So here we are twenty years down the road.
Our oldest “child” – now a young man – and his sisters now young women. Not sure how that happened.
Four boys. Four girls. And a special needs child in the middle.
Two decades of parenting.
So what would I pass on to moms who are at the starting point of this journey? What to offer now that I can look back a bit? Yet still with a few more years to go.
Here are 32 tips I’d like to pass along to to younger moms….
1. Listen to your children’s hearts. Even more than their words.
2. Be quick to say you’re sorry. When you’ve messed up.
3. But even faster to forgive. When they’ve done wrong.
4. Embrace their unique qualities. Enjoy them just the way they are.
5. Hug them everyday. Preferably morning, noon, and night.
6. Teach your children to respect you.
7. And show them a little respect too. Sometimes we forget that they’re people too – just small ones.
8. Be willing to die to yourself. Because it takes a whole of dying to be a mom.
9. Say “I love you” every – single – day.
10. Relax. Yes, I really mean that. I wasted far too many days being uptight. And missed some precious moments along the way.
11. Your time is the best investment you can make in your children. There are no substitutes.
12. Speak in a kind voice. Kindness carries a power all of its own.
13. Don’t worry so much about the mess. It will get cleaned up someday. Eventually. Maybe . . . .
14. Lead them to love the Word of God. Nothing could equip them any better for life. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
15. Smile with your eyes. A mom’s loving smile can make almost anything better.
16. Don’t neglect your own needs. It’s hard to fill up others when you’re on empty.
17. Don’t apologize for being the parent. God is the One who appointed you to this role.
18. Pour into their young lives now. Because this is your chance to give them all you’ve got.
19. Teach them to work hard. They’ll thank you someday for it. (Prov. 13:4)
20. Build your children up. With your words and with your approval.
21. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Children are more resilient than we think.
22. Take time out to play. Games, tickling, laughing, and goofing around. These are the things that create lasting memories.
23. Teach your children the difference between right and wrong. It’s your privilege and responsibility.
24. Always kiss them goodnight.
25. Don’t leave off with loving your husband. In the midst of the busyness of motherhood. You are loving your kids when you’re loving him.
26. Be willing to stand firm. Sometimes love looks like a hard line.
27. Protect your children. Protect their hearts, their eyes, and their little bodies. Without apology.
28. Push them a bit. It’s how they’ll learn to fly.
29. Listen to your instincts. God gave you that gut-feeling for a reason – so go with it.
30. Give your children room to grow. They’re not finished yet and it can can take some time. Perhaps years and years.
31. Give yourself room to grow too. Because you’re probably not finished yet either. (Phil. 3:13-14)
32. Point your children to the love of Christ. We can offer no greater gift to our children.
So these are a few of the things I wish I would have known when I began mothering.
Or, maybe I “knew”, but had a hard time believing.
So let me attest that it’s true.
You’re doing a much better job than you might think you are.
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Cheering for you,
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