1. I was often told, "Enjoy them as they are little, because you will blink your eyes and they will be grown". I remember wondering how that could be, until now. Time does have a way of flying by; enjoy those babies....those toddlers....those pre-schoolers. Yes, they demand alot of attention. Yes, you often have to put your wants on hold to tend to them. However, as you get my age, you will look back and miss those days....those days that they never left your side....those days that you always knew where they were and who they were with. Please don't rush through your child's younger years. Read those books. Listen to those little chattering voices. Take time to pray with them and for them. Turn off the phone and tv. Embrace this stage because I promise you, you will miss it one day.
2. Train them to be independent not dependent on you. Babies are born totally dependent on us. However, year by year they become less and less dependent. Sometimes, we view that independent side as that they don't need us or that they don't like us. On the other hand, our goal is to raise a strong, God-fearing young adult that can make decisions and move forward. If we don't give them room to make some decisions then they don't build those skills. So go ahead and let that 3 year old pick out his clothes for the day. Don't force your child to hug someone they don't want to hug. Teach them to respect and love others while they are being their own person at the same time. Sometimes when my children were little I worried too much about what people thought about me as a mom....and didn't see the bigger picture that they were growing into their own person that God planned them to be. God wanted me to guide, nurture, and direct....not control out of fear. From birth on, point them to Christ as you trust God with them.
3. Don't forget that you are modeling how to be an adult to your children. How you respond to your husband matters. How you take care of yourself matters. How you seek God matters. We can talk all day about what our children ought to do....but they learn alot more by watching us.
4. Take time for your relationship with your husband. Again, you are modeling that relationship for your little ones. How you treat your husband may be how your daughter grows up treating hers. How you respect your husband may be how your son grows up and expects to be treated. Taking date night or weekend is NOT neglecting your children. It is actually blessing them when you take time to nurture your marriage.
5. Put God first everyday. Even if it means reading one verse a day. Take time to pray and draw from HIS strength. You may have to pray when you take a bath or as you wash dishes....but let Christ fill you constantly. You need His strength.
6. Don't feel guilty for needing a break. Take that nap. Go to the ladies retreat. Eat lunch with that girlfriend. When you take small breaks here and there you will be better for your babies.
7. Don't worry about how clean the house is.....enjoy those children. The house will be there when they are all gone. Take it from me. I can have a clean house now, but I often miss the joy of having a full home. Don't trade the eternal for the temporary. Your children are little souls that need lots of love and grace.....the house can wait.
8. And lastly, don't be a helicopter mom. I was the typical helicopter mom for sure. I wanted my sons to never have to experience the trouble and pain I had went through. I didn't let them forget anything. I wanted them to match perfectly. I tried to make things perfect. I tried so hard to protect them from everything. However, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't keep life from touching them. In fact, trying to play God in their lives actually caused me great stress and kept me from having more joy in the home. If you are like I was, I want to encourage you now to take time to surrender your babies to the Lord. Ask Him to help you guide and nurture them but recognize you can't be their God. However, you can point them to the one true God so they can grow into adulthood being dependent on Him, not you.
An Older Mom