As a younger mom, I would have loved to hear these words from an older mom who remembered what it felt like, and who could assure me it would get better.

5 things I wish another mom had said to me

As a younger mom, I would have loved to hear these words from an older mom who remembered what it felt like, and who could assure me it would get better.As a mom, I spent years oscillating between stressing that I wasn’t doing enough to train my children and obsessing over not having enjoyed them sufficiently.

I was always doing the math.
When they turned nine, I thought about how half of my time with them at home was over. When their sixth-grade year came to a close, I mulled over the end of the first half of their school years.

I feared that I’d never get the mother thing right and they would leave my home remembering all the times I yelled or magnified a molehill into a mountain. There were days when they were little that I’d put them in bed at night and fall into the arms of my husband in tears, sobbing over all the ways I failed that day.

I was a planner but that often worked against me, as I always had in writing the evidence of what I had NOT accomplished.

Being intentional is good. But stuffing the list full of unrealistic goals and plans almost paralyzed me as a mom.

Last summer, my past as a young mom collided with my reality as an older mom. (My baby graduated this past year.)

I thought about how much I would have loved to hear words from a mom who remembered what it felt like, but had gotten far enough down the path to assure me it would get better.

So I wrote down a little of what I would’ve wanted to hear just in case there were other moms out there who could identify with this struggle.

Boy, and identify they did! This quickly became the most-read post I’ve written. Here are five of the things that would have been honey to my soul years ago.


1. You are not alone

You may resist the anxiety better than I did in my younger years, but I would be surprised to hear you say, “I am always at peace, never overwhelmed, and rarely undone.”

More likely …

  • Time feels like your worst enemy. Every time you turn around, it seems your child is celebrating another birthday.
  • You rebuke yourself for losing control at times, recommit to less technology and more snuggles, and yet still feel like you just can’t “get it right.”
  • You may even fear that disappointment and your downfalls will be their only takeaway when they reflect on their childhood.

The majority of moms wrestle with some measure of these feelings.

But here’s the secret of the sisterhood: You don’t have to get it perfect and it’s not all up to you.

 

God uses imperfect people,
failed attempts,
and outright disobedience
to develop character in His people.

You’ve seen this in your children.
Remember it applies to your parenting.

God uses imperfect people, failed attempts, and outright disobedience to develop character in His people. Remember this in your parenting.


2. How you feel today is not how you’ll feel in a decade

I messed up a lot as a mom. But when my kids recount stories of their childhood, they remember moments when I got it right. Praise Jesus.
And they make me feel like a much better mom than I ever imagined possible or believe is actually true.

The hard stuff faded into the background.
This includes the memories of:

… apprehension about the major decisions that affected their future,
… doubt about the minor decisions that affected their social status,
… heartache over their sins and uncertainty about our responses,
anguish over my failures and the lies the enemy held over my heart, and
… fears that a decade of chronic illness would be the only thing they remembered.

I still “know” the hard happened,
but I don’t “feel” about it like I did when I was experiencing it.

And what’s more, the sweet parts emerged in the foreground, highlighted and emphasized.
In hindsight, the precious times really DID outweigh the difficult moments and by God’s mercy, that’s the majority of what I remember.

3. You don’t yet have tomorrow’s grace

You may sometimes wonder how you are going to deal with high school graduation or sending them on to college or marrying them off to someone else when you still cry at movies of their childhood.

I feared I might continually regret that I didn’t savor enough or document enough or be there enough or remember and reflect enough.
(And don’t even get me started on the guilt trips those evil unfinished scrapbooks caused.)

But then the milestones happened. Two graduated high school and then college. One got married.
There were tears. Sweet memories were resurrected. And I realized the regrets had dissolved and the fears disappeared.
And now we talk and strategize together. They ask our advice, come to us with their pain, and seek us out to share in their joy.
And I don’t mind that they aren’t still cuddly and cute.

Something I’ve learned along the way is this:
I can’t imagine how I’ll handle tomorrow because I don’t yet have tomorrow’s grace and perspective. I only have enough for today.

The same is true for you — whatever stage of parenting you are in.

4. Perfection is not the goal

Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Those who are concerned about doing it right are the ones who probably are most of the time.

