10 Things a Mom Must Always Remember

10 Things a Mom Must Always Remember

Once a mom, always a mom. We may enter motherhood through different avenues, but whether we cradle our bundles of joy the first moment of their lives or hold them tightly to us later, our love only deepens from the day we first meet.

I’ve been a mom for over twenty-four years. I’ll be a mom the rest of my life. It doesn’t matter how many birthdays my kids have, how far away they move, or how accomplished they become at taking care of themselves; they’re still the babies of my heart.

As newcomers to motherhood, we might have heard it was a full-time, forever job. But did any of us really understand what 24/7 for a lifetime looked like? I didn’t. Yet, even if motherhood had come with a warning label, the day-to-day wouldn’t have sunken in until I tried to live it out. The reality is a lot less go-the-distance and a lot more treading-water-trying-not-to-drown.

Remembering the following ten things helps me stay afloat:  

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  • 1. Kids are supposed to make mistakes.

    1. Kids are supposed to make mistakes.

    It’s their job. And it’s our job to coach them through. When it came time to teach each of my three kids to drive with their learner’s permits, they all made the same mistakes. They slammed the gas pedal and the brake, turned too wide or too sharply, had trouble staying in their lane, and when another driver broke the rules of the road, they weren’t quite sure how to react.

    The months we drove together were sessions of them making mistakes and me showing them how to correct. The more they practiced, the better they got, until they bypassed most potential problems and navigated around bad drivers without my input at all. That was my goal.

    It’s the same with raising kids. We have them under a “learner’s permit” for a limited amount of time before they veer off into their own lane. I want to use that time to not only keep them safe when they don’t have the tools to protect themselves, but to ultimately train them to self-correct. Mistakes are part of growing up. The worst thing we can do as moms is keep our kids in a holding pattern where we punish them without giving them a way to mature and make things right.

    Remember—our kids’ choices, and how we coach them to handle failure, makes them better drivers of their own lives.  

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  • 2. Apologies are profound.

    2. Apologies are profound.

    Not only will your kids make mistakes, you will too. Just like they don’t come with instructions pinned to their diapers, no one’s going to hand them a mommy manual. As scary as it sounds, a lot of our mom/kid relationship on both sides is made up as we go along. We’re all figuring out how it works.  

    If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid of change. A reed doesn’t survive in the wind by being rigid; it bends and gives. As your kids grow, their needs change. To keep our relationship alive, we need to adjust our parenting.

    The transitions can be treacherous. We yell when we should have zipped our lips, pile on advice when we should have turned up our listening ear, say and do ridiculous things out of fear, and even bail on occasion. No one’s perfect. And that’s okay.

    Remember—you’ll teach your kids more by being real and asking for their forgiveness than by pretending you always know best.  

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  • 3. In your years as a mom, you'll grow and change as much or more than your kids.

    3. In your years as a mom, you'll grow and change as much or more than your kids.

    Relationships are hard. I can pick my husband and choose my friends, but I don’t have that luxury when it comes to my children. We can’t pull into the drive-thru and order them up “obedient, intelligent, and respectful with a side of save-the-world compassion.” They don’t come precooked.  

    You’ve heard “for better or worse” when it comes to marriage. Multiply that by a million when it comes to your kids. They’re harder to walk away from. And, unlike an equal marriage partnership, in a mother/child relationship you have to be the adult one-hundred percent of the time.

    In Proverbs 27:17, we’re told, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Steel yourself. Sharpening cuts. Sometimes deep enough to make you bleed. Your kids will push you and test you and blow apart who you thought you were—until you’re the very best person you can be.  

    Remember—adopt the teachable attitude you want for your kids and use the time you have together to model it.

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  • 4. There's no such thing as "one size fits all" when it comes to kids or moms.

    4. There's no such thing as "one size fits all" when it comes to kids or moms.

    Each of us brings our own past experiences and expectations—good and bad—into motherhood. It takes work not to let our past drive our future. But even if we overcome the negative, we still see the world through our personal lens and come at mothering from different angles.

    Our kids come into the world as their own people too. Starting over on the mom learning curve with each new child is hard. What works for one kid is a disaster-in-the-making for another. What your quiet child needs in terms of discipline looks nothing like how you will treat your wild child. And there’s no such thing as fair.

    The fast-changing world we live in compounds that learning curve. I raised my oldest before cell phones hijacked our lives, while my youngest knows nothing about surviving without social media. The way I interact with them and the guidelines they’re given look completely different.  

    Remember—being a mom can make us feel a lot like Paul when he mentions being “all things to all people” in 1 Corinthians.

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  • 5. Graduating your kids from toddler to teen doesn't mean you get to breathe.

