Recently I was asked to share a bit about being a Mom at a baby shower. The shower gave me a reason to stop and think what I wish I had known and would want the young women in my family to know as they are or may become Moms. (Bonus point: This applies to Dads too as well as life in general.)
First I laughed as I thought about the many crazy things Moms say (Are you broken, bleeding or dying?). Then there are those publicly embarrassing moments that just happen along the way. Like when your darling baby vomits all over your friends, co-workers and elderly relatives that just want to hold the “darling baby.” In those moments you may cry, laugh hysterically or just want the floor to open up and swallow you. But somehow, amazingly, life goes on and you are not banned from the store, shunned by your friends or placed in a padded cell.
There are so many, many things I could say but after thinking about it for awhile it boiled down to three things. For me these three things are essential. Let me just insert a bonus point right here, the saying “once a Mom always a Mom” is TRUTH. So reminding myself of these things has not been a bad thing.
1. Psalm 139 starts “Oh Lord, You have searched me and known me. (NLT says “know everything about me”) …You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with ALL my ways.” (ESV) God knows us. God “searches” or in other words, studies us. I figure if our creator knows us, we need to know our children. Some of that comes naturally but alot of it comes from deliberately paying attention, being present, taking note of how they act when they don’t realize you are watching and even when they do. In other words, study them!
When you do their personality, strengths and weaknesses, and gifts will become apparent. Our daughter was in constant motion, usually while making noise. She did not require all the sleep everyone told me newborns needed. She loved people from the beginning. Our son was quiet and looked everything over before he relaxed and jumped in. Once he had assessed those present he enjoyed all those around him. As parents use that kind of information to decide what and when to encourage your kids to participate in. Don’t let parent/culture peer pressure convince you that your child needs to do EVERYTHING and be “educated” every moment of their life. Do what you believe is right for them not just what “they” say is right for a child the age of your child.
Also, you as parents should decide what the core values you want your family to have. Then use those core values and your knowledge of your child/children as a basis for what you encourage them to do. In other words, boundaries will be set. God says in Psalm 139:5 “You hem me in, behind and before. “Will this activity reinforce the values you want your child to realize? Our daughter needed tumbling early on to learn to use her physical energy and we wanted to establish that physical energy, play and work was a good thing. We value creativity in our family. We encouraged it in many ways. Our son enjoyed creating with Legos and Kinex from the time he was very young through, well let’s just say older than he might admit. While we didn’t insist on music lessons forever we did require a couple of years of piano lessons and music was nearly a constant thing in our house. Our children are now adults. They are both very creative people although they use their creativity differently.
Secondly, no matter what strengths and weaknesses, charming looks, special talents, or challenges your child may have YOU are the Mom God chose for this baby.
“For you formed my inward parts: you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 (ESV)
“My frame was no hidden from you when I was being made in secret.” Psalm 139:15 (ESV)
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16 (NIV)
Nothing about you or child/children is an accident or a surprise to God. Nothing. The conception, the timing, size, the sound of his/her voice, the color of his/her hair (if she has any when she is born), nothing. The same is true for you. I encourage you to soak in that thought right now. You need to know this. Really. Why? Because there will be moments or even seasons when you will be tempted to doubt it. Like the first time your baby cries and cries and you cannot figure out why. You will wonder if you were cut out for this. Or a few years later when he/she highly excels at something you have no experience with, debate for example, you will wonder again. Somehow we raised a National Debater. Where did that come from? Debate wasn’t even offered in my little high school! Or when your child’s feelings are deeply hurt by the kids around them. When he/she is obsessed with something to the point it drives you crazy! Those moments, days and seasons can make you question your ability to be a good parent. However, if you are grounded in the truth of God’s Word you may be blown around a bit but your roots to God and His promises will hold you strong.
Lastly, Pray. Pray about everthing, all the time. Psalm 139 is the author talking with/to God. The whole thing. It finishes with “…lead me in the way everlasting.” In James God promises to give us wisdom if we ask. God promises to protect us under the shelter of His wings. I believe to fully use theses benefits we have to ask. We have to ask God to help us. We do that by praying. I encourage you to pray about everything, nothing is too small, too trivial or too big for God.
Pray little popcorn prayers in the spur of the moment.
Pray on a regular daily basis during a time set aside for you with God, alone.
Pray with someone else – share prayer requests. Don’t forget to pray for all those who come into contact with your child – your family, babysitters, neighbors, classmates, teachers…everyone! They are important too. I literally prayed once a week for years with a neighbor of mine, specifically for our kids and their school. You can’t pray too much for your family.
You Got This.
Study your kids.
YOU are the parent created for your child.
That’s what I would tell “younger mom me. ”