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Why It's Easy to Reject What Our Mothers Taught Us about Motherhood (And Why We Shouldn’t)

Why It's Easy to Reject What Our Mothers Taught Us about Motherhood (And Why We Shouldn’t)

Why is it so easy to reject what our mothers taught us about motherhood? Is it because we think their advice is old-fashioned and outdated? Would we rather look to social media for the latest motherhood trends?

Whatever our reasons, there are timeless and valuable things our mothers have passed down to us. They are considered “words aptly spoken,” according to Proverbs 25:11. They are often gems of wisdom that have come from their life experiences. 

With a wealth of information at our fingertips, it might be easy to reject what our mothers taught us, but here are four important reasons why we shouldn’t:

1. Common Sense is Smarter Than Modern Trends

I am constantly amazed at the knowledge my daughter and daughters-in-law have concerning motherhood. I’ve learned so much from them! Modern moms seem to have answers for just about everything, and technology has afforded them an in-depth look at nearly every aspect of parenting.

On the flip side, I’ve noticed that the latest trends often override common sense and make things more complicated. Whether it be discipline techniques or bedtime routines, some of what is trendy or popular lack practicality and sound judgment.

One example of this is boundaries for children. Some believe that boundary-setting is too binding or restrictive; therefore, mothers are encouraged to let their children have free rein over their habits and schedules. Through experience, however, we know that healthy boundaries are good for children and actually promote a sense of stability and security.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This is a principle that encourages healthy boundaries in motherhood. It’s not meant to be overly restrictive, but rather, lovingly directive.

While modern technology is fascinating, and can definitely help mothers make key decisions in motherhood, common sense - often passed down by our own mothers - should be valued and considered over the latest parenting trends.

2. Something “Outdated” Could Be Foundational

It was once believed that if you went outside in the winter without a coat, you’d catch a cold. Of course, we now know that colds are caused by viruses, not freezing temperatures. However, we were also taught that chicken soup is good for illness, and there is actually science behind this timely piece of advice!

When we automatically reject something as old-fashioned or outdated, we might be missing out on something foundational to motherhood. For example:

  • Eating dinner together might seem unnecessary, but it has been proven to be highly beneficial for family unity.

  • Developing family traditions might seem boring, but they cultivate positive memories and a strong sense of togetherness.

  • Teaching manners might seem like a thing of the past, but they are foundational to our children’s growth and wellbeing.

Instead of being quick to reject advice that seems outdated, let’s examine it for ourselves and pray for God’s guidance. Often, we’ll realize that much of what our mothers taught us still has value for our families today.

3. It’s Wise to Learn from Our Mother’s Past Mistakes

Henry Ford once said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

If we’re too busy rejecting our mother’s advice, we might be overlooking ways to learn from their mistakes. And the truth is, we all make mistakes. When you picture your grown children looking back on their childhood, you’ll want them to learn from what you did right and from what you did wrong.

Let’s not get too caught up in trying to do everything perfectly and ignore the lessons to be learned from past mistakes. In our pursuit of wanting to avoid every slip-up our mothers made, let’s not miss out on the many things they exemplified. It’s good to discern what things are worthy of holding on to, and which things we ought to let go.

The best part is that we are all in need of God’s grace, and He is faithful and just to forgive us when we ask (1 John 1:9). Mistakes have been made by every mother who has walked the earth and will continue to be made until Jesus returns.

There is nothing wrong with purposing to do better. But let’s not allow mistakes our mothers made to nullify their wisdom. We need them on our motherhood journey!

4. Valuing What Our Mothers Taught Us is Honoring

The 5th commandment says to “honor your father and mother.” It was the only commandment that was followed by a promise to the Israelites saying, “that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Ephesians 6:2-3). When the Lord gave this command, He didn’t promise it would be easy, but He assured us of the lasting benefits of honoring our parents.

There is value in what our mothers taught us, and it’s important to recognize the wisdom they’ve passed down for our own motherhood journey. Even when we don’t agree, there are still ways we can follow God’s command and show honor to our mothers:

  • Instead of pointing out their flaws, we can encourage them in their strengths.

  • Instead of complaining about what they didn’t do, we can thank them for what they did do.

  • Instead of harboring bitterness or resentment, we can forgive.

  • Instead of instantly scrolling social media for answers, we can turn to our moms for advice.

Motherhood isn’t easy and is often full of regret. We will all look back with “should-haves” and “could-haves.” So, let’s be careful about rejecting the things our mothers taught us and value the examples that have shaped us into the mothers we are today.

In the words of Proverbs 31:25-28, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed.”

Ultimately, it’s tempting to do a quick Google search any time we need parenting advice. However, what if we chose to seek our mother’s wisdom a little more often? I imagine moms everywhere would find that common sense sometimes overrides modern trends, old-fashioned ways are sometimes best, and valuing our mothers is honoring the Lord.

A Prayer for Motherhood: Heavenly Father, please bless every mother who is reading this post today. Give her the assurance that You are with her and she is covered by Your mercy and grace. Lord, please help us view our own mothers with honor as You have commanded. Soften our hearts towards them that we might remember the precious things they have passed down to us. Help us value them as we should. Please be with us on our own motherhood journey, to raise our children in Your Word and Your ways. Remind us of the wonderful things our mothers taught us - things we can pass down to our own children. We commit our parenting to You, relying fully on Your guidance, and trusting You every step of the way. 

In Jesus’ name, amen.

More resources for your journey:

7 Things to Say and Do to Encourage Mothers

8 Steps to Healing a Strained Mother-Daughter Relationship

4 Prayers for Discerning God's Direction for Your Family

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/monkeybusiness

Jennifer WaddleJennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayerand is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesnt Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.