With Mother’s Day around the corner, I’ve been reflecting a lot on what it’s been like being a momma. First of all…I LOVE being a mom! It’s literally a dream come true for me, and I cherish every moment of it. Tanner and I were talking the other day and he said to me, “You know I never hear you complain about being a mom or get upset about it when things don’t go as planned, you genuinely love raising our children.” That was one of the sweetest compliments he has ever given me! I think my smile was as big as it could get! I do adore my babies, and will admit that I see them as a complete blessing in my life. They have never been, and never will be a burden to me. They’re my joy and my delight…even on the hard days they are a treasure! But I’m not perfect, and much of this journey has been trial and error (with prayer!) as I navigate the beautiful gift of motherhood. So today I’m going to be sharing some of the most impactful things I have learned as a mom so far.
- Give yourself grace. Sometimes us moms are way too hard on ourselves! I know for me I am prone to criticize what I need to do “better” and all the ways I should’ve handled “that” differently. Just like our kids are a work in progress, we are too. We are always going to be growing and maturing, so keep your chin up. You got this momma bear. Just let God lead you, and give yourself grace.
- Notice what your kids do right, and let them KNOW. I can’t stress this enough. Once your babies become toddlers, it can be easy to spend your day going, “Don’t touch that.” “Don’t do that.” “No.” And then neglect the things they do that are good. So whenever I notice Haven playing nicely, I tell her. If she gives Kaid a gentle kiss and hug (trust me when I say sometimes her affection is a little more like rough housing haha) I tell her she’s a loving sister and her brother looks up to her. I pray for eyes to SEE the good she does, and I do my best to acknowledge the beautiful person she is becoming. Because my goodness this little girl is amazing! And believe me, encouragement goes a long way. She loves when I compliment her! Who doesn’t love knowing their parent is proud of them?! 🙂
- Get off your phone. Look up. In this crazy social media world, it can be easy to have our eyes glued to our phones and miss out on quality time with our kids. Remember kids are little for only a short while, so cherish them. Soak up your time with them! They are a gift, and they are desperate for your attention, your affirmation, and your presence in their life. So do what you have to do to give them your full attention. Put the phone down, and tuck it away, because reality is…it can wait.
- Hug and kiss your babies as often as you can. Goodness I don’t think anyone would need to encourage me to do this because I honestly don’t think I can help it! It’s like second nature to me. If my child is near, I hug or kiss them almost instantly. And now that Haven is bigger, she often runs up to me and gives me a big ol’ bear hug. It makes my momma heart just beam! Our children need those snuggles and hugs and kisses. My husband Tanner and I used to say we surely must have kissed them a million times by now! Haven loves affection so much that she often says “more” (and also signs it…it’s adorable) after we give her a hug and kiss because it makes her smile and laugh, and of course feel loved too!
- Say I’m Sorry. Remember, no one is perfect. Not even us parents. (I’m sure you know this…right?) So lead by example. Be willing to put your pride aside and admit your faults. Let them see you be vulnerable. Don’t assume they have to be a certain age for you to do this. I already apologize to my kids when I do something wrong. (Example: One time I yelled at Haven out of frustration. Ugh I’m embarrassed typing this because I felt SO bad!) With my daughter I even take her little hands in mine, look into her big brown eyes, tell her what I did wrong, and then ask her for forgiveness. Some of our sweetest moments have been when she hugs me after I apologize! Seriously the heart of a child is a beautiful thing. It brings me to tears every time!
- Pray for your children. Let God lead you as you parent, after all, he entrusted these children to you. Rely on his strength. It’s not an easy road, but it is absolutely worth it! Let God’s word guide your steps as you raise your little ones. He knows best, and let’s be honest, a lot of the time we have no clue what we are doing! Pray relentlessly for them. Pray for their salvation. Pray for their character. Pray for their friendships. Pray for their relationships with you and their daddy. Pray for their future spouse. Pray. Pray. Pray. It’s crucial! Cry out to God for them.
- Get rid of the idea that things need to go smoothly in order to work. Let me explain a little. I remember talking to the ladies in my community group about having our “quiet time” with the Lord, and what a struggle it can be while trying to take care of our littles. What helped the most was realizing that the thirty minute devotion you’re desiring to have (or however long), might take longer now, but that’s ok. It’s ok that things aren’t always smooth sailing anymore. You have kids, and like I mentioned earlier, now it the time to give yourself grace! Realize it’s ok if things take a little longer, if they aren’t as picture perfect or peaceful, and joyfully embrace this new way of “normal.”
- Speak about your children with the utmost love and respect. Whoa this is one that is not as common as I’d hope. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cringed as I heard momma bears complain about their child while their child just watched, and listened. Though they are little, they are very impressionable. Even when they don’t necessarily understand the meaning of every word we speak, they can pick up on the tone. I know for certain my daughter Haven knows when I’m happy, sad, mad or frustrated, even when I don’t speak a word. So when we speak about our children like they are a burden, or annoying, or tell others that they bother us, it affects them. It hurts their self-esteem, and it changes how they view themselves. So whether your child is with you or not, speak highly of them. Children may be, “…half our size but they aren’t half human.” Don’t put them down. Don’t gossip about them. Protect their self-esteem, and protect your family. How often have we all heard, “What you think is what you’ll become.” Speak words of life. Let them know how happy you are to be their momma, and let them hear you tell others how blessed you are to be raising them! They are a gift not to be taken for granted.
These are just a few things I have taken to heart, and applied to my personal life as a mom. Motherhood is an absolutely beautiful journey. It’s one filled with constant growth for both the parent and child, and in both the peaks and the valleys, it is always worth while! I know it’s not quite Mother’s Day, but to all you momma bears out there, your work is not in vain! Your children are in good hands, because God entrusted them to YOU. He saw you fit to raise them, and to be arrows in their lives that point them to Jesus. What a privilege! You’re beautiful, valuable, and so so needed! You are a gift worthy to be celebrated. I hope you realize that.
Wishing you a beautiful rest of your week, and a very Happy Mother’s Day.