her gardening.
But I will never forget a sweet lady named Mrs. Grace, all bent over from a stroke, talking about her children. She was around 76 at this time. She is a wonderful mother and grandmother. All her grown children and grown grandchildren are faithful in church. Mrs. Grace had mostly raised her children alone, as her husband was in the Navy and not present in the home all the time.
But her testimony of “how to raise children”? I will never forget as she told us “It was a lot of prayer.” That was basically all she said.
How does that work? I need a checklist of do’s and don’ts to be a good mother. Prayer seems so simple.
I believe it works like this: Yes, motherhood is a lot of work. But prayer transforms us. How many times have we heard that phrase? More is caught than taught. As we spend with the Father, He changes us. Children become so much of what we are. So, become the woman God wants you to be, and you will be the mother God wants you to be. Prayer and God’s Word does that.
There is so much I am always learning.
What are some things you are learning about motherhood? Please share!