It’s amazing how you do not have to show a little girl how to “play” with a doll. They instinctively know. So, for many of us, when we found out we were going to be called “Mommy,” our hearts soared with anticipation and sweet dreams of our little one.
Once my daughter arrived, I was thrust into mommyhood and it was nothing like I thought it would be. I pictured myself as something of a mix between a 1950’s ‘Leave it to Beaver’ mom and modern super-mom who could do it all well in heels and skinny jeans. That was totally NOT reality. Reality was...I sat around nursing my daughter in my pajamas watching ER reruns! And though I soon found out how to get a shower, I still battled my idealism of motherhood with reality. Looking back, I wish another mom would have sat me down and given me a different picture. So this is what I’m passing on to you...ten things I wish I’d known when I became a new mom.
1) Don’t be afraid to ask other moms.
For one thing, you’ll feel so encouraged that you are not alone! Other mamas feel the same way. Second, other moms really have great insights to share. Ask questions and listen. You may not be able to use everything they say, but you’ll be surprised at how much you learn. Though I’ve read some great books, most of what I’ve learned about being a loving and nurturing mom has been from other seasoned mamas. Titus 2:3-4
2) You are not a “bad” mom.
Ugh! How many times I have felt like this! Many of us feel this way because we judge ourselves based on an unrealistic expectation of motherhood. When we fall short, we sink into despair and feel as though we are going to ruin our child. But this is the wrong way to look at being a mom. We are all sinners, But God is righteous. With the Holy Spirit, I can trust God to work His Righteousness through me. The truth is...you are not a perfect mom. You will fail. A good mom is one who loves her child and does her best in the midst of her own imperfections and allows God to do the rest. Philippians 3:9
3) Start home management habits now.
It was not until I had my second child and was preparing for our third that I started learning how to be a productive home manager. I knew that what I was currently doing wasn’t working. And, honestly, I was a bit lazy too. I would just put off cleaning instead of being disciplined to get it done when I had the time. I knew how to cook. I knew how to clean. But I didn’t have a plan or a system. So start now by making a plan of how you are going to care for your home. Sit down and write it out. Start the discipline of doing it and not putting it off. Don’t wait until you have three kids tugging at your legs. Proverbs 31:27
4) Don’t be so quick to judge other moms.
I confess, I’ve done it! And I did it a whole bunch when I had only one little. Yep, I’m talking about that look. The glance you give the other mom in the grocery store when her child is acting up. I’m talking about those things you may whisper to other girlfriends or spouse, “I’m never going to let my child...” You can fill it in. Don’t be so quick to judge. Can I be honest with you? You really don’t know it all when you start out as a new mom. And that’s okay. You are not supposed to! No mom does. Being a mom is a journey and we all start at the beginning. So choose to give a smile of grace rather than a glance of judgment. Matthew 7:1-5
5) Find your mommyology.
Yep, that’s right. Learning to be a great mom is a process. You are the perfect mom for your child. There is only one you. Find out what works best for you, and embrace it! There are lots of different ways to be a great mom. Don’t stress out when you aren’t like the mom you see at the park or across the street. They are not you and you are not them. There are no cookie cutter moms. 1 Corinthians 12:16
6) Play to your strengths.
It was really freeing to me when I started to play to my strengths. You have gifts and talents and you also have weaknesses. So capitalize in your strengths. I love parties, crafting, and cooking, so I try to spend my time with my daughters in these ways. Your child is going to remember the special things that make you you. So play those up those strengths.
7) Find what fills your tank.
There are so many things that empty us as moms. (No sleep, messes everywhere, tantrums, laundry, diapers, potty training, dishes, errands, bills, the to-do list...) So you have to know what really fills your tank up. Be specific: write them down and share them with a friend or spouse who can encourage you to find some “me time” when you are feeling depleted. Mark 1:35-37
8) Most worries are pretty minor.
As moms, we worry. I don’t know a mom who hasn’t. But most things that we worry about are pretty minor. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Oh, the things I got worked up about with my first daughter! Was she getting enough milk when I nursed? Was she keeping up with other babies her age? And, even now, I catch myself making a big deal out of something that really is not. Worry is not helpful and, in fact, it only make things worse. Prayer is powerful and it brings the peace our hearts need. Philippians 4:6-7
9) Give yourself grace.
Your house is not going to always be clean. You are going to be late sometimes. You are going to forget things, and there will be days your kid's hair is not brushed or even their teeth! You are not always going to provide the healthiest meals. You are going to get angry and yell and say things you wish you hadn’t. We are human and we are sinners. And we need to give ourselves grace when we mess up. We need to remember that God--who loves us even more than we love our littles--can use our messes and our successes for His good purposes. 2 Corinthians 12:9
10) Choose to be Spirit-led.
I’m amazed at how many little decisions I make every day as I care for my girls. What they will eat, how I’ll discipline them, where they can go and what they can do. I’m also amazed at how I can leave Jesus out of the equation. Yet He longs to help me and give me the wisdom I need. All it takes is a pause, a whispered prayer, and to listen. When I stop and let the Lord lead me as I parent, I’m amazed at the peace in my own heart and the spiritual fruit I see in my child’s. Your child is not to little to start asking Jesus to be your guide.