Four years into this mothering gig and I can confidently say that I am content with my mothering skills. For the first two and a half years of motherhood, I wasn't confident in my ability to mother. I felt awkward and out of my comfort zone. I didn't know a lot (and still don't) but God gives me wisdom and I do the very best I can.
I know that seasons change and some phases are more difficult than others. We are still in the toddler/preschool phase and I love it. One kid is in diapers (and hates clothes hence the emoji cover-up) and the other is starting to write her name. It is wild, stressful at times, and magical.
I spent the first few years as a new mom beating myself up over the silliest things. I would beat myself up over formula feeding and not co-sleeping. Or I would beat myself up that I couldn't get it together enough to match my two under two kiddos in cute outfits.
Seriously? Do cute outfits mean that they will grow up to be successful or decent human beings? No!
Long gone are the days where I waste precious time concerned about the opinions of others when it comes to my mothering. Nor am I judging how they are parenting because we are all doing the best we can and making the best decisions we can for our families. The same goes for you, friend! If you find yourself crushed in your mothering, perhaps you need to turn down the volume of others in your mind. You may mother way differently than your friends do or than your neighbor down the street.
Bottle-fed or breastfed.
Organic meals or free for all.
Homeschool or a traditional school.
Screen time or no screen time.
Co-sleeping or solo-Sleeping.
Matching outfits or mismatched.
Type A or Type B
Who cares as long as you're doing what you feel is best for your crew?
It just doesn't phase me anymore. I am a homeschooling, hippy/organic eating, scheduled, solo-sleeping, screen time allowing mama. I let my kiddos have an occasional treat, skip nap time and stay up past their bedtime sometimes.
And that doesn't make me LESS than you or BETTER than you, friend!
I am making decisions for my family. I am solely responsible for my family. I don't fit a mom mold and you probably don't either. That is OKAY! We are not called to mother like the woman down the street.
You're responsible for your blessings.
Not your mama.
Not your mother-in-law.
Not your child's teacher.
Not your neighbor.
Not your friend.
Not the negative nancy in the grocery store.
Not the lady in the magazine claiming to have found the recipe for perfect kids.
Y O U are responsible for your family and you can be confident that you're doing the best you can!
We aren't confident because we have all the answers to motherhood. We all have a lot to learn but we can stop caring about the opinions of others.
The two most important things I fervently strive to do each day as a mother:
1. Point my kids to Jesus
2. Love them fiercely
The rest of my decisions are based on the word, research and loads of prayers begging God to help me raise these children without burning the house down.
If you're feeling crushed in your mothering, I want you to take a step back in your mind and allow yourself to be reminded that you're trying your best. You are being diligent in your mothering and giving it your best shot. Naysayers who want to question your abilities don't see how hard you're trying or how many tears you cry over your children. Or how many prayers you pray asking God to please show you what on earth to do with them. No one sees that side of you, mama, where you wonder if you're screwing them up and not loving them hard enough.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;"
I've been clinging to this verse as oftentimes, I truly feel troubled and perplexed in my mothering. Yet, the word says, we are not distressed nor in despair. Even when I feel cast down, I am not destroyed. God is faithful to pick me back up and enable me to mother my kids. I never knew how hard being a mom could be until I became one and neither did you.
Suddenly you're responsible for a child or multiple children and it is your job to point them to Jesus and keep them alive. You research healthy lunch ideas, best schools, and good pediatricians. Each night you fall in bed bone-tired and secretly wonder if you even made them feel loved enough that day. It is a wild ride. The road gets rough at times and I don't have to tell you how worth it all it is because you already know that.
Oftentimes, I wonder if one day I will look back and wish I had mothered differently?
Perhaps the better question is, did I enjoy every moment and give it my all?
You're doing a wonderful job, friend! Don't waste another precious moment beating yourself up over things that simply don't matter. Love your babies and point them to Jesus.