I always call my son, Sutton, one of my best friends because he totally is. I love my time with him and laugh harder with (and at) him than I think I ever have before. He is my compassionate, empathetic, kind, fun and extremely happy baby.
But as his character begins to show through, I’m beginning to see that he is also stubborn and very strong-willed.
I have no idea where he gets that from 😉 – He is prone to frustration when one toy doesn’t fit into another. He really dislikes the word “no” and any discipline that comes when he refuses to obey. He won’t sit still for a moment and can wear me out relatively quickly, whether it be emotionally or physically.
If I’m honest, there have been moments in which I just feel “done” – done with my day or week as a mom. I feel pushed beyond my limits and all I want to do is crawl under the covers and hide. I have had days where my husband comes home and I’m in tears. I have to just grab the keys and go.
But as I try and focus on the positives of even these messy moments, I can so clearly see the blessings that are right in front of me.
I have been made stronger in areas that I didn’t even know needed strengthening.
I have learned to love more while witnessing how awfully conditional my love can be.
We are always learning. The moments are sweet but they can also be incredibly hard. I want to learn from this. I desperately want my heart to be pruned, so I have been praying that I will have the ability to see the areas that I am growing in, even in the midst of the more challenging seasons of life. Here are a few of the precious lessons that I have been learning:
I am learning to offer help instead of judgment.
I was a great parent before I was a parent. Oh gosh, this couldn’t be more true. I have to somewhat believe that I am getting what I asked for because, let’s be honest, I totally judged other parents and their screaming kids before I had one myself. I had so many tips and tricks on how to discipline and knew exactly how I would handle that kid. Looking back, I realize that I had absolutely no idea what parenting entailed.
There is no longer any judgment (to the best of my ability) coming from my end, no matter what the circumstance may be. I have learned to have grace and understanding, not only for parents, but for people in every circumstance and in every season of life. If we’re not in someone else’s shoes, we won’t ever be able to pretend hard enough; we’ll never truly understand what they are going through and what they’re battling in their heart or mind. Instead of offering my opinion (to their face or otherwise), I wish to offer love and help any time it is needed.
I am learning that my son will mimic what I do (and that’s not always a good thing.)
In the peak of my anger, it’s much easier to express such frustration when the person on the other end responds with anger as well. I have seen the negative effects that harsh words have on marriages, friendships and family members. I acknowledge that loose lips damage relationships and I strive to ask for forgiveness when I say things that I don’t mean. But it feels different with my son.
Every time I raise my voice at him, I can’t help but to sink in sorrow as soon as I see the shocked look on his little face. At a young age, our kids don’t typically respond with actual anger, do they? Instead, they respond with confusion and sadness because they don’t fully understand. For me, the realization quickly sets in that he has not heard this frustrated tone of voice – ever – in his short life; yet, he is hearing it for the first time, and continuing to hear it, from the person that he relies on and trusts the most.
It doesn’t matter that he is hitting me or pulling my hair for the tenth time that day – loud words often fall upon deaf ears. I realize that the more he grows up hearing these things, the more likely he is to express that anger to other people in his life. We should take a second to breathe and respond instead of react. More than ever, we should pray to love kindly, love patiently and love gently.
This is not to say that we’re expected to be perfect or that we’ll never lose our temper again. We will definitely fail. But in that failure, we can humbly repent, displaying that even the “biggest” people in our lives should live in humility and ask for forgiveness. Remember that, no matter what age, it’s never too late to start over.
Sweet momma, if you have created a dynamic in your home, one of anger and harsh words that does not reflect the love of God, you’re not stuck! Use it as an opportunity to display the gospel to your family – remind them that they will fail, just as you do, but there’s nothing you can do to earn more of God’s love or grace. It’s freely given! Ask for forgiveness, live in that ocean of grace and start fresh today.
I am learning that the slow moments are the sweetest moments.
Life with a strong-willed child is almost always fast-paced. As parents, we play, chase, run, encourage, discipline, feed, chase some more, save them (from jumping or falling off of something), laugh and love – and we do all of this within two minutes time. We run to the grocery store, clean the house, give baths, change diapers, put band-aid’s on scratches and scrapes and are lucky if we get to sit down for the first time at 8pm. Let’s be honest, you’re basically superwoman.
This moment to moment “go-go-go” lifestyle has helped me to realize that the slowest moments need to be cherished. Moments where we can make breakfast together as a family, sit outside with coffee while watching Sutton play and just rest. I can’t say that I ever really appreciated this downtime before I had a baby. As mommas, we should appreciate those slow and sweet moments, embrace them with joy and, most importantly, be intentional about creating them for our families.
I am learning that I take better care of my family when I take time for myself.
Yesterday at church, the pastor was talking about how it’s easier to confront your sin and control yourself when you’re rested. He mentioned that being tired can make us more prone to sin – whether in anger, frustration or irritation. A lack of rest for us mommas can affect our families quickly. If you are not taking reasonable time for yourself, it’s possible that you’re feeling worn down, and in turn, may be placing additional stress on your family. Find something that you love and enjoy and give yourself a few hours a week. Go to the gym, take a mommy day or get a manicure – whatever it might be – take time for you!
