Whatever mothering wisdom I have has been learned the hard way. There are definitely things I would have done differently, and (thankfully!) there are also some things I feel like I did right. Things I wouldn’t have changed. Motherhood isn’t easy, and we all need to give ourselves (and other moms) lots of grace.
I’ve been a mother for seventeen years now, which is long enough to have made plenty of mistakes (and I have!) and also lots of happy memories (thankful that I have these!).
Everything I know about motherhood came the hard way—through trial and error. I feel I’ve gained some mothering wisdom simply from the advantage of looking back on all the mistakes I’ve made. 🙂
You can learn from my mistakes!
Recently, a reader sent me the following question: “As you’ve gone through your homemaking and mothering journey, is there anything you would have done differently? What are some things you wouldn’t have changed?”
That was a great question, and there are definitely some things I would have done differently if I could go back and do it all over again.
What I Would Have Changed
If I could go back and start over, here are a couple of things I would do differently:
1. Trust God More
God loves my children so much more than I ever could. And despite knowing this in my heart, so often I would feel like it was all up to me. Whenever I didn’t perform the way I thought a “good mother” should, I would feel an overwhelming feeling of guilt and failure.
I think many mothers place such a high standard of perfection on themselves that it’s easy to get discouraged.
We can’t live up to those standards of perfection. Of course we should aim high. We should “die to ourselves,” as we serve our husbands and children.
But we need to give ourselves grace.
When we’re placing all the expectation on ourselves, trying to live up to our own ideals, the burden can get pretty heavy. If we’re not careful, we can crumble and fall under that burden.
God wants us to rely on Him and His strength to help us in our mothering journey. He wants us to bring those questions, concerns, and difficulties to Him in prayer. He wants to give us the grace to carry out this calling and to do it well!
We won’t do it perfectly. That’s an impossible standard to live under. We will make mistakes.
If we trust God with our children’s lives and hearts, if we look to Him for the strength to be godly mothers, He will hear and answer that cry of our hearts.
2. Go to God in Prayer and Read His Word First
So often in my mothering journey, I’ve been desperate. Desperate for help and answers. And I felt like I needed those answers NOW.
In my rush to get my questions answered, I would often turn to books, friends, or Google before I would remember to get out my Bible, search the Scriptures, and pray.
I wish I would have always remembered to turn to the Lord first. Before looking in books or asking friends.
In all these years of mothering, I know that the main source of my strength is Jesus Christ.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:13
As I stay close to Him, I have the strength and ability to be the mom I want to be.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. ~John 15:5
So, if I could go back and do it all over again, those are the two main things I would have changed.
What I Wouldn’t Have Changed
Oh, yes, I’ve made mistakes. (Just ask my teenagers! 🙂 ) But I also have some very happy memories of mothering these five beautiful people we’ve been blessed with.
Here are a few of those happy things:
1. Thoroughly Enjoying My Babies and Toddlers
When I look back, I know I spent tons of time with each of my babies. I co-slept with them, carried them in slings and in my arms, rocked them, nursed them when they wanted to be nursed, and just spent hours and hours holding them, carrying them, and loving on them.
I have no regrets for how I raised my little ones. And for that I am grateful.
2. Being a Full-Time At-Home Mom
I’m so glad I decided to stay at home with my children. We have had many financial struggles as a result of having a small income, but it was all worth it. I’m thankful for the blessing of being at home with them.
3. Spending Hours Reading Aloud
Reading aloud is something we started when our oldest child was just a baby. All of those hours of looking at picture books together, then graduating to chapter books, and now sharing classic stories together…it all makes for many happy family memories.
It’s All About Relationships
As I look back on my mothering journey—seventeen years of life with these five special people who I love dearly—I see that all of the happy memories I have, and the things I don’t regret, all have to do with investing in relationships.
The regrets I have all stem from the times when I chose productivity, efficiency, or self over relationship.
The time that you spend investing in your children’s lives and making happy family memories is time well spent. You will never regret investing in your children!
- 10 Things I Love About Motherhood (+ a free printable!)
- What Elisabeth Elliot Taught Me About Motherhood
- Advice for Younger Moms
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