    5. Graduating your kids from toddler to teen doesn't mean you get to breathe.

    Motherhood doesn’t come with coffee breaks or vacation days. When my babies were babies, I was exhausted from waking up with them all night. When they grew into toddlers, I was rundown from chasing them all day. When they turned into teens, I was a wreck from worrying about them all night and all day.

    At least when my kids were little, I controlled where they went, who they were with, and how much time they spent under my mostly watchful eye. When they hit middle school and high school, especially after they got their drivers licenses, that watchful eye barely caught glimpses of them.

    My life with older children plays like a never-ending game of Twenty Questions where eyerolls, grunts, and disappearing acts replace the traditional “yes” and “no.” If there was ever a need for a superpower, it would be now. If I could, I’d ask for the ability to read minds.

    Remember—your teens need you even more than your toddlers. Don’t quit yet. Not at this crucial time!

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  • 6. Relationship trumps rules.

    6. Relationship trumps rules.

    Even more so, as your kids grow into their own people. I can yell and forbid and ground them from cars and phones—sometimes they need that kind of intervention—but that’s not what truly changes hearts or behavior.

    There’s a point where “because I said so” won’t be enough. Kids need real reasons, their own reasons, to choose between right and wrong, helpful and hurtful. As much as we want to hand them our moral compass, we need to let them take the time to craft their own.  

    That’s scary for moms. We tend to play out “worst-case scenarios” in IMAX with blaring surround sound. We can’t always protect our babies from what life hurls at them or from the bad decisions they’re going to make. What we can do is offer a sanctuary to talk things out, propose advice when they ask, and give mercy when they don’t.  

    Remember—the more you invest in your relationship with your kids, the more freedom they’ll feel to share their lives with you and the more say you’ll have. 

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  • 7. Our children's choices don't necessarily reflect our mothering efforts.

    7. Our children's choices don't necessarily reflect our mothering efforts.

    If you have more than one child, you’ve probably figured out that multiple kids raised in the same environment by the same person with the same rules don’t turn out the same.

    We do our best to love and nurture our kids because we want them to be their best, and we want the best for them. Sometimes we mess up. Sometimes we’re spot on. But deep down, the motivation behind most of what we say and do is love. Too bad we can’t love our kids into becoming perfect people.

    Think back to what shaped you. My foundation is rooted in what my parents taught me, but the best things about who I am came out of doing life on my own. I wasn’t considerate until I got married. I wasn’t selfless until I became a mom. I wasn’t compassionate until my kids suffered through trials of cancer and anxiety and depression.

    Remember—even when our time as our children’s biggest influence ends, God is never done with them. 

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  • 8. Don't go it alone.

    8. Don't go it alone.

    There’s safety in numbers. Whether you’re single or have a parenting partner, there’s something special about moms celebrating their successes and sharing their burdens.

    Sometimes knowing I’m not alone makes the biggest difference in how I see and handle myself and my kids. Your friends can’t fix your problems, but they can listen and encourage and pray. They can also offer insight into places you haven’t been. And you can do the same.

    Remember—you’re not the first mom to struggle.

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  • 9. You can't take your children out of the world.

    9. You can't take your children out of the world.

    But you can teach them how to tame it. I’m a homeschool mom. We’re notorious for helicopter parenting. We go on field trips with our seventeen-year-olds, monitor our kids’ social media by the keystroke, and GPS their every movement.

    All that helicoptering might not be doing our kids any favors. By sheltering them, we prevent them from being prepared to step out alone into a world littered with potential pitfalls. Instead of avoidance, let’s arm them with the street smarts to avoid stumbling into bad choices and the triage skills to save themselves if and when they do misstep.     

    Remember—the world isn’t going to change. Give your kids the gift of practiced navigation. 

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  • 10. You don't have the power to change your child's heart.

    10. You don't have the power to change your child's heart.

    But God does. There’s a lot of static in the world, and your voice can easily get lost. Or intentionally tuned out. Sometimes the most detrimental thing we can do as moms is to talk an issue to death. Keep in mind “to death” means one thing to you and another to your child. If you bring something up more than once or twice, you put yourself at risk for getting docked some serious parenting points.

    There are times to let things go and times to stand your ground—especially where safety is an issue. Some issues require consistent and open dialogue. You know your child better than anyone. If you’re not sure when to move in or hang back, cover your concerns in prayer.

    Take a second to imagine how much you care for you child, then believe God cares so much more. If you listen for His direction, He’ll guide you both where you need to go.

    Remember—only God can whisper to a hardened heart, jump in front of an oncoming tragedy, and swoop in as a Savior of souls. And don’t forget, He’s also in the business of redemption. What feels like a broken, dead-end now can make room for a beautiful beginning later. Not only for your child, but for you. 

    Lori Freeland is a freelance author from Dallas, Texas with a passion to share her experiences in hopes of connecting with other women tackling the same issues. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a full-time homeschool mom. You can find Lori at lafreeland.com.

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