I have not been a mom for very long (four years to be exact), so I do not claim to have some superior knowledge or secret wisdom in raising children. I won’t even pretend to act like I know it all because goodness gracious, I know I don’t. These are just a few “survival tips” I have learned along the way so far. I know I have a looooong way to go and oh so much to learn so I hope you understand this comes from a humble place. My goal is to encourage. Think of me as your cheerleader in the corner yelling, “You can do it! You’re doing an awesome job, mom!”
Hopefully though you are not merely surviving each day until your kids are full grown and out of the house. We all need encouragement in those moments to see the gifts God has given us as the blessings they truly are.
#1 Become a planner:
I know, not my favorite either. In fact this is something I stink at. I am not a natural planner but a bona fide procrastinator through and through. I loathe organizing schedules on the calendar, weekly meal planning, and the like. But becoming a mom has
forced disciplined me to be a better planner (um, sort of). I still cringe when I have to prepare ahead of time, but it is necessary in making the daily routine run smoother. For example, I try to pack Jesse’s bag the night before if we are planning to go out the next day. Diapers, wipes, snacks, extra set of clothes are the essentials I keep in there. His cute little monkey book bag currently serves as my fashionable purse as well. I am still very often late wherever I go if I do not practice what I preach. Go figure.
#2 You look how you feel:
Ever thought how true this is? I’m not saying deck yourself out in a prom dress everyday. Not. at. all. Plus that might be weird and not very practical. But I do notice that the days I take time to pull myself together I feel a whole lot better. Even a shower can do wonders! Ah-mazing I say! Ladies, that in it self is a big accomplishment for the day. Some evenings when Jason gets home from work he will ask me, “So what did you do today?” I enthusiastically reply, “I got a shower today AND I washed my hair!” I get a confused and to be pitied look from husband, “Uh, I guess that’s great honey…”
Seriously, getting ready for the day (even if it is 3pm) helps your productiveness and maybe even gives you a boost of confidence. Supermom coming through!
There are some things in life just not worth arguing over. If you need to bust out in Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’ right now I’ll wait…
As I was saying sometimes it is better for all parties involved when you learn what issues to enforce and when to cool your heels. If your kid wants to pick what shoes he wears (as long as it is weather appropriate), is it really a big deal for you to get your way? If it is, maybe try pulling two pairs out and then let him or her choose from those choices. If you are like me (a control freak) you tend to want your way allll the time. Look at it as a spiritual lesson for yourself too. Love is not demanding.
Some things like eating a balanced dinner and not surviving solely on cookies would be a good battle to win. If it is for their nutritional well being, safety, etc., those are justifiable issues to stand your ground. But the ones where you can let them exercise a little independence, go for it. You will not be as exhausted and your child will be less frustrated.
There is power in prayer. When people ask my parents how they raised my sister and me, they often respond, “With lots of prayer.” I’m really glad they did because I sure needed it! Lifting our concerns and pleas to our Holy Father is not only helpful for your child, but benefits you as well, as you seek the Lord’s help. Your fellowship with Him deepens; win-win. Pray for your children’s salvation, and their spiritual growth. It is also amazing when you pray for specifics and see the Lord work. Potty training, obedience, sleeping through the night, not to hit their sister, or whatever are great prayer requests the Lord loves to receive. A lot of mine go something like this, “Lord, help me and give me wisdom to be a good mom. I have no idea what I am doing!”
Yep, it is a tough one. Especially those days when you are just plum tired and little man has been up all night partying in his crib like its 1999. You may not get a full hour of uninterrupted quiet time but make goals for yourself anyway. Try to find a time in your day to read your Bible. Be intentional. Sometimes I listen to a sermon in the car or worship music to help align my thoughts with Truth. If you want to be a better mom this is the one thing that is most needed. God’s Word is transformative it “is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).
#6 Keep at it:
Stay faithful mamas. Hang in there. Even when you do not see any progress, keep going. It takes some kids longer than others to get it. Keep up the great work you are doing in teaching them. Christian moms continue to read Bible stories to your kids and sing worship songs with them. Show them your love for Jesus. You can make an impact in your child’s life by introducing them to God and showing them how great He is. You are preparing the next generation. Your work is kingdom work.
One of the best things about having kids is that you kind of get to have a second childhood. You see things through their eyes as they experience something for the first time. The joy of a balloon, first taste of ice cream, and the fascination with birds. It is the simple things they take notice of and delight in. Childlike wonder is beautiful, and amusing.
Be playful with your kids. Don’t be afraid to be silly. They do not care what important job you have, if your nails are perfectly manicured or if the casserole is something right off of Food Network. They just want you. They want your attention. I think it is adorable when Jesse follows me through the house and sits down with his toy, just to be near me. Don’t wish away these years, mamas. They are so precious and they grow up way too fast. Even those days when I get really impatient with my son I think, what if this was the last day I had with him? Not to sound macabre, but none of us are guaranteed another day and anything can happen. This always jolts my perspective to be grateful for him and not take my son for granted.
#8 Take care of yourself!
I think moms are so awesome and giving that we sometimes put ourselves on the back burner. We let go of things that used to matter to us: exercise, a favorite hobby like reading, sewing, cooking (for fun!), photography or whatever. It may not be as much as you’d like but try to take time for you a bit. One time after Jesse was in bed I plopped on the living room floor, plugged ear buds in to mellow tunes and painted my nails. A very simple thing, but it helped me relax and feel pretty, like a woman and not just a mom.
I would also add to this a date night with your man. It’s important not to just take care of yourself but your marriage too. If money is tight, maybe just watch a movie together on Netflix after the kids have gone to bed. Get the popcorn (or chocolate in my case) and enjoy snuggle time with your sweetie!
Life is beautiful and meant to be lived well, with intention. You can do this. I hope you have been encouraged and you are now ready to go back out there and do your mom thing! Do you have anything you would add to this list? Anything you disagree with? I would love to hear your comments, suggestions, and snide remarks (kidding about the last one). Happy Thursday!
Grace upon grace,