I'm watching you young moms out there and appreciate what a hard job you have. I want to encourage you today. It's been rolling through my mind as I read Facebook what I'd want to say to each of you if I had the opportunity. So...I'm taking the opportunity.
- Enjoy your children. I know as you're changing diapers, potty training, trying to get kids to clean their rooms or trying to get teenagers out of bed, it seems like this job will go on forever. While you'll be a mom forever, this part won't last long in the great scheme of things. Enjoy it while you're on this leg of the journey. Laugh...a lot!
- Take the time to train your children--it's time-consuming, but the payoff is great. I remember how hard it was to train kids to clean their rooms. (I pretty much gave up.) But training your children how to sit at the table with good manners is huge. Training them how to be a good friend will have long-term payoffs. There are so many ways you will train your children. Just remember that you're investing in our society in a huge way when you train your kids. And...because there's such a lack of training among a lot of homes, your children are going to really stand out and be leaders. Remember that.
- Relax! Don't be so hard on yourself or your kids. Looking back, I spent way too much time trying to impress others with my parenting skills instead of just pleasing God. He's so much easier to please!
- Remember these are little people with real feelings. If I'd been thinking of how my words or actions might affect my children long-term, I might not have said or done most of them. You may be rearing the next world-changer. Take that in mind and treasure their little hearts. Kids may be resilient, but how many of us look back on our childhoods and can pinpoint one situation that killed a part of who we were? We have a lot of power as parents.
- Take time for yourself. Make time to develop friendships!! This is so important. You need a sounding board or just being away from the fray. Expect your kids to whine as you leave them with dad or a babysitter while you go have coffee with a friend. Be strong! Don't let it keep you home--go get that coffee. You'll be a better mom when you get home. Have fun while you're out!
- Date your husband. I can still remember my kids giggling as I told them I had a date with their dad. This brings comfort to their hearts knowing that their parents enjoy being together.
- Spend time with God. Maybe this should have been at the top of the list, but I know as a mom it was hard to find a time alone with God. I usually found time during the kids' naps to do it. God knows how hard this is! But just make your conversation with him go on all day long. His Word is hidden in your heart, after all.
- Along that line, ask God how to parent. He's the best parent and knows your children inside and out. And He's given you the best counselor--the Holy Spirit!
- Spend time getting to know each child. They're all different! Consider this a privilege with long-term results. Take them out individually. Let each of them get to do things the others don't get to do. (This will also make for some great feuds when they become adults! Ha!) Let them know they are each special and dear to your heart.
I know this may look more like a list of what-to-do instead of encouragement. So if I could sum it up in one word, it would be this--ENJOY!!! Enjoy those tiny people. Enjoy each stage. Purpose in your heart to enjoy the children God has entrusted to you. Don't strive so hard. Don't make it a pain. Don't pressure yourself and them. Just...enjoy. You're doing great, Momma! No, really...you're doing GREAT!