What I wish other moms had told me about parenting with grace

5 things I wish another mom had said to me

As a younger mom, I would have LOVED to hear these words about parenting with grace from an older mom. If you’re discouraged and worried you’re messing up your kids, these words are for you!

As a mom, I spent years oscillating between stressing that I wasn’t doing enough to train my children and obsessing over not having enjoyed them sufficiently.

I was always doing the math.
When they turned nine, I thought about how half of my time with them at home was over. When their sixth-grade year came to a close, I mulled over the end of the first half of their school years.

I feared that I’d never get the mother thing right and they would leave my home remembering all the times I yelled or magnified a molehill into a mountain. There were days when they were little that I’d put them in bed at night and fall into the arms of my husband in tears, sobbing over all the ways I failed that day.

I was a planner but that often worked against me, as I always had in writing the evidence of what I had NOT accomplished.

Being intentional is good. But stuffing the list full of unrealistic goals and plans almost paralyzed me as a mom.

One summer, my past as a young mom collided with my reality as an older mom. (My nest emptied last year.)

I thought about how much I would have loved to hear words from a mom who remembered what it felt like, but had gotten far enough down the path to assure me it would get better.

So I wrote down a little of what I would’ve wanted to hear just in case there were other moms out there who could identify with this struggle. Here are five of the things about parenting with grace that would have been honey to my soul years ago.

[custom_headline type=”center” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”true” id=”” class=”” style=””]Parenting with Grace[/custom_headline]

What you need to hear

You aren't messing up your kids. It's not all up to you. Mothering is kingdom work. And other parenting encouragement moms need to hear. What every mom needs to know about parenting with grace.

1. You are not alone

You may resist the anxiety better than I did in my younger years, but I would be surprised to hear you say, “I am always at peace, never overwhelmed, and rarely undone.”

More likely …

  • Time feels like your worst enemy. Every time you turn around, it seems your child is celebrating another birthday.
  • You rebuke yourself for losing control at times, recommit to less technology and more snuggles, and yet still feel like you just can’t “get it right.”
  • You may even fear that disappointment and your downfalls will be their only takeaway when they reflect on their childhood.

The majority of moms wrestle with some measure of these feelings.

But here’s the secret of the sisterhood: You don’t have to get it perfect and it’s not all up to you.

[x_blockquote type=”center”]God uses imperfect people,
failed attempts,
and outright disobedience
to develop character in His people.

You’ve seen this in your children.
Remember it applies to your parenting.[/x_blockquote]

2. How you feel today is not how you’ll feel in a decade

I messed up a lot as a mom. But when my kids recount stories of their childhood, they remember moments when I got it right. Praise Jesus.
And they make me feel like a much better mom than I ever imagined possible or believe is actually true.

The hard stuff faded into the background.
This includes the memories of:

… apprehension about the major decisions that affected their future,
… doubt about the minor decisions that affected their social status,
… heartache over their sins and uncertainty about our responses,
… anguish over my failures and the lies the enemy held over my heart, and
… fears that a decade of chronic illness would be the only thing they remembered.

I still “know” the hard happened,
but I don’t “feel” about it like I did when I was experiencing it.

And what’s more, the sweet parts emerged in the foreground, highlighted and emphasized.
In hindsight, the precious times really DID outweigh the difficult moments and by God’s mercy, that’s the majority of what I remember.

3. You don’t yet have tomorrow’s grace

You may sometimes wonder how you are going to deal with high school graduation or sending them on to college or marrying them off to someone else when you still cry at movies of their childhood.

I feared I might continually regret that I didn’t savor enough or document enough or be there enough or remember and reflect enough.
(And don’t even get me started on the guilt trips those evil unfinished scrapbooks caused.)

But then the milestones happened. Two graduated high school and then college. One got married.
There were tears. Sweet memories were resurrected. And I realized the regrets had dissolved and the fears disappeared.
And now we talk and strategize together. They ask our advice, come to us with their pain, and seek us out to share in their joy.
And I don’t mind that they aren’t still cuddly and cute.

Something I’ve learned along the way that is key to parenting with grace is this:
I can’t imagine how I’ll handle tomorrow because I don’t yet have tomorrow’s grace and perspective. I only have enough for today.

The same is true for you — whatever stage of parenting you are in.

4. Perfection is not the goal

Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Those who are concerned about doing it right are the ones who probably are most of the time.

Yes. If there’s something you need to lay before God, then do it.
Take it to Him daily and ask Him to help you improve in that area or resist the temptation. He.Is.Faithful to answer those prayers.
But remember that perfection is not the goal — progressive sanctification is. And most progress is imperfect.

Parenting with grace means you accept God’s grace for all your parenting imperfections.

5. This is hard

This I know: When you think it’s not supposed to be hard, it gets harder. And if you think you’re alone in the harder, that’s when it’s the hardest.

So take heart. The fact that you know it’s hard indicates you’re taking it seriously.

Biblical parenting is kingdom work, so you are up against the kingdom’s enemies.
If it feels like you are always fighting a battle, it’s because you are.
Recognize that the most strategic battlefield is in your own mind. The enemy knows that if he can undermine your confidence, he will thwart your efforts.

You must remember that you are never alone in this fight. With God on your side, you are never outnumbered. Those children are His and so are you. He will empower you to hold your ground and when you’ve done all else, to stand.

And one last thing. Those of us on the other side are rooting for you and standing with you.


