I wandered into the kitchen last night because I wasn’t quite ready to sleep.
So I started to make myself a cup of tea when I heard his size-13 footsteps come in.
I thought all the boys had headed to bed and confess I was looking forward to some quiet moments before turning in. But then our 15-year-old son, Revere, stood behind me and silently watched me steep my tea.
As he showed no signs of leaving, I finally asked if I could make him a cup too. He smiled—which apparently means “yes” in teenager land.
Neither of us said another word as I settled into the chair with my book and he sat across from me and picked up his own. Each sipping our tea and slowly turning pages.
Little did he know that I was not reading at all, but studying him from where I sat. Wondering about this gift of enjoying a quiet evening with my taller-than-me son. Seriously contemplating how such a comfortable relationship had come about.
And my conclusion might surprise you.
So much of this closeness came down to my new approach to motherhood.
When I started this motherhood journey, I thought I had a good sense of what it took to be a Good Mom. Mostly consisting of the many things we do for our kids. Feed them, clean up after them, drive them all over the planet, make appointments (and get them there), and keep them on track of what they should — and should not — be doing.
And I can tell you that I took my role rather seriously and gave it all I got.
But there’s something else you should know.
Revere isn’t my first born. He’s actually number six in the line-up and I learned a life-changing lesson with his older siblings.
Because for them, I did all the things.
But nearly lost their hearts.
I was so busy doing, going, cleaning, cooking, and correcting . . . that I just about missed what my kids need most.
Our kids don’t need a cook, housecleaner, taxi-driver, and corrector nearly as much as they need . . . well, a mom.
So I changed up my mothering strategy with the three younger boys.
Now I don’t always make them nice breakfasts (#dontjudge), but I do sit with them every morning over coffee and listen to their ideas.
Nor do I clean like a crazy woman anymore, but I’m far more available for a conversation or a spontaneous hug.
And I don’t make it to every basketball practice and game, but there can be no doubt that I’m cheering for them.
What’s more, I no longer try so hard to “fix” them. Or badger them about chores or grades or achievements. (Not that I never address these things—it’s just not my main focus.)
I want our kids to be fundamentally okay with who they are and how God made them. And I want them to see that message shining in my eyes.
To be convinced that I like them. Not only love them.
So yes, I stopped being a Do-It-All-for-You Mom.
And started being an I’m-All-Here-for-You Mom.
And that change has made all the difference in the world.
Now if you happen to be one of those moms who’s running around trying to do everything for your kids? Can I just say that it might be a mistake? That in your efforts to do everything. Be everything. You might be missing what really matters.
Because your kids want someone who is here for them. Not running here, there, and everywhere.
So with this in mind, you could consider changing your motherhood strategy and slow down.
Maybe make yourself — and your child — a cup of tea. Sit down together and simply enjoy.
Be an I’m-All-Here-for-You Mom.
In His grace,