Unfortunately, Moms don’t get do-overs. We can’t go back and start over with our children or husband, as much as we wish we could. Knowing what I know now, there are a lot of things I’d do differently. Let’s start with a short list of “5 Things I Wish I’d Known as a Young Mom.”
1. I wish I’d known that being a Martyr Mom was unattractive to my family, especially my daughters. Who looks forward to growing up and giving up fun and beauty? Who can’t wait to stay at the bottom of the list for new clothes? Why would anyone want to remain silent about their needs and sigh mournfully when it is suggested that they should care for themselves, body, soul and spirit? We’re not giving them anything to look forward to when we sacrifice ourselves to the point of exhaustion and dowdiness. It’s not admirable or desirable. More on this in No More Martyr Mom
2. I wish I’d known that I was worth taking care of. Don’t get me wrong, serving others with a generous heart is a good thing. But when it crosses over from serving to sacrificing–every time–something is out of balance. Perhaps I worked myself into the ground because it represented my self-worth at the time. When you believe you’re not worth caring for, it’s because:
- You believe lies about yourself, lies told by someone else or you.
- You don’t know your true identity, which is Daughter of the King, Princess, Beloved of God, Receiver of Grace and Mercy and Loving-Kindness, and more. Truly, your identity is the foundation for how you treat yourself….and others.
3. I wish I’d known that I already had everything I needed to change my attitude and be happy. I used to beg God to change my attitude and make me happy. Nobody told me that He had already equipped me with the ability to choose my thoughts and renew my mind. Thoughts and words eventually shape our attitude.
4. I wish I’d known how gratitude could change my life. Intentional gratitude changes the atmosphere in a home, a person, and a life. Gratitude would have been easier on my family, as it would have helped me be less angry, less stressed, and less self-focused. Gratitude gets us out of ourselves, looking around and up at miracles and blessings instead of being stuck in the poverty mindset of focusing on not-enough.
5. I wish I’d known how long the years ahead would be. Our children are adults most of their lives, even if it doesn’t seem like it. You’ve heard the saying “the days are long but the years are short,” and how true it turns out to be. For years I felt like we had an endless supply of boys, as six sons were at home making noise and messes and dirty laundry. Now our youngest son is 21 years old, and there are no more little boys here. Mommies, hold your little ones a little closer and cherish the moments, for the moments will pass swiftly and you will be left wondering where they went.
You’ve heard me say before: Life is too short to live ugly. Let’s expand that to: Life is too short to live ugly or unforgiving or ungrateful or unloving. These are lessons that I’m still learning, I don’t pretend to have it all figured out. But maybe I’m a few steps ahead of a young Mom on the same journey, and can offer a hand and some encouragement here. Don’t let your foolish pride stand in the way of living a life you won’t regret later, as you look back on the years of your family at home. Live in forgiveness, gratitude and love, and there will be fewer things you wish you’d known as a young Mom.