When I look back on this time in my life, as a mom, I know there will be many things I’ll remember. The good and the bad.
I’ll remember the things my kids did that drove me crazy, I’ll remember all the nights I tried so hard to get them to sleep through the night, their first “real” sicknesses, and all the countless times I picked up all those toys.
More than all of that, though, I think I will remember trying to get my kids to play so I could get my stuff done. Trying to distract them with toys and movies so I could clean the house. I’ll remember caving in and letting them have my phone or the iPad just so I could fold a couple loads of laundry without getting interrupted and without them throwing all the folded clothes around because their “helping” me.
I will remember all of that because I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ll look back and regret the most.
I forget and I forget, but I’m trying to keep reminding myself the things that I have placed as a priority (a perfect house, getting things done in a timely manner,etc…) are not the things that matter. When I’m 50 and 60 years old I know I’m not going to look back and say “Well, at least my house was clean and I stuck to my perfect schedule.” If it is, then I know I’ve lived a poor life and gave my children a poor childhood. And so, I need to change.
These are the things (to name a few) that I want to remember and say about my time as a mother…
“The house was a mess….but we had SO MUCH FUN building forts in the living room.”
“It took hours but my daughter LOVED helping me fold and put away the laundry. She felt so helpful and accomplished and learned some things about responsibility and housewifery.”
“I had to scrub and scrape stickers off our floor, but they SO ENJOYED “decorating” with them. And I loved seeing reminders of my children around the house when I see their stickers all over the place. ”
“It required some patience but my kids LOVED helping me make dinner-It was a blast! And was way too salty.”
“My kids had a fun childhood WITH their mom and dad.”
“We were there for them…always”
Of course I know I’m there for my kids, and we do everything to make them know we are. But I want to make sure I’m there for them not just in the big things, but also in the little things that don’t seem to matter at this point. I’m realizing that a perfect house really doesn’t matter. No, as much as I’d love to, I won’t forfeit cleaning anymore. But I’ll work to shift my priorities. If I don’t get to it, I don’t get to it. It can wait till the kids are in bed. It can wait till tomorrow. Or it can take longer than usual so they can participate with me. After all, what else do I have going on that’s so important?
My children’s lives are the most important thing I’ll ever invest my time in. They’re so worth it.
And it’s not just about playing with them. I’ve been given this duty of raising and training up my children. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It’s my job to look for and find opportunities to teach them and help them grow. How can I do that if I’m casting them aside throughout the day? What does that teach them?
I want to say I’m not literally “casting them aside every day.” I do things with them, I gently care for them, I’m there for them. For the most part I’d say I’m a good mom. I make mistakes, clearly. I’m simply stating and encouraging that I want to devote more time to my children. After all, God entrusted them to me. They’re the biggest responsibility I have and will ever have. And I always want to look for ways on improving my role as a mother.
I stated earlier that how can I create learning opportunities for my children if I’m not actively being apart of the things they take part in? If I’m not creating new adventures for them, taking the time to teach them new things. But so much more important than all of that is my responsibility to teach them about their Heavenly Father.
“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them DILIGENTLY unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7
This is something I cannot take lightly. If I don’t teach them about God, who will? If I don’t pray for them, who will? If I don’t teach them to pray, who will?
I’m just trying to remind myself and encourage you that the episode of that show you need to catch up on can wait. The dishes can wait. The laundry can wait. The bathrooms will be there later to clean. Our children need us now. They’re growing and won’t be little for long. What we do now makes an imprint on their lives forever. Enjoy every minute. Watch them grow. Experience their growth. Relive your childhood again with them.
Put the phone away, forget about the constant to-dos that never go away, make messes, have laughs, have conversations, make memories, don’t waste your motherhood.
LORD, grant me the grace and strength to be the mother I need to be for my children.