Here comes Mother’s Day! So lately I’ve been thinking on Mom stuff.
Motherhood is such a journey. There are books galore about what to expect before you become a mom, and how to do it once you are a mom. They tell you how big he is at week 12—about the size of a plum, lime or passion fruit, just in case you are wondering. They tell you how to get the baby to sleep, and how to discipline him when he is awake.
Those books have helped me along the way. But honestly, the best teacher comes from the experience itself. Then we share our experiences with other Moms, and glean a little more wisdom from each other along the way.
Today, in honor of Mother’s Day, I’m going to share 10 lessons I’ve learned from my Mom journey. In some areas I’ve been a slow learner. In other areas, I’m still learning. And you can be sure that there are a lot more things I have yet to learn.
But that’s what Moms do. We learn. We adjust. And then we get into a new season and learn again.
Here’s my list of 10 lessons…
1. Self-denial. The first night of motherhood is a crash course in self-denial. I remember asking with my eyes barely open, “Are you sure he wants to nurse again?” Although sleep beckoned me, Travis’ needs prevailed. It’s the first day of a life long lesson of denying self to meet the needs of others we love.
2. Let go. We hold them close at the beginning. And it’s sweet. Then the next 20 plus years is a slow lesson of letting go. Sometimes it’s painful. Other times, it makes us smile. Often it’s a bit of both. The toddler refuses to hold hands, we drop them off for kindergarten, they prefer pizza with friends instead of the family. We pack the truck for dorm life and before we know it we hear them say “I do” while they’re holding someone else’s hand. This Mom journey is full of lessons to let go.
3. This too shall pass. There are some stages we love so much we want them to last forever. And there are other seasons when we feel stuck—wondering if we’ll ever see light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever the season, I’ve learned that “this too shall pass”. It helps me not to despair the hard times, and encourages me to appreciate the good times.
4. And pray some more. God parents me while I parent our kids. Thank goodness! I reach for his hand like the toddler who reaches up for support. And he holds me. God uses motherhood to transform me, helping me every step of the way. I’ve learned that motherhood reveals my own weaknesses where I need God’s transformation to equip me. And family goes so much better when he’s in control instead of me.
5. I need help. I need a village actually, as the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” As much as I like to do things on my own, parenting has taught me to ask for help—from asking the neighbor to pick up our kids from school to dropping off our daughter at a treatment center. We can’t do it alone. Thanks to God for Gary! And I’m thankful for the village who has surrounded our kids as they’ve grown up.
6. When you think you have it figured out, you don’t. Because this Mom task keeps changing. It changes as fast a chameleon changes colors—or as fast as a glass of milk gets spilled, a friend goes bad, zits appear, a college degree is dropped. Kids change. Schools change. Friends change. I change. I’ve learned I always have to be ready to adjust.
7. Enjoy! It’s fun, usually—and when it’s not, remember, “This too shall pass”. I’ve learned to pay attention and take time to enjoy the little things of each stage.
8. There is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all strategy for raising kids. Each child is different. We taught some of our kids how to drive, and it was easy. For others, it was worth paying someone else to teach them to drive. They each require their own strategy. And we always needed a backup plan.
9. I don’t have to do it all to be a good mom. Thank goodness, because it’s impossible. But that Mom pressure to do what other moms do can get over-bearing–from kindergarten cupcakes to the varsity locker room. I’ve learned I don’t have to do it all. And I’m still a good mom.
10. I have to take care of myself if I want to take good care of others. Sometimes Moms get so carried away with the self-denial lesson that we forget to take care of self. I had to learn to give myself permission to take care of my own needs—whether it’s an evening walk instead of folding clothes or hiding in my closet to tend to my soul instead of tending to the kids.
This list could go longer because Motherhood is a constant teacher.
It molds us. It transforms us. It stretches us beyond what we think we are able to do.
As long as we are Moms, we’ll keep learning. If you’re a Mom, I’m sure you could add to this list! Share in the comments the lessons motherhood has taught you, or that you’re still trying to learn.
From one mom to another,
Happy Mother’s Day!!