If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last year and a half, it’s that there is no one way to parent. Every child is different, every family is different, and every situation is different. In the introduction of my favorite podcast, Coffee + Crumbs, they say “we believe motherhood is an art, not a science,” and I couldn’t agree with that more. The way that Dave and I are raising Charlie is far from a studied and tested experiment–it’s a combination of the way we were raised ourselves, the habits we admire in our friends and siblings who are also parents, ideas we piece together from articles and books we read, and a hearty helping of “this just feels right.” I’m beyond grateful to know many wise, thoughtful, intentional, and loving mamas, from whom I learn so much that I can take into my own home and heart. In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, I’d love to share a few of those lessons today, along with a heartfelt thank you to all of these women (and so many more–blog friends who chime in in the comments section very much included!) who have made me a better mama through their wisdom, example, and love.
From my friend Ana, I’ve learned that there is no one right way to spend your days a mother. For some women, staying at home with their children full-time is the perfect use of their God-given gifts and the best way they can serve their families, while for others, doing that means working full-time out of the home. Sometimes, it’s a combination of the two. No one set-up is better than the other as long as you are happy and your children are loved and cared for.
From my friend Sadie, I’ve learned that parenting may not look exactly the way you always expected it to, and that’s okay. Give yourself grace and the permission to do things differently than you had planned.
From my friend Marissa, I’ve learned that if you’re worried about whether or not you’re a good mom, that alone means you ARE a good mom.
From my friend Emily, I’ve learned you should do what works for you, even if it’s out of the ordinary or not what you’re “supposed” to do. You have the power to make the rules that work for your family.
From my friend Rachel, I’ve learned that the small ways we pass on our faith to our children–taking them to church, praying with them, etc.–matter. They take in more than we expect and it impacts their little hearts from an incredibly early age.
From my mother-in-law, I’ve learned that showing up and being there for your children in little ways means they will know without a shadow of a doubt that you’re right there in their corner when big things come up.
From my sister-in-law Amy, I’ve learned that good food, laughter, creativity, and lots of love are the keys to creating the “fun house” your teenagers will want to bring their friends to.
From my sister-in-law Mary Kate, I’ve learned to say yes to new experiences and adventures, even if kids may make those experiences a little more complicated…because they can also make them so much more wonderful.
From my sister-in-law Elizabeth, I’ve learned that no moment or experience is too small to find incredible joy in.
And finally, a few lessons from my real MVP, my own mom:
Stay present in the stage you’re in–don’t worry about what’s coming next, just focus on the experience, joys, and challenges at hand. (She gave me this advice about labor, but I think it applies far beyond that too.)
One of the most powerful and impactful things you can do as a mother is to ask for forgiveness.
God has His own relationship with our children, His own timing for their lives, and His own perfect plan for them. He knows them better than even we, their mothers, do and He loves them even more than we do.
To every mama reading–whether your children are across the country, in the next room, in your belly, in heaven, or in your heart–I am praying for you and am so honored to do this good work alongside you. May you feel deeply loved and appreciated this weekend and every day!