Yes. If there’s something you need to lay before God, then do it.
Take it to Him daily and ask Him to help you improve in that area or resist the temptation. He.Is.Faithful to answer those prayers.
But remember that perfection is not the goal — progressive sanctification is. And most progress is imperfect.

5. This is hard

This I know: When you think it’s not supposed to be hard, it gets harder. And if you think you’re alone in the harder, that’s when it’s the hardest.

So take heart. The fact that you know it’s hard indicates you’re taking it seriously.

Mothering is kingdom work, so you are up against the kingdom’s enemies.
If it feels like you are always fighting a battle, it’s because you are.
Recognize that the most strategic battlefield is in your own mind. The enemy knows that if he can undermine your confidence, he will thwart your efforts.

You must remember that you are never alone in this fight. With God on your side, you are never outnumbered. Those children are His and so are you. He will empower you to hold your ground and when you’ve done all else, to stand.

And one last thing. Those of us on the other side are rooting for you and standing with you.

P.S. Need more encouragement?

Did this post resonate? Well, sister, we are just getting started! Get the REST of the STORY in this FREE mini-eBook just for you. This short read “9 things I wish another mom had said to me” will speak to all your weary and your fear. Click here or below.

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Encouraging You as You Inspire others,

Christi
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Other Parenting Posts

Do you ever feel like you are always fighting a battle? It’s because you are! ~ Mothering is suiting up for combat every.single.day against an enemy who contends for your children. Take heart and take hold to the ONE who can equip you for the war.

In the pattern of "If you give a mouse a cookie," this cute post travels the journey of motherhood and reminds moms everywhere that God sustains you in each season of parenting. Mothers need encouragement and hope more than anyone!

 

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Christi5 things I wish another mom had said to me

Comments 46

  1. justthestraightskinny

    Christi-

    This is such an encouraging post. Your incredibly accurate description …. “years oscillating between stressing that I wasn’t doing enough to train my children and obsessing over not having enjoyed them sufficiently. ” …was so spot on that I was sucked into your post and nearly gripping my seat for the ride. Every word thereafter was like you were talking directly to me. If day doesn’t go by thinking my gosh will they escape as far and as fast as they can at 18 for all my shortcomings. For people who are used to doing most things in their life well, you sure get a wake up call with children. I truly needed to hear all five of these. Being a stay-at-home home schooling mom to a 14, 10 and 8 as well as round the clock caregiver to my grandmother is hard in a way no one I know personally understands. My husband is my biggest cheerleader, but his job takes him away more than 12 hours a day. It’s amazing how many people see my job as “well at least you get to stay home all day”. Talk about needing strength at those moments. I can’t wait to share your post and to read it again. I may have to print it so I can put it where it will continually “find me” when I need it most. What a comfort.

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      Christi

      I hear you, sister! Isn’t it funny how we all struggle with the same thoughts?

      Thank you for your kind description of how this post impacted you. It’s why I write … so others know they aren’t alone.

      Blessings!

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  2. Christi

    Excellent post. Looking back, while I am still in the midst of raising littles but have married children too, I see everything you stated here. I am further down the trail. I have been there, I am still there….I am still learning….A Lot! I did not have the grace that time in the restaurant with only five small children acting out of control where I swore I would never, ever go out my front door with them all again. I am a bit better at taking my 8 at home still out everywhere, because of His daily portion of grace.

    It is h.a.r.d. and you do feel a.l.o.n.e. at times, that part is so true! And I am different now than a decade ago when, while in the midst of a 2nd trimester miscarriage, we were graduating our first child from homeschool. I thought I would die of loneliness while I still had a house Full of people!

    I stepped up to the Gates of Splendor and begged God for His mercy and grace, when he freely gave it to me and healed all my brokenness and loneliness….He is so great!

    Thank you so much for sharing. I blog to share where I have already been….there in the target aisle with you…if you should ever want to visit.

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      Christi

      What wisdom you have gained, albeit the hard way for some of it! Thank you for sharing all these thoughts and testifying to God’s mercy and grace. I look forward to visiting your place soon.

