What Matters Most: Celebrating Motherhood

Teach your little ones that God really does listen when one of His children talks to Him.

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Mother’s Day invariably ushers in a flood of emotions, memories, hopes, and regrets. 

I have been thinking, lately, about those years when my house was an absolute mess and yet my heart was filled to overflowing with gratitude and love.

I have been remembering the years when the laundry never ended, dirty dishes filled the sink and peanut butter and jelly crusts were all I ever ate for lunch.

Do you remember those days? Perhaps you are currently in the middle of those days!

Maybe your heart longs to experience even a snippet of what I just shared.

After my third baby was born, I counted it a successful day if I was out of my pajamas by 4 p.m.

I realized during those never-ending, noisy years that a long soak in a bubble bath was in some ways better than a trip to Hawaii.

In honor of Mother’s Day 2020 and of all of those intrepid women who are giving their lives to the joyful yet daunting task of motherhood, may I offer some advice from the heart of a mom who gave birth to 5 and wishes that she could do it all over again?!

1 – Read books to your children. 

Start reading to them from the day you bring them home from the hospital.  Read “Pat the Bunny”, “I’ll Love You Forever”, “Good Night, Moon”, and the Bible.

Even though they may not understand the meaning of the words … they will understand the love and cadence in your voice.

As they grow into toddlers and preschoolers, read “The Little Engine that Could”, “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel”, “Amelia Bedelia” and the Bible.

When they are school age and are beginning to read on their own, continue to make family storytime a well-loved tradition filled with love and laughter.  Read “Caddie Woodlawn”, “Carry On, Mr. Bowditch”, “Little House on the Prairie”, “Tom Sawyer” and the Bible.

At every age and every stage, read them biographies of men and women who weren’t afraid to dream big dreams and to live a life of resounding importance.  Read them the biographies of missionaries, athletes, scientists, and musicians.

And … at every age and every stage … read them the Bible.

A child can never read too many books. 

2 – Fill your home with music!

Start playing music from the day that you bring them home from the hospital.

Play the classics of Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Gershwin.

Expose their tiny souls to the great hymns of the faith that thousands have sung before this little life ever began.

Enjoy with them worship music that is impacting this generation. And why not also play the worship music that impacted your early years as a believer in Christ?! How impactful to then worship to the music that impacted your parents and grandparents.

Have a family dance party to Broadway Show tunes and musicals.

A child can never listen to too much music. 

3 – Hold your babies.  

Remind yourself daily that love doesn’t spoil a baby.

It is a wonderful habit to gently rock this little one so fresh from heaven and sing quiet lullabies.  Enjoy these quiet moments – your soul will be filled with the miracle that happens as you bond with your baby.

Quote the word over them as you quiet them in the middle of the night.

It is no small thing to be given a gift from heaven … treat your tiny blessing with heavenly care.

Also … may I just say … never underestimate the impact that holding and rocking our babies will have during the teenage years.  But I will get to that later.

Trust me when I say you can never hold a baby too much.

4 – Make a list of priorities.

What matters the most to you?  

A clean house or 3 home-cooked, gourmet meals every day?

What matters the most to you? 

Going for a jog or reading a book all by yourself in the evening?

What matters the most to you? 

Laundry that is timely folded when it comes out of the dryer or a beautiful garden outside your windows?

You can’t do it all … so set your priorities and stick to them. 

What matters the most to you?

Don’t ever feel guilty about everything that you aren’t able to do during this season but know that what you are doing is the most important calling in your life.

I remember clearly one day, two or three decades ago, when my highly successful and beautifully dressed mother walked into my zoo of a house filled with children.  There were toys everywhere, the floor was sticky and the dishes hadn’t been done in days.  (That’s right … I said, “days”.)  I was sitting in the middle of the family room floor reading books to my three boys when she walked in. I looked at her and said, “Mom, I am so sorry that my house looks like this.”  She sat down on the couch, started folding the mountain of laundry, and said, “That’s OK, honey, you are doing the important things in life.”

At the end of every long, busy day, remind yourself, “That’s OK, you are doing the important things in life.”

Your children can never have too much of you.  You are all that really matters to them.

5 – Make sure that there is a lot of laughter in your home.

Have you ever served green mashed potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day?! Do it this year!

Have you ever served hamburgers for breakfast and French toast for supper on April Fool’s Day?! Why not do it this year?!

What fun to read a joke every night at the dinner table.  Bennett Cerf’s Book of Riddles was always our favorite.

Did you know that it is possible to blow bubbles under a summer sky and then catch them on the tip of your nose?!  Try it! You’ll like it!

Giggle together with your children over the simple, delightful things in life.  Don’t make your home such a serious place that it lacks the healing power of joy and gladness.

There can never be too much laughter in a home!

6 – Teach your children to pray. 

Teach your little ones that God really does listen when one of His children talks to Him.

Teach your babies that there is nothing too small to talk to God about.  You can ask Him to heal your pets, to give you a friend, to help Daddy at work, and to help sister with her homework.

When you teach your children to pray, also teach them to trust God with the outcome.  Let them know that God is loving and good and kind and we can trust our frail lives in His trustworthy hands.

Teach your children that sometimes God says, “No,” … sometimes He says, “Yes,” … and sometimes He says, “Have patience.”

A child can never pray too much, ask God for too much, or trust enough!

7 – Teach your children to dream.

Teach your children to imagine and to dream and to suppose and to brainstorm.

Encourage their little imaginations to go vagabond as they conjure up days of safaris and castles and expeditions into outer space.

Talk to their imaginary friends as if they were truly a part of your family.  What fun!

If you can cultivate a culture of dreams when they are little … then … when they are grown … they will refuse to limit themselves with mediocrity.

Say things to them like, “If you can’t do it … no one can do it!” 

“I believe in you!” 

“God has great plans for your life!”

“You are here for purpose and destiny!”

“You are an Esther … a David … a Paul … a Moses … a Deborah!”

When they are grown, your children will know that they had a mom who believed in them then … and now.

A child can never have too many dreams.

8 – Know that the investment you are making today will reap a harvest of blessings and solid relationships in the future.

I believe that when you hold your babies during these busy, frazzled, too-much-to-do, I-need-some-time-to-myself, would-everybody-please-leave-me-alone-and-let-me-sleep-years … that you are planting a lovely garden of relationship with this little one that will be harvested during the teen and young adult years.

When a mom holds a baby, it layers the baby’s life with a security that can be developed in no other way.

When a mom snuggles with a toddler, it chases away unreasonable fears and builds a foundation of trust that no teenage hormones can erode.

When a mom cuddles an infant, for no other reason than just because “I love you” and “I want you”, it builds a garrison of strength around that baby’s heart that no weapon of the culture can penetrate.

So as you hold your little one, know that someday he or she will grow up.  You only have 18 short years with him.

18 summers … 18 birthday cakes … 18 Christmas Eves that will fly away in a mere blink of time.

Read to him … sing to her … prioritize him … laugh with her … pray with him … dream with her … hold him.

You’ll never regret it … believe me … I know.



This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Carol McLeod Ministries

Featured Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay


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About the Author

Carol McLeod is a best-selling author and popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. Carol is a prolific author and loves digging for truth in the Word of God. Carol writes a weekly blog, “Joy For the Journey,” that has been named in the Top 50 Faith Blogs for Women. Carol also writes a weekly column for “Ministry Today.” Carol has been married to her college sweetheart, Craig, for 41 years and is the mother of five children in heaven and five children on earth. Graduates of Oral Roberts University, Craig and Carol have spent the past 38 years pastoring churches across America.