My daughter is a ballet dancer and a few weeks ago she was sent an article entitled, “15 Truths About Being a Professional Dancer.” The article was great and insightful and had broader applications than just in the ballet world. It really got me thinking about the truths that every mom should know. I’m sure there are more than 5 truths about being a mom, but as I sit here in a Starbucks in Fort Worth, Texas, I think if I were having coffee with a new mom and she asked me what she needed to know most, these 5 things would definitely be on that list:
1. There is no formula for great parenting. You cannot just follow a list of rules or read a book and raise great kids, but it also isn’t just the luck-of-the-draw, either. Being a great mother takes devotion, sacrifice, and making a daily choice to be intentional in investing in the hearts, minds and souls of your children. You have to consider yourself a student of each child and find out what makes them tick, and seek Wisdom to reach that individual child in the way that he/she is wired. We do have a God who knows us and knows our children intimately. Everything we need for living a life of meaning and purpose (including being a great parent) can be found in His Word. Our life is not about US, it’s about bringing God glory. If we are following hard after Him, and intentional in teaching our children to trust and obey Him and love Him with all their hearts, we can’t go wrong. Anchor yourself in Him and your kids won’t be as likely to drift off.
2. Being a mom is really hard at times. There are days you will cry and feel like a complete failure. There are times you will not know if you are doing the right thing. There are days you will wonder if you are really cut out to do this and the exhaustion will feel overwhelming. However, being a mother is one of God’s best gifts to women. You have the unique opportunity to mold and shape the hearts and minds of His children. If He has called you to be a mother, He will equip you with all you need for the task if you ask Him to and yield to Him. You are not the mother of the children you are raising by accident, no matter the circumstances of their conception, so you should never doubt your importance in their lives. You are the perfect mother for your children and you are exactly who they need. The days of sheer joy and laughter, snuggles, heart-to-heart talks, and loving them so much you think your heart will burst far outnumber the hard days when it is all said and done. Don’t miss them by dwelling in regret and worry.
3. Having it all is a myth. Every choice in life comes with a sacrifice of something else. Every mom must decide which things are worth sacrificing and which things are not. Some choose to sacrifice time; some choose money and luxury, some sacrifice convenience, some sacrifice their influence. Choices are really about priorities. Not everyone will agree with your choices, such as your family rules, schooling choices, family priorities, and focus. If you are praying and making choices that are best for your family and what God is calling your family to do according to His Word, then it is really okay that some people don’t get it. By the way, choosing to be a mother and making the nurturing and training of your children a priority is never the wrong choice!
4. There will always be someone more talented, more popular, smarter and with more opportunities than your child. If your goal as a mother is for your child to be the best at everything and have the best of everything, you will be miserable and so will your child. Having and being the best at everything is not a healthy goal for a parent. God has given each person a unique set of skills, experiences and talents that all point toward a calling. Your job is to encourage your child to discover that calling and give them lots of opportunities to try new things and find out what they like and what they are good at, understanding that failures and disappointments are all part of the journey. Giving your child everything they want and trying to avoid disappointment at all cost is a plan for disaster. Overcoming challenges is one of life’s greatest teachers and develops strength and character. You may not be able to give your child the finest of things, and your child may not be the star student or a gifted artist. But if you raise a child that understands who they are, Whose they are, and what they are created for, a child that pursues excellence and loves others, you have done a great job.
5. Perfection is an illusion. There is no such thing as a perfect mom. You will make mistakes and you will say and do things you regret. Your children will not be perfect, either; and they will do and say things that let you down. Conflict will happen and relationships will struggle at times because of sinful choices and disobedience. The good news is that conflict in families, when handled correctly, can be a great source of growth, trust-building and bonding for everyone involved. Never underestimate the power of asking forgiveness and seeking reconciliation. Grace, mercy and forgiveness are great healers of broken hearts and a must for a family that honors God in spite of our human brokenness.
My prayer for you is that if you haven’t embraced these truths, that you would start today.
What truths of motherhood would you add?