  3. sarahgirl3

    You are so right-I don’t have tomorrow’s grace and perspective. I needed this as my girls go back to school Monday. There can be so much introspection for me every year that is not healthy!

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      Christi

      You nailed it on the introspection! #guilty :) So glad there was something here that offered your mama heart a little comfort. Thanks for letting me know!

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  4. Ruthie Gray

    Two things: 1. “God uses imperfect people, failed attempts, and outright disobedience
    to develop character in His people.” Sister, that’ll PREACH!!! Seriously though. I wish someone had told me that. I was way too hard on myself. Every.single.day.
    2. ALL SCRAPBOOKING IS EVIL. I declared this from the beginning of scrapbooking time and I still hold to it. I knew, deep in my heart, that if I started that nonsense, all I’d have to show for it was a bunch of rick rack edged polka dot paper lying around everywhere and so much frustration over never getting done or having a place to do it or just the mess of it all. And so, I didn’t.
    Hence, the pictures are still (mostly) in stacks, separated by more stacks, inside the old desk upstairs that I want to get rid of. But I can’t. Because it holds all my pictures.
    Anyhoo, this whole thing was wonderful and I agree one thousand percent on all points.
    Especially the scrapbooking.
    Bless ya, sister!

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      Christi

      I’m not sure a day has gone by since I met you that you haven’t made me laugh .. or cry … or look up toward heaven and say “Thank you” for this new encourager in my life. You are amazing. And we should start a “Just say NO to Scrapbooks” movement :) Love ya, girl!

  5. bluecottonmemory

    Such a good list! I’m not sure I would have believed anyone if they’d told me. I’ve had to learn through experience. I still have 2 at home – and somewhere along the way I have learned. I think we’re all better for it! So far, the ones out of the next haven’t really forgotten my mess-ups. I like to think one day they will. #5 – oh, yes – but if not for the hard I wouldn’t have learned so much about how much God loves!

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      Christi

      I love your affirmation that in the hard you’ve learned even more about God’s love. What a powerful witness to His sustaining armor in the battle! Thank you for sharing here!

  6. Kristin Hill Taylor

    Such wise words. I used to anticipate how I’d handle things, but I realize that living in the moment with the people I love most is the best approach. I like how you say we don’t have tomorrow’s grace yet. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

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  7. Karen Brown

    Oh, to be able to go back in time with such wisdom. I love your list- especially the “Having tomorrow’s grace” point. That is so wise- and so easily forgotten. I saw the school supply section last week and it took my breath away. So much of motherhood is not feeling ready, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing. Your words are a blessing :)

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      Christi

      Hi Karen! I love how you put that: “So much of motherhood is not feeling ready.” That is perfect. So enjoy making friends who are at this same stage of life through this beautiful medium!

  8. Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper

    This is such a great perspective! I’m in the middle of the trenches with a 4 year old, 2 year old and 6 month old. I always feel like I’m either not doing enough or just wasting my time away but I know deep down those are lies. Thanks for sharing this post, I needed to read it today!

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      Christi

      Oh, sister! I remember those days well. I’m so glad you “know” those are lies, but I also know that “knowing” and “feeling” are two different things :) I was often begging my mind to rule over my exhausted emotions when mine were the ages of yours. The work you are doing is so important. Thank you for allowing me to be a small cheerleader on your team!

  9. Debbie Kitterman

    Christi – Thanks so much for your post today. I love all the points you shared with such wisdom and grace for others to receive. My favorite reminder I don’t have tomorrows grace! So good!!! I can totally relate to seeing the school supplies, I just did this week at Target in fact and felt the exact same way, even though my kids are grown and no longer in need of them, I still felt a sadness that summer was soon coming to a close and all the sowing down and enjoying the time was passing way to fast and oh, wait – I haven’t slowed down at all …. Thank you for calming and refocusing me today -stopping by from #TheWeekendBrew

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      Christi

      Hi Debbie! Thank you for this affirmation that school supplies evoke anxiety in others :) Summer is way too brief for many of us. I appreciate your words of encouragement!

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  10. Holly Brown

    Thank you so much for linking this with us at Grace & Truth, I really needed to read it! It touched my heart so much that I want to feature it for next week’s round of the link-up, so be sure to come grab your “I’ve Been Featured” button next Friday!

