When we bought our “forever” 1920’s house and spent a year renovating it, I remember thinking, It’s a shame I won’t ever do this again because I know so much more now that I have walked through the entire process.
Now that my oldest child is 27 I am thinking the same thing, It’s a shame I won’t ever do this again because I know so much more now that I have walked through the entire process! I made some adjustments to my parenting as I went along, experimenting on the oldest and applying what I learned to my youngest. However, there is a depth of insight that only comes from the experience of raising a child all the way to adulthood.
Looking back I can more clearly see the big picture that was difficult to keep in perspective when there were five children clamoring for attention. So here are three broad, big picture thoughts that would have helped me in those “mommed out” moments when I doubted all – my sanity, that a stage would never end, that children were a blessing, etc., etc.
1. Motherhood is not for the weak at heart.
The tenderhearted yes, but not weak. You will have moments of excruciating pain–loss of a child’s health, a rebellious child, a child who makes unwise choices, a child who is victimized. These are all examples of the ways you may suffer because your child suffers. A mother’s heart aches as much as her child’s, if not more. Multiply that by how many kids you have and that can make for strong birth control! But, is this not what every mother from eternity has been called to do? Nurture and bear her child’s sorrow and joy as her own? The solution to the pain and disappointment is to know that your child is a work in process and that process is a refining one. Every opportunity you and your child have to suffer is an opportunity provided by God for your growth.
2. Motherhood is as much about you as it is about your child.
I have a theory that sacrifice is a life game changer. A woman sacrifices so much when she becomes a mother – time, money, freedom, peace of mind, etc. We claim this a worthy sacrifice because we know that children benefit immeasurably from having a mom. I would argue the mom benefits more. Motherhood has taught me to love deeper, tearfully celebrate joy, profoundly appreciate peace, struggle to be patient, selflessly exercise kindness, understand that I am not good, implicitly rely on God, nurture with gentleness, and fight for self-control.
3. Motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint.
Pace yourself! My closest friends all have children older than mine. I remember having lunch with my friends and listening to them share about how busy they were. I would think to myself, Their kids are in school from 8 am to 3 pm. How can they be so busy? Mine are still at home with me all day. I had to get a sitter just to go to this lunch. I couldn’t wait to get to the school stage. And then I got there and I was just as busy. Sometimes moms sprint from stage to stage thinking I will regroup when they get in school or when they can drive or…Don’t wait, regroup now, pace yourself, because every stage has its demands. Enjoy where you are now and build in time to enjoy it or you will sprint right past it.
If you are feeling overwhelmed (or know a mom who is) I love this article because in my most desperate times it was prayer that gave me peace: 5 Prayers for the Overwhelmed Mom.