3 Meaningful Ways to Make Motherhood Count
If you want to make your motherhood count – and if you know you need to transform your outlook and approach to mothering – here are 3 steps to take today.
Before I became a mom, I never lacked a shortage of parenting ideas. Someday I would write notes to my kids to encourage them. I’d teach them certain songs, plan fantastic family date days, and decorate their bedrooms in such cute ways.
But a surprising thing happened when I finally did become a mom. All my good intentions and meticulous plans disappeared in a brain fog, as I discovered how tough it was to juggle real life and raising children.
Sure, I still had good intentions. But as weeks turned into months and months turned into years, I discovered just how quickly my children’s childhoods were slipping by. And any romantic ideas of what their childhoods should include were quickly getting choked out by the tyranny of the urgent.
In the day to day busyness of life, I’ve sadly found it’s too easy just to try to survive instead of thrive. And as much as I want to instill important values to help guide my children’s lives, the important is often drowned by the noisy din of everyday life.
As a mom, I know all too well that good intentions can backfire – or completely disappear if I don’t act upon my ideas. And if I let myself dwell on everything that isn’t going right, then I set myself up for discouragement and defeat.
Personally, I’m tired of focusing on the wrong things as a mom – whether it’s the outward appearance of my kids or a clean house or the myth of “well-rounded” children.
I’m tired of letting the busyness of life overwhelm me and crowd out the uber-important blessing of raising my children for a few short years.
And I’m not willing to let the rest of my children’s lives at home rush by in a blur.
If you’re like me and want to make your motherhood count – and if you know you need to transform your outlook and approach to mothering – here are 3 steps to take today:
3 Meaningful Ways to Make Motherhood Count
1. Know where you’re going.
At my church, a huge display of 18 marble jars are arranged outside the nursery. Each jar represents one year of life – and each jar holds as many marbles as weeks your child still has at home. While the 1-year-old’s jar is brimming with marbles, the 18-year-old’s jar has just 52 marbles. It’s such a measly amount in such a huge jar.
That display freaks me out every single week, because I’m reminded that time is slipping away with my children. As each week passes by, how have I built into my son and daughter? What petty arguments have we had that chip away at our relationship? Most importantly, how have I pointed each of them toward Jesus?
Since time is going to pass anyway, and since our children will get older and leave our nests, it’s not too late to decide what we need to impart to our sons and daughters. It doesn’t matter if they’re toddlers or teenagers – they’re under our influence in our homes. And we, as moms, need to make the most of that influence.
In the next week, set aside time to think of the end game. What would you like to know you’ve passed along to your children by the time they graduate high school?
- How would you like their faith to grow?
- What would you like to trust God for in their spiritual walks?
- What life skills do they need to know?
- What books – and music and artwork and movies and foods – would you like to expose them to?
- Where do you need to visit as a family?
- Who do you need to visit as a family?
- What personal stories do you need to share with them?
- What values would you love to pass along to them?
As you think about what important things you’d like to pass along to your children, write everything down. Make plenty of notes and create bucket lists. If you don’t write it down, it will be far too easy to forget.
Instead of focusing on the urgency of your daily to-do lists, really think about how you’d ideally like to shape your child’s life. And then figure out what approximate ages you should do everything.
If your children are younger, you have much more time. (Don’t fritter this time away, though. Like the fable of the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race.)
And if your children are older, it’s time to get down to business! It’s not too late to shape their lives.
2. Pay attention to your children.
The advice to pay attention to your children might sound ridiculous. After all, isn’t that just part of mothering?
But just as it’s easy to lose sight of parenting’s big picture, it’s also easy to forget to seriously pay attention to your children. It’s hard to not get distracted by electronic devices, texts and messages, work schedules, or even cleaning your home.
As moms, it’s not like you have to devote all of your attention to your children all day, every day. Quite the contrary. But failing to give them any real, meaningful attention can become a huge problem.
So what are some simple ways to show you’re paying attention?
- Simply look into your child’s eyes when he or she is talking to you. Your eye contact can be a huge signal that you’re paying attention and are interested.
- Take time at the dinner table to ask and listen about everyone’s days.
