Finding Perspective in Motherhood

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I love being a mother. It’s something I’ve always dreamed about and although my path to motherhood didn’t go quite how I had imagined, I’m incredibly grateful to be a mom. I don’t take this opportunity lightly and consider it a great privilege. I do my best to have a positive attitude (some days are way harder that others) and soak in the tender moments with my young children. However, there is laundry to be done, dinner to be made, messes to be cleaned and the list goes on. There are times that I allow the demands of life to push my role of simply being mom to the back burner. It seems like I live somewhere in between “wanting to just let everything go and focus full attention on my little ones” and “overwhelmed of all the stuff that needs to get done”. I know this time is fleeting, but I also know that I might lose my mind if the toy explosion in the living room doesn’t get dealt with immediately.

I haven’t quite figured out how to balance this dichotomy, but I did find something that helps: perspective from moms who have already been there. Over the years, I’ve been encouraged by mothers who share their experiences, provide insight to how they balanced the demands of motherhood and give tips and ideas to help me be a better mom. I asked ten mothers – whose children are now grown – to share advice regarding their child-rearing experience. I hope their responses provide perspective, wisdom and encouragement as you walk the path of motherhood.

What advice would you give to your younger self when you were in the thick of raising your children?

  • Looking back, I remember always being stressed. I worried and had anxiety about mothering and raising my children. They’re grown now and are wonderful adults. My worry and stress did nothing but work me up. I would reassure my younger self that I’m doing great and it’s all going to be OK. Also, slow down. I was always in such a rush and hurrying my children along. Being more relaxed would’ve made getting out of the house less stressful.
    -Patti, Mom of 5 boys, Grandma of 4 (another on the way), PE teacher
  • Try to give each child one on one time every day. Even if it’s only 10-15 minutes – no distractions, no cleaning or cooking while talking – just focus on them. As they get older, go on a “date” with them once a week. Nothing too long, just you and one child.
    -Pat, Mom of 4 boys, Stay at home mom
  • Pray for my children, wisdom in parenting, and for my marriage daily. Some days seem long, but the years are so short. Also, laugh and play together every day & don’t take life as a mom so seriously.
    -Ava, Mom of 3, Grandma of 6, Business owner & volunteer
  • Nothing is as bad as it seems at the time. Always remember that “this too shall pass”. Just love them and hold them and kiss them as much as you can! Everyone tells you but this is so true – they’re grown up and gone before you blink your eyes! There is no reason to allow your baby to cry. Always follow your heart. Also, if they get a grade of “C”, it’s not the end of the world!
    -Linda, Mother of 2 grown amazing men, Grandma of 3, Kindergarten teacher to 1,600 kids 
  • Don’t be afraid to start a new tradition; destination ice cream store bike rides, dessert before dinner, candlelight breakfast before school, or flashlight walks to hunt for fireflies, those are the things they will remember the most. Always let them see you learning, do quiet times while they eat, bow your head and heart and let them see you struggle and rejoice, write what you learn in plain sight so they might “catch it” too. Faithfully pray for their future. Make the Lord first so they will always know the right priority.
    -Angie, Mom of 4, Preschool teacher
  • My only advice is this: teach your children your values as best you can, model them, and then trust them that they will follow them too.  I always erred on the side of trust, meaning I gave my daughter the benefit of the doubt (and she seldom disappointed me). But, if that trust was betrayed, I came down hard.  Mean what you say and follow through. Love generously, never let them doubt that love. Trust goes a long way but don’t let it blind you if they cross the line.
    -Cheryl, Mom, Grandma & Great Grandma of girls, Retired healthcare professional 
  • Take help as it’s offered. Don’t feel like you have to do it all on your own. I had help and I’m not sure how I would’ve made it through otherwise.
    M, mother of 3 under 3 (a long time ago!), Hospital Volunteer
  • Limit electronics and instead go back to reading, puzzles and simple activities together. Play games and make crafts. Mom life is busy, but children will always remember doing these fun activities as a family.
    Marilyn, Mom of 2, Grandma of 5, Avid quilter & retiree 
  • Let the housework go. Drop your standards a bit on keeping things tidy. It will always be there waiting for you when you have more time.
    Sue, Mom of 4, Grandma of 4, Retired traveler 
  • The one thing that sticks out in my mind that I would’ve told my younger self to do would’ve been “just go ahead and serve breakfast for dinner, sister”. In all the ways I felt like I was taking care of my family, along the way I missed shooting hoops in the driveway a time or two and surely some book reading opportunities because I “had” to get dinner together or I “had” to clean this or that. Go play the game and serve the cereal. They will still love and appreciate you. Maybe even more.
    -Megan, Mom of 2 boys, Interior designer & recovering perfectionist 

Do you have some motherhood perspective to share? Please leave your motherly wisdom in the comments below. Thanks to all the mothers who shared their advice!

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Emily Bice grew up in a small, Ohio farming community west of Columbus. It wasn't until she met her college sweetheart and future husband that her mind was opened to living elsewhere. They say love makes you do crazy things which lead Emily and her Texan husband to living in Central America for two years. After much adventure and traveling, she ended up back in Columbus where the real adventure began: motherhood. She is the mom of two young boys and an infant daughter and wife to the ultimate man's man. She's living her dream as a stay at home mom but will be the first to admit that she is far from having it all figured out. Her hardest parenting moments are typically around nap time and bedtime and after particularly rough episodes she can be found online shopping. In a former chapter of life, Emily worked in non-profit raising funds and awareness for important causes. Today, she spends her time playing and snuggling with her three children, traveling to and from her husband's lacrosse company's events and socializing with friends and family. When she has any free time, she usually wastes it trying to figure out what to do.