My post from: The Better Mom Blog
We are always striving to be better. Better having more patience. Better structuring time management. Better managing our health. Better in our roles as mom.
At day’s end, when I flop into bed, rather than letting myself drift off to sleep, I will often stare up at the ceiling and contemplate what I could have done different that day as wife and mom–and what I could have done better. How could I have responded better when the situation required self-control? What would have been a better approach during a teaching moment with my child? How could I have been a better support to my husband after he came home from work? I even wonder how I could have prepared a better meal for dinner. (Easy: ordered take-out!)
Each one of us can look at our day and cross-examine our behavior but we have to be careful not to berate ourselves in the process. Having a humble, submissive heart before God and asking Him to help transform us is a powerful prayer when wanting to improve and do a better job. For King David tells us: “Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path.” (Psalm 27:11)
For me, I know I need to submit and surrender to God those habits and tendencies that prevent me from not just being better in my role as mom but from being more Christlike. For if I can reflect God’s image, then I can be “better,” but by His standards, not my own, and certainly not by the world’s. And it’s such a process, isn’t it?!
As moms, we have the opportunity to look to God for refinement, and to take advantage of the situations that come up where we can practice becoming the person He wants us to be. “Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.” (Psalm 26:2-3)
As much as we want to teach values and insure that certain characteristics are being developed in our children, is as much as God wants to do the same in us. There is a refining process going on that the Lord is doing in me and I need to remember that He continues to mold my character even while I am in the process of raising my children. I just wish I could be molded before they grow up so I can give them my very best, but I know that won’t happen!
So what is it that makes you a better mom? Choosing to play a board game with your child instead of doing the household tasks that can wait? Taking time to replenish yourself by doing what is meaningful to you? Is it when you are enjoying quiet time with the Lord, escaping to a can’t-put-it-down book or perhaps being able to connect with other moms and friends on a regular basis? Maybe it’s in the moments when you take your child to the park when you’re lacking energy to gear up and head out the door, or that moment you decide to stay on their bed when they want to talk at 9:00 p.m. and you still have a kitchen to clean up and lunches to make.
I have read so many parenting books and have stacks on my nightstand, and the floor, with sticky notes bookmarked at the pages I want to re-read. There are chunks of paragraphs with underlines, highlights and stars at that places that I need to re-read and remember to put into practice. Are they helping me be a better mom? In some ways, hopefully, or at least helping me understand my children and myself in the process which hopefully makes me a little better! Watching and talking with my friends and other moms helps as well, as I believe we learn from one another. I do believe God provides us with resources in the ways He knows will help us (a book, a class, a conversation, He knows what you need and how you need it!)
Ultimately, the question for me really isn’t what makes me a better mom but who makes me a better mom. The answer is the Lord. And with Him at our side, we’re even better already.
I actually loved also Alexis’ comments as well as this post Linda. “For when I wanted to trade in God’s plan for my own plan, it ws He who kept me from falling and failing…” how true for me too!!! Having a special needs child, there IS no roadmap, the parenting books do NOT help most of the time,and I am worn out at certain times of the year more than other moms due to his disability. What I find to keep me going and HOW to be the best mom I can be, to the child God gave, me, is to do what Linda and Alexis BOTH emphasized…rely on the Lord daily for guidance and inspiration, which will sometimes come in the form of a friend’s words, or a teacher’s, or sometimes a book or the bible itself….for me, it;s being OPEN to the fact that, I do not know what I am doing at all!!! As long as I keep that in mind, and rely on HIM, I will “keep from falling and failing”—-I remind myself of this every single day, as challenges I never saw coming before I had my child, with his different needs, come at me out of left field!!! Thanks for this post and this reply, both of you. It is very centering and helpful!!!
Thank you for your reply, Paula….you have a special set of circumstances that a lot of us have little understanding about with a special needs child. I love how you trust God every step of the way and how you have submitted to Him in so many ways. I know He will continue to guide and lead you in the way(s) you should go and in your decision making. The more you are stretched, the greater the need for dependence and trust in Him. Thank you for sharing so personally!
That is so what being a better mom is about, Alexis….giving our kids what they need vs. what they want. Your obedience to the Lord is priceless…in your life and in theirs! A true testimony to your dedication.
Diana Daniele says
Like Linda, I am one of those pondering moms who stares up at the ceiling, instead of sleeping, and think about what I could have done better or different. Truly. I can get down on myself for not being as good a mother as I “should” be. When I get in this negative thinking pattern I turn to my Bible and read Psalm 139. I love that Psalm. I am renewed and comforted each time I read it. But I always read this one verse several times. “For I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” It stops my thinking and rethinking and puts me in a blessed space of enthos (God Within) as I have enthusiasm for tomorrow, which is always a New Day with God and with my kids!!
Liz Jones says
Love this !!!!
Liz Jones says
I echo all of the above…time with friends helps me a lot. I need other Moms to affirm my frustrations, to help me strategize, to help me laugh at the crazies, to just validate me. It is easy to isolate and I struggle with Depression and if I don’t put on my schedule those girl times, which usually consists of coffee at Paneras on Sunday night, I can really lose perspective. I love how each of my friends are so different and each one brings something fresh and needed into my life. I can’t be a good Mommy alone. I need other Moms:)
Love that, Liz…..we all receive support from different places and for you, that’s through the presence and company of friends and conversation. We can’t mother in a vacuum, and as you said, other friends and moms help give us perspective, ideas, balance and encouragement. Don’t stop those Sunday night outings…it clearly helps make YOU a better mom!