I am learning that He is strong where I am weak.
Although my heart has been purified and strengthened as a mom, I have also never been so incredibly aware of my weaknesses. The most impactful lesson that I have learned is that I am not even remotely strong, and that that’s totally okay.
My patience is extremely limited, my tone is often harsh, my endless striving in wanting others to think that I’m a good mom is exhausting and my attempts at keeping my son, my husband, my home, my friendships, my blog and my ministries in perfect order make me feel like a failure every single day.
Yet in this weakness, I have found joy and freedom.
Mommas – Motherhood gets messy. We don’t have to be the perfectly polished woman who has it all together. We have a perfect Savior who intercedes on our behalf; One who takes our failures and covers them with grace and new mercies every day.
We can fall on our knees before God more than we ever have and soak in His word to remind us that He is our foundation. He is perfect where we are flawed. We have the ability to pray about the smallest tasks – like laundry and bedtime – because He is a God who cares about all things. He has never asked us to place an endless list of expectations on ourselves or to carry this burden on our own. Isn’t that freeing?
Today, remember that you are enough. You will fall short – you may have already failed ten times this morning – but God has already covered your failures by His grace. It’s not about doing better, but seeking Him more. And if you take a second to stop and let this little human teach you these five important lessons, you will allow yourself to see the excellent and beautiful that God brings from this sometimes messy life of motherhood. Our babies have the power to strengthen us and refine us – if only we will let them.
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What a great reminder for us with little ones at home! These toddler years can definitely feel like the most amazing stage at one minute and then the most challenging at another. Having “me-time” with my girlfriends has been so life giving for me to come home and be refreshed and have a renewed patience for my kiddos! More than anything has truly been prayer! Leaning on God and asking Him for supernatural strength even when I’m exhausted and He has been so faithful! Thanks for sharing! I can totally relate to all of this!
Yes, Jehava! It is the hardest and greatest job I have ever done in my life. And I agree with the girl time! That is so important, along with date nights! And yes, prayer. I have found that I so appreciate the sweet moments when I can just reach out to God, through joy or tears. Ive learned not to compartmentalize God and think that He only deals with my ‘big’ issues, but that He cares about the little things like laundry and cooking and bedtime! He is a good and gracious God. Thank you so much for reading and for ALWAYS being so encouraging! You are awesome!
This is such a great post and a reminder that when we rely on God for strength, God will take care of our “business”, and He never fails! 🙂
YES to all of this. This is my second child exactly. I was so frustrated with him the other day and then that night, I was skimming pinterest and came across a painting that said Proverbs 15:1 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Going to speak that over myself for the next few months as I pray for patience and grace with him!!! Moming is hard!
Not only are the photos beautiful, but your words are too. What wonderful things you are learning so early on. Way to go, mama!
Awe thank you Jessica! God has been gracious in revealing things to me through other mommas who are just amazing! Thank you for reading!
AMEN TO ALL OF THE ABOVE!!! I so get it. 😀 Thanks for writing ^.^
Yay! I’m glad I’m not alone – haha. Thank you for reading!!
These are wonderful reminders! The mommy years pass by so quickly–though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. It is important to keep everything in perspective and, definitely, to take care of ourselves, too.
Gosh, they go so fast! The days are long but the years are short ;). Thank you so much for your encouragement and for taking your time to read!
Beautifully said. AMEN!!!!
So well said and enjoy those moments! they grow up so fast, my boys are 9 and 11 and I face another challenge at this stage, challenge of not tuning off and unplugging as I am obsessed with succeeding, love #4 and its so true to take time for your self, thank you for the reminder that God covers our failures by his grace! thank heavens,
Oh gosh it goes so, so fast. Sutton is only 15 months and I literally cannot believe where the time has gone. It breaks my heart but it’s so sweet at the same time to watch him grow! I can relate with you in the ‘success’ avenue – I have just started this blog and have had to be really intentional about shutting things down when it’s family time. Have you read my post ‘Putting Down Our Phones and Looking Back at Our Spouse?’ It was featured on Huffington Post and is a reminder to focus on our family — you may enjoy it! Thank you so much for reading!
Your writing is always so encouraging. I love your blog, Lindsey
You are so sweet, Amaris! I feel the same about yours! Thank you so much!
I truly needed to read this blog today. I needed this little reminder, especially the part about taking a moment to think before I respond. Thank you so Much!
That is the hardest part for me too! Sometimes I beat myself up because I’ve raised my voice at an unnecessary time when I could have waited just one more moment and responded much better. But grace! God’s mercies are new every single day and we get to live in that! Thank you so much for reading!
Yes yes yes about enjoying the slow moments! All of those little moments together is really what life is. Thanks for reminding us!