5 things I wish another mom had said to me

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

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.

Parenting with Grace

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.

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.

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.


Keep Reading: More Posts Like This 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.

.

Christi

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Author | Occasional Speaker | Marketing professional ~ · ~ I write and speak so others know they aren't alone and are encouraged to grow in survival-grade faith. ~ · ~ Books: Behold: A Christmas Advent Journey and  Revival: 6 Steps to Reviving Your Heart and Rebuilding Your Prayer Life

Making Life & Words Count!


 

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

  1. Two things: 1. “God uses imperfect people, failed attempts, and outright disobedience
    to develop character in His people.” Sister, that’ll PREACH!!! Seriously though. I wish someone had told me that. I was way too hard on myself. Every.single.day.
    2. ALL SCRAPBOOKING IS EVIL. I declared this from the beginning of scrapbooking time and I still hold to it. I knew, deep in my heart, that if I started that nonsense, all I’d have to show for it was a bunch of rick rack edged polka dot paper lying around everywhere and so much frustration over never getting done or having a place to do it or just the mess of it all. And so, I didn’t.
    Hence, the pictures are still (mostly) in stacks, separated by more stacks, inside the old desk upstairs that I want to get rid of. But I can’t. Because it holds all my pictures.
    Anyhoo, this whole thing was wonderful and I agree one thousand percent on all points.
    Especially the scrapbooking.
    Bless ya, sister!

    1. I’m not sure a day has gone by since I met you that you haven’t made me laugh .. or cry … or look up toward heaven and say “Thank you” for this new encourager in my life. You are amazing. And we should start a “Just say NO to Scrapbooks” movement :) Love ya, girl!

  2. Such a good list! I’m not sure I would have believed anyone if they’d told me. I’ve had to learn through experience. I still have 2 at home – and somewhere along the way I have learned. I think we’re all better for it! So far, the ones out of the next haven’t really forgotten my mess-ups. I like to think one day they will. #5 – oh, yes – but if not for the hard I wouldn’t have learned so much about how much God loves!

    1. I love your affirmation that in the hard you’ve learned even more about God’s love. What a powerful witness to His sustaining armor in the battle! Thank you for sharing here!

  3. Such wise words. I used to anticipate how I’d handle things, but I realize that living in the moment with the people I love most is the best approach. I like how you say we don’t have tomorrow’s grace yet. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

  4. Oh, to be able to go back in time with such wisdom. I love your list- especially the “Having tomorrow’s grace” point. That is so wise- and so easily forgotten. I saw the school supply section last week and it took my breath away. So much of motherhood is not feeling ready, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing. Your words are a blessing :)

    1. Hi Karen! I love how you put that: “So much of motherhood is not feeling ready.” That is perfect. So enjoy making friends who are at this same stage of life through this beautiful medium!

  5. This is such a great perspective! I’m in the middle of the trenches with a 4 year old, 2 year old and 6 month old. I always feel like I’m either not doing enough or just wasting my time away but I know deep down those are lies. Thanks for sharing this post, I needed to read it today!

    1. Oh, sister! I remember those days well. I’m so glad you “know” those are lies, but I also know that “knowing” and “feeling” are two different things :) I was often begging my mind to rule over my exhausted emotions when mine were the ages of yours. The work you are doing is so important. Thank you for allowing me to be a small cheerleader on your team!

  6. Christi – Thanks so much for your post today. I love all the points you shared with such wisdom and grace for others to receive. My favorite reminder I don’t have tomorrows grace! So good!!! I can totally relate to seeing the school supplies, I just did this week at Target in fact and felt the exact same way, even though my kids are grown and no longer in need of them, I still felt a sadness that summer was soon coming to a close and all the sowing down and enjoying the time was passing way to fast and oh, wait – I haven’t slowed down at all …. Thank you for calming and refocusing me today -stopping by from #TheWeekendBrew

    1. Hi Debbie! Thank you for this affirmation that school supplies evoke anxiety in others :) Summer is way too brief for many of us. I appreciate your words of encouragement!

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