Motherhood: What I Know Now
Motherhood is messy. If we pay attention, we can learn from others, learn from our former selves, and from the very little ones (and not so little ones) we are raising. Over the past 20 years, I’ve learned a few things about this journey. If I could sit my young 20 something-year-old mama self down and have a talk with her, this is what I would tell her.
1. Good Beginnings Matter
Faith and Food
We became Christians when our children were young. We learned the Bible right along with them. I learned a lot in those early years and my enthusiasm for the Word spilled out in my everyday living. Teaching them the Word of God was essential for them to learn to love God. Our discussions happened all the time, not just on Sundays.
In our learning, I was in awe of how intricate our bodies are made by God. I learned how important it was to take care of these little bodies and give them the best start in life. The food we put into them mattered. As the years go by, I realize just how important that is. Our family health history isn’t stellar and we have to work extra hard to maintain health. It’s easier to do when we fuel our bodies with the wholesome foods God created for us to consume.
2. Children Can Handle More Than You Think
They are strong and resilient. I have mentioned before that during my cancer trial, they learned to do some things for themselves. My almost three year old learned some basic skills that I probably wouldn’t have thought to teach him at a young age. It was around that time I learned of Maria Montessori’s mantra of “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” If they could do it, no matter how messy or slow, I expected them to try. It helps build their problem-solving skills and confidence as they grow.
3. Sleep is Important
Sleep is crucial for you and for them. I breastfed my biological children and nursed on demand. I believe it helped create a strong trust, attachment, and bonding with me. For my first baby, I didn’t know that sleep training was a thing. He was a horrible sleeper and wouldn’t fall asleep without nursing. Over the next several years, I learned the balance of teaching them how to sleep well, while also getting the sleep I needed. If I were to do it differently, I would have napped more. I would have hired someone or swapped more with another mom so I could get some rest. I would also have implemented the sleep schedule earlier with my firstborn. “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Marc Weissbluth M.D. was a game changer for me. It helped me understand the rhythms of sleep, growth, and feeding cycles the first year.
4. Natural Rhythms
Speaking of rhythms, I would not stress so much at the seasons of life and how things change. There are rhythms of life and it’s easier to ride the tide than to fight it. Essentially, don’t sweat the small stuff. I would tell myself to go with the flow more and let go of the little things to focus on the big things. I think of it with an eternal mindset. What you do either brings you closer to Jesus or pulls you away from Him. Choose wisely.
5. Watch Your Weaknesses
I’ve spoken before about one of my weaknesses. We’re all not perfect and we never will be this side of heaven, however, we can strive to be good examples for our children. That includes owning our weaknesses and try to improve our behavior in front of our children. I yelled too much. There are times I still yell too much. I am constantly watching this weakness of mine and repenting of my failures. There had been an improvement over the years, but I wish I would have started out in a healthier place with this issue when they were younger. Be gentle with yourself, but seek out ways in which you can be more obedient to the Lord through your weaknesses.
- What My Toddlers Taught Me
- Motherhood: What I Know Now
- When Motherhood Shifts
- 3 Prayers for Your Children
This brief essay is a supplement to our Facebook video series in the Facebook group Being Brave dot Faith which discusses the same topics more in-depth. You can watch the videos by joining the group HERE.
Resources [affiliate links – click the pictures to purchase on Amazon!]: