I’ve been a mother for approximately 26 years, 151 days, 16 hours and 14 minutes.
I decided very early in life I wanted to have six kids. My husband and I have raised four kids to adulthood, and have one older teenager and one “I’m almost a teenager” 11-year-old at home. The Lord blessed me with the desires of my heart, something I don’t take for granted.
But, parenting has been the hardest job we’ve ever loved. Psalm 56:8 tells us the Lord saves our tears in bottles; my husband and I might have our own personal storage room in Heaven for our bottles. But, we also have an immeasurable amount of love, laughs, kisses, hugs and precious memories stored up. In my immaturity, this was the only part of parenting I imagined. Even after I gave birth to my first precious daughter, I never thought it would be so hard.
Parents ask us advice, especially when they think they’re alone in their struggles. They want to be assured and encouraged that every day won’t be so hard. I was recently asked, “What’s the hardest thing about being a mother?”
10. …being a sinner who gave birth to sinners. Parenting would be easier if I were perfect. If I had ultimate wisdom, patience and understanding, success would be guaranteed. It’s not. As my children grow up, I’m growing in my faith. I fall as often as they do.
9. …when children don’t listen. There can be two people in the room less than three feet apart. If one is a momma and one a child, the words can get lost in space between momma’s lips and child’s ears. For every year of a child’s growth, this vortex exponentially increases.
8. …when they ignore good advice. I’ve earned my gray hair and would like my wisdom count for something. Not only have I been-there-done-that, I would love my kids to learn from my mistakes and experiences, not theirs. That’s why I say, “When I was your age…” But, when a parent says “I understand”, children interpret, “You don’t understand.” They can’t or won’t understand that you do understand.
7. …when they lie. Parents can deal with the truth, but can’t help if a child lies. When a child tells the truth, there’s one issue to deal with. When they lie, there’s two.
6. …when they disobey. You give a simple command, explain the consequences, the reasons (concerning their safety and best interests) and they may do exactly the opposite. Then you have to follow-through with the consequences that were chosen to deter disobedience, not punish it. We don’t want to give the consequences, we have to! The goal is to teach blessing comes through obedience, whether it’s your mommy, teacher, the law or your boss.
5. …when they make a bad decision. The best parenting might be no parenting. Instead of intervening, allow them to reap the consequences. It takes wisdom from above to discern when to step in and when to step back.
4. …keeping them safe. We can’t be with our kids 24/7, but they’re always our responsibility. Stand your ground concerning their physical, spiritual, emotional and sexual safety, especially when they don’t agree or understand.
3. …letting them grow. Give them space to closely examine the beliefs, convictions, values and family norms they were raised with. They hear and experience new ideas and sometimes want to try them on for size. The calmer you are, the clearer the conversation can be. If they copy without conviction, they may fall harder or be fruitless.
2. …letting them go. When they’re out of your home, they’re not out of your concern. In their eyes and the world’s eyes, they’re an adult. Older parents know this is the hardest stage of parenting. Commit them to the Heavenly Father, who loves them and longs for their holiness and well-being more than you. The Holy Spirit is their parent, and will go where you cannot go and be who you cannot be.
1. …being a mom. At every stage, mothering is the hardest job, because we’re dealing with eternal souls.
We have an enemy
who wants our children
in his trophy case.
Never rest in peace at any stage assuming your job is done, because the enemy never rests. If your child is saved and their salvation cannot be stolen, the enemy will war against their testimony, their peace, their fruit. He wants everything and anything he can have. Do not give in, do not give up, do not become complacent. Your job will not be over until you hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
We were entrusted with precious souls, blessed with talents and personalities, to nurture, train, instruct, and love them into their place in the world.
Because the best thing about being a mom, is being a mom.