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  11. helloredds

    This is really good stuff, Christi! I can’t wait to help you share this post!

    And, it does seem like the things that absolutely blew us away 10 years ago, hardly faze us today. With both of my kids in college, I now find myself patting and hugging and reassuring younger moms that everything will be okay. I’m starting to feel like the “older woman.”

    What wisdom you have shared!

    Found this post on Blessings Counter today.

    Hope you have a blessed day,
    Melanie

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      Christi

      I am SO loving getting to know you. Yes, I never imagined myself as “the older mom.” I’m so thankful God led me to blogging because through it, He surrounded me with incredible others at this exact stage who help me process my new place in the world since the mother role is changing. Glad to be preaching, “You’ll be ok,” alongside you, dear sister!

  12. Andrea

    I know perfection is not the goal :) but this post is perfect! Wisdom!! Can’t wait to share this with my readers.

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  13. Brenda

    Christ…thank you. What a gift this is to the weary-hearted mama (me) who’s nest is still full. Your words fall on these ears with a lot of weight and comfort. Thank you for taking the time to write them so eloquently. ((Hug)) Thrilled to have been neighboring you today at #DanceWithJesus.

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      Christi

      Oh, Brenda. Thank you. That’s one of the absolute sweetest things I can hear. And I’m sure you feel the same about your words. May your day be less weary and weekend simply wonderful! Take heart.

  14. michdeaven

    So much I love about this, but it’s all trumped by that sweet picture. Seriously though, I’m just sorry we didn’t get to read this blog when we were raising our littles, and yet we did it. Love you

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      Christi

      Oh, dear friend. We did not need a blog because we had a Friday group … and for me, I had YOU! But there is a vacuum out there for writing to parents of older kids. One I think you could help me fill with style. Whenever you decide to help me write a book on launching teens, I’m ready for you.

  15. Rachelle

    Ironically, I was literally at Target less tgat 2 hours ago, and I had this urge to get ALL the school supply shopping done this late night in July so that I could find everything for once! I’m still searching for perfectionism! I will never find it.

    Thank you, Christi, for screwing on your big girl pantyhose and posting this! We affect others the most when we venture out of our comfort zone, I think. Maybe I’ll take a page from your book… ;) Maybe I’m not that brave. I wish you were still here in Texas! We could discuss over a cup of coffee. My treat!

    Love, hugs, and blessings!
    Rachelle

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      Christi

      Rachelle, you make me laugh! I’d love coffee in Texas, but this time of year, it would have to be ICED! That’s one of the few things I don’t miss about the Promised Land ~July and August.

      Thanks for this encouragement. Initially, I was scared to death to put this out there. My mind played all sorts of tricks on me about whether anyone else felt this way. I woke up this morning to discover way more did than I ever imagined.

      I’m loving getting to know you!

  16. Anonymous

    Great post- the best advice I ever got is you are the only yardstick they don’t compare you they just love you

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  17. Elizabeth Spencer

    Such sweet, tender words, Christi! You are so right that “mothering is kingdom work.” We are shaping eternal souls, but what that looks like so often is making lunch or doing laundry or finding that thing that is absolutely, positively lost forever! This work matters. Which lends it its weight. Which is why those of us doing it need to encourage others who are doing it–as you have done so beautifully here. Thank you. (BTW, I looked the other way when I passed the school supply display today.)

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      Christi

      Elizabeth, you shower me with grace often. Thank you for these words. Laying my mama heart out for all to read about is the hardest thing I do, so dear friends offering dear words is so precious!

  18. Sonja Crutcher

    I groaned audibly today when I passed by the school supply aisle(s)! What a timely word, Christi. Thank you for these reflections. I pray that they become the survival ring thrown out to the mother that may be sinking under the responsibilities and/or the assault of the enemy. Please keep reminding us of the importance of the here and now. I needed that word today, friend.

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      Christi

      Oh my goodness, dear friend. Thank you for testifying that I’m not the only one. Many times I almost trashed this post, fearing I was revealing just how messed up I’ve been and assuming others struggled also. I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to say these words. They are golden!

You have something worth saying!