It’s been a long time since I’ve written about the sacred call of motherhood. I’m not sure why … other than the fact that it is just hard to be a mom.
And I think you don’t realize how hard it has all been until your children have left the relative safety of your nest.
When you are young and raising your family —you are just certain you have all of the answers.
When you are young… you know if you give them healthy meals, it will give them the optimum chance of being healthy adults.
When you are young… you know if you discipline fairly, yet lovingly, you will not injure their souls.
When you are young… you know if you limit screen time, they will develop other interests like music, reading, and science.
When you are young… you know if you home school … or send them to Christian school … or take them to Awanas every week … or have family devotions … or require Bible memorization … surely they will choose Christ in the long haul of their lives.
You know children need parents … and that your children are stuck with you.
Isn’t it true that nothing is ever as cut and dry as we want it to be when we are blindly and naively young?
Now … I don’t want to discourage any of the young moms out there who are doing everything right!
Keep doing it! I am cheering for you! I am cheering LOUDLY for you!
However, young moms, I will tell you this … you need an older mom or two in your life.
Young mom… you need someone who has already been through the teenage years to bring wisdom and equilibrium to your enthusiasm and passion.
Young mom… you need someone who has raised a quiver full of children to lean into when the nights are short and when the days are long.
I remember in my youthful ardor, I presented a book proposal on the subject of motherhood to a prestigious Christian publishing company. I was beyond excited! I had always wanted to be an author and I loved being a mom with every fiber of my being. Certainly … this was a match made in heaven … my delight in mothering and my call to write books!
Who in their right mind would turn me down?!!
The vice president of this well-known company took out his Bible in the middle of the meeting and opened it to Titus 2:4 and he asked me to read it out to him.
(Now, remember … I had 4 children by this point in my life and was the very wise age of about 36 years old. Surely I knew a thing or two about mothering!)
“The older women should teach the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children and to be keepers of the home” (paraphrased).
Then, this brilliant, anointed and sagacious man posed a question to my wrinkle-free face, “Carol … I don’t mean to offend you, because I am sure that you are a wonderful mother. But we always lean into the Bible in these situations. So let me ask you, who is supposed to teach the younger women to be moms?”
I softly replied, “The older women.”
And then he kindly leaned forward in his chair and said, “Carol, someday you will write a book about motherhood and I hope that you will give me the chance to publish it. However, for now, let’s wait on this particular title.”
I walked out of that meeting heartbroken, challenged, and inspired. How wonderful for a giant in the publishing industry to see the potential in me, and yet choose not to go against his conviction that was birthed from scripture.
So … now at 64 years old … I think that I qualify, don’t you?
I have sent five babies to heaven… I have raised five incredible children to adulthood … I am the mother-in-law to three amazing daughters-in-law and one brilliant son-in-law… and I am Marmee to the seven wonders of my world.
So … will you allow me over the course of the next few weeks to tell you some of the things I have learned upon this rocky, yet fulfilling, journey known as “motherhood?”
Don’t overreact to the small stuff – and honestly – a lot of life is small stuff.
Keep your sense of humor.
Remember what it felt like to be little and respond compassionately.
You can never give a child too many hugs and kisses.
You can never sing too many songs.
You can never have too much laughter in your home.
When you say, “no” – don’t back off. Let your “no” be “no” and your “yes” be “yes”.
Pray … morning, noon and night.
Hide God’s Word in their hearts.
Be a delightful mother not a despondent mother.
Say something encouraging to each child several times a day.
Apologize when you have blown it, and you will blow it, with your kids. Ask for their forgiveness.
Hold your babies. Rock your babies. Sing to your babies. Love doesn’t spoil babies.
Lean into God for your strength. Keep reading your Bible. Play worship music.
Remind yourself daily that motherhood is hard and that you need Jesus.
You have been specifically chosen by the hand of God to be the mom to the children you have been given. God doesn’t make mistakes.
You are enough. You are more than enough.
Use your words as tools of instruction and encouragement.
Remember that you, as the mom, set the atmosphere of your home. Make sure that it is joyful, peaceful and encouraging.
When you feel drained, as you often will, don’t be afraid to take some time for you. Go for a walk. Trade babysitting with a friend. Meet an older woman for coffee. Go on a date with your husband. Sit on the front porch and take a deep breath of sunshine. Read a good book.
If you have a new baby – sleep when the baby is asleep no matter what time of the day or night.
It’s O.K. if your house is a mess. Do what you can do daily but don’t stress out about dusting, sweeping or laundry. It is what it is. Focus on the priorities in life.
Love to a child is spelled T-I-M-E. Your children need your time more than they need your money, Disney vacations, or designer shoes.
Find an older mom or two and pick their brains for their experience and their wisdom. You will be glad that you did!
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published carolmcleodministries.com.
Featured Image by Sai De Silva