I find that learning to navigate through motherhood can sometimes feel very much like the moment I finally got to leave the hospital with my precious newborn, only to arrive home and think now what? When my kids were babies, crying was the only way they let me know they needed something. When they were hungry, they cried. When they were tired, they cried. When they needed their diaper changed, they cried. Thankfully, once they learn to talk, they communicated in a way that was much easier to navigate, even if I didn’t fully understand them. Nevertheless, it did help me take care of them better.
Yet, navigating through motherhood never really got easier, it just changed. As soon as I deciphered what their cries were telling me, I began questioning what types of food they should eat, where they should go to school, and whether or not they needed to attend preschool first. Should they play sports every Saturday morning? Do I really want them hanging out with the kids who are making choices our family doesn’t agree with? Sometimes it can feel very much like when they were newborns, except this time it wasn’t their crying I was trying to figure out, it was their lives.
I find in times of uncertainty, I begin to question my own parenting skills. Am I giving my child enough love and attention? Am I parenting to loosely—or too strictly? I can get so confused and full of self-doubt! But when my head starts to swirl with these questions, I’ve learned that it’s time to shift my perspective. I need to stop focusing on what I should do and look to the One who put me in this role in the first place—God. I need to stop worrying about all the things I’m not doing and ask God what He wants me to do. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking Him, “What’s the one thing I can do today that will show my kids just how much I love them?” Sometimes it’s as difficult as asking what the correct punishment is for the three-year-old who decided to cover her legs with an artful drawing using a permanent marker. And other times, it’s humbling to ask for guidance on how to teach a seven-year-old the importance of a truthful answer when all he wants to do is cover up the sin he just committed. These are all important questions that without going to the right source can make it tough to navigate motherhood.
I’ve learned that when doubt starts to creep in or I begin to feel like a failure, I need to take my eyes off myself and the mistakes I feel I’m making and fix my eyes on my heavenly Father. God is the ultimate parent and can certainly undo any mistakes I think I’m making. More often than not, I just need His guidance and His wisdom and realize He can give me the ultimate parenting advice because He is the One who truly knows all. Because He knows our kids better than we do, He knows when they need an extra hug, a little discipline, and even a freshly made chocolate chip cookie to come home to.
I’ve learned that I don’t need to know it all or be it all or do it all. I can simply trust in the One who does. I know that God loves my children even more than I do, and I can lean into Him for the guidance I need on this journey being their mom. I don’t have to navigate through it alone. And when I remind myself where to look for the right answer, my kids are getting just what they need from a mom who puts her trust in God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5