Long Haul Moms are Amazing!
Mama, are you here for just a minute or two until something else strikes your fancy, or are you here to invest in your children for a lifetime? While you might roughly fit into a type of mom or style of parenting, that’s not who you are or Whose you are. You are unique, just like your children.
You are a mom, whether you carried each child for nine months or prayed for them for years before the adoption came through, and you love those kids. Don’t be here for a minute or two; be here for the long haul. That means learning to balance the demands of motherhood with the responsibility of listening to God for self-care, quiet time, and time spent with your husband.
I’ll let you in on a secret; no one gets it right all the time! That’s where grace comes in. You remember what grace is, right? Grace is unmerited favor from God. None of us deserve grace, and yet He offers it freely to all. That’s what makes it so easy to offer grace to others. Because God freely blesses us with grace, we can share it freely. But because we know we do not deserve grace, there are times we just cannot grasp how it could apply to us. We become quick to give but slow to receive.
Grace comes in many forms and is necessary for the long haul of motherhood. I want you to get used to accepting grace now because you’re going to need it tomorrow, next year, and ten years down the road. Remember, unmerited favor is remarkable and brings peace into the midst of chaos. Grace to get a good night’s sleep while your baby is teething. Grace to run the washer, yet again, while potty training. Grace comes in when you’re wondering if that child is ever going to figure out how to ______ (read, tie their shoes, ride a bicycle, fill in your own current struggle.)
You’ll need grace when that little cherubic face leaves the garden hose on overnight, when they hit puberty (lots and lots of grace then), and you will especially need that unmerited favor when it is time to teach them how to drive.
Motherhood is a lifelong job. The description changes over the years, but the title and responsibilities are still there. I think the reason pregnancy takes nine months is to give you a little glimpse into your future. Life takes time, growth takes time, and if you try to rush it, you end up with lots of trouble. Women who are just here for a minute or two with the kids before their focus turns elsewhere make great aunts but not always the best moms. A great mom is one who can realize her need for grace, who learns to balance family needs and her own needs, and who continues in prayer about it all.
Long haul moms are amazing! They know that each season of life is different and that with God’s help they cannot only survive but maybe even thrive in the season they are in. They are less worried about appearances and more concerned about character – both in themselves and their children. You can be a mom who loves her children deeply and still have your own identity, if you are willing to let God work in your heart.
There will be days ahead with hard conversations. You will need to teach your children about all sorts of things. From the early conversation about not taking someone else’s toys to the one about not getting in a car if the driver has been drinking to the one about what to look for in a spouse, moms cover a lot of territory in the 20 or so years our children are at home. It’s okay to struggle with parenting; I know I have. When I look back, I wonder what I have done right and what I could have done better. This spring our girls turned 20 and 22. Above my desk is a picture of them just before they turned 4 and 6. Over those 16 years, I learned a lot about grace, and I am still learning. I look to God for help and to my own mom as an example of grace in action.
This fall will mark a change in our household. I’ll be going back to college. After years and years of teaching our girls at home, I’ll be the student again. I’m sure my recent college graduate and my super-tech college sophomore will be helping me adapt to the changes and the online classes. It is a different dynamic when your kids are adults, but you are still the mama. They still want to snuggle on the couch or have long talks before bedtime. Eventually they will move out, and then maybe I will get invited to a sleep-over.
You will always be the mama. Be a long haul one!
A veteran with 16 years of experience, Carol writes with a practical look at the whole journey of home education. She spent the years with her daughters focused on experience-based education and frugal ways to teach and learn well. Her writing offers encouragement that anyone, even working moms, can homeschool successfully. Carol writes for her local newspaper, the Homeschooling with Heart Blog, and other outlets. You can find her love of nature, field trips, and lifelong learners on her blog: Home Sweet Life. Follow along on their adventures on Instagram.