[button shape=”rounded” size=”large” href=”https://christigee.com/topics/parenting-articles/encouragement-for-moms/” title=”Encouragement for Moms” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]Keep Reading: More Posts Like This[/button]
Encouragement for moms in the parenting journey

Encouragement for moms can be hard to find.
You’ll be reminded why everything you do matters for God and for your family.

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Making Life & Words Count!


 

Comments

53 responses to “5 things I wish another mom had said to me”

  1. BlessingCounterDeb Avatar
    BlessingCounterDeb

    Amen Christi! Great points with good advice. Enjoy a wonderful weekend!!

    1. Christi Avatar

      Thank you, Deb!

  2. Holly Brown Avatar

    Thank you so much for linking this with us at Grace & Truth, I really needed to read it! It touched my heart so much that I want to feature it for next week’s round of the link-up, so be sure to come grab your “I’ve Been Featured” button next Friday!

    1. Christi Avatar

      Thank you Holly! I’d be honored.

  3. helloredds Avatar

    This is really good stuff, Christi! I can’t wait to help you share this post!

    And, it does seem like the things that absolutely blew us away 10 years ago, hardly faze us today. With both of my kids in college, I now find myself patting and hugging and reassuring younger moms that everything will be okay. I’m starting to feel like the “older woman.”

    What wisdom you have shared!

    Found this post on Blessings Counter today.

    Hope you have a blessed day,
    Melanie

    1. Christi Avatar

      I am SO loving getting to know you. Yes, I never imagined myself as “the older mom.” I’m so thankful God led me to blogging because through it, He surrounded me with incredible others at this exact stage who help me process my new place in the world since the mother role is changing. Glad to be preaching, “You’ll be ok,” alongside you, dear sister!

  4. Andrea Avatar
    Andrea

    I know perfection is not the goal :) but this post is perfect! Wisdom!! Can’t wait to share this with my readers.

    1. Christi Avatar

      Like I’ve told you… Pom Poms are on order. You are such a cheerleader in my life. Thank you for these words today.

  5. Brenda Avatar

    Christ…thank you. What a gift this is to the weary-hearted mama (me) who’s nest is still full. Your words fall on these ears with a lot of weight and comfort. Thank you for taking the time to write them so eloquently. ((Hug)) Thrilled to have been neighboring you today at #DanceWithJesus.

    1. Christi Avatar

      Oh, Brenda. Thank you. That’s one of the absolute sweetest things I can hear. And I’m sure you feel the same about your words. May your day be less weary and weekend simply wonderful! Take heart.

  6. michdeaven Avatar
    michdeaven

    So much I love about this, but it’s all trumped by that sweet picture. Seriously though, I’m just sorry we didn’t get to read this blog when we were raising our littles, and yet we did it. Love you

    1. Christi Avatar

      Oh, dear friend. We did not need a blog because we had a Friday group … and for me, I had YOU! But there is a vacuum out there for writing to parents of older kids. One I think you could help me fill with style. Whenever you decide to help me write a book on launching teens, I’m ready for you.

  7. Rachelle Avatar

    Ironically, I was literally at Target less tgat 2 hours ago, and I had this urge to get ALL the school supply shopping done this late night in July so that I could find everything for once! I’m still searching for perfectionism! I will never find it.

    Thank you, Christi, for screwing on your big girl pantyhose and posting this! We affect others the most when we venture out of our comfort zone, I think. Maybe I’ll take a page from your book… ;) Maybe I’m not that brave. I wish you were still here in Texas! We could discuss over a cup of coffee. My treat!

    Love, hugs, and blessings!
    Rachelle

    1. Christi Avatar

      Rachelle, you make me laugh! I’d love coffee in Texas, but this time of year, it would have to be ICED! That’s one of the few things I don’t miss about the Promised Land ~July and August.

      Thanks for this encouragement. Initially, I was scared to death to put this out there. My mind played all sorts of tricks on me about whether anyone else felt this way. I woke up this morning to discover way more did than I ever imagined.

      I’m loving getting to know you!

  8.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Great post- the best advice I ever got is you are the only yardstick they don’t compare you they just love you

    1. Christi Avatar

      That is beautiful! Thanks for passing that wisdom along :)

  9. Elizabeth Spencer Avatar

    Such sweet, tender words, Christi! You are so right that “mothering is kingdom work.” We are shaping eternal souls, but what that looks like so often is making lunch or doing laundry or finding that thing that is absolutely, positively lost forever! This work matters. Which lends it its weight. Which is why those of us doing it need to encourage others who are doing it–as you have done so beautifully here. Thank you. (BTW, I looked the other way when I passed the school supply display today.)

    1. Christi Avatar

      Elizabeth, you shower me with grace often. Thank you for these words. Laying my mama heart out for all to read about is the hardest thing I do, so dear friends offering dear words is so precious!

  10. Sonja Crutcher Avatar
    Sonja Crutcher

    I groaned audibly today when I passed by the school supply aisle(s)! What a timely word, Christi. Thank you for these reflections. I pray that they become the survival ring thrown out to the mother that may be sinking under the responsibilities and/or the assault of the enemy. Please keep reminding us of the importance of the here and now. I needed that word today, friend.

    1. Christi Avatar

      Oh my goodness, dear friend. Thank you for testifying that I’m not the only one. Many times I almost trashed this post, fearing I was revealing just how messed up I’ve been and assuming others struggled also. I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to say these words. They are golden!

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