- Willingly listen at bedtimes – sometimes the one time of the day your son or daughter really wants to open up – can feel like a sacrifice, but it’s such a good thing. Yes, you may be tired with your own long day and you’d just like a break, but there’s something about bedtime that makes even the most reserved children want to open up and share what they’re thinking about.
- Try turning away from screens and actually do something with your children. Play a game. Cook something together. Treat them out to a surprise lunch. Your effort just might make them feel like you’re a haven for them.
3. Seek the Lord for guidance and help.
As moms, it’s really easy to focus on the here and now. Why is my child acting in this particular way right now? What can I do to change it?
Whether it’s a toddler’s temper tantrum or a teenager’s mood swing, moms get caught up in reacting to emotions or trying to figure out how to curb a particular behavior.
This tendency to focus on the right-now chokes out a far greater eternal perspective. But keeping an eternal perspective is the ultimate obligation for a mother.
God has entrusted you with your specific children for a reason. You are the one who has the most influence in your son’s or daughter’s life – not only practically, but also prayerfully. Chances are, no one else in this world will feel compelled to pray for your child as you do.
Realizing this can feel overwhelming. It’s daunting to try to figure out what to do or where to even start.
The good news is that with prayer and the Lord’s help, you can make a difference. You can use your influence as a mother to point your children to Christ – whether it’s found in your grace-filled approach to parenting, or in the way you lovingly direct your children to the Bible for help with everyday issues.
Help in becoming a heavenly minded mom
Still wish you had some sort of a guide to keep an eternal mom perspective? With Katie Bennett’s new book, Heavenly Minded Mom: A 90-Day Journey to Embrace What Matters Most, you don’t have to try to figure everything out on your own.
Heavenly Minded Mom is an amazing resource for moms who want to make an eternal difference in their children’s lives. Unlike most devotionals, it isn’t filled with fluff or simple little quips to help inspire your motherhood. (Frankly, I’ve stopped reading devotionals since too many of them only include trite inspiration or cute little stories. And this mama doesn’t have time for that.)
Instead, Katie has poured a whole lot of necessary exhortation into the daily readings. This book is filled with huge, important topics every Christian mom needs to think about – but most women shy away from pondering.
So many current Christian books tickle the reader’s ears, but Heavenly Minded Mom won’t waste your time with that. It’s like Katie gives you the beautiful gift of taking 90 days to peel away the unnecessary parts of your mothering, then replace the unwanted with lasting, eternal truths.
Each daily devotional is short and to the point – yet filled with biblical truth. And each day’s message cuts to the core of what you or your child might be lacking and leaves you with plenty to ponder.
Heavenly Minded Mom is divided into three sections – each section can last an entire month month.
- The first month focuses on Tilling Up the Soil: An Assault of the Idols of Your Heart. (If you’re like me, you’ll wake up to the truth that your life is filled with more idols than you typically care to admit. And you’ll realize that it’s time to get rid of them.)
As Katie explains, “The first section is designed to open your eyes to the meaninglessness of the things we too often wrongfully align our hearts with and devote our lives to. The purpose of the first thirty days is to till up the soil of your heart and prepare it for the seeds of eternal perspective God wants to plant.”
- The second section, Cultivating the Seeds of Eternity: A New Way of Seeing helps you formulate a deeper perspective. In this month of devotions, Katie demonstrates “how to think and interpret life with a mind and heart set on eternity.”
- And the final month’s devotions pours meaning back into your life. Apprehending Meaning: The Eternal Worth In Your Daily Living is filled with inspiration, like a big, meaningful pep talk. “The tasks, pursuits, and endeavors that were stripped of meaning at the onset of this book will be reenlivened with a different, deepened, Christ-centered sense of possibility and lasting meaning,” Katie writes.
Each month definitely builds on the previous month, and by the end of three months, you can expect much change in your perspective, life and mothering.
I was fortunate enough to read and ponder Heavenly Minded Mom this winter; it has been one of the most impactful books I’ve read in years.
Making motherhood count
As you know where you want to go as a mom, pay attention to your children, and seek the Lord for His guidance and help, you’ll begin to transform your outlook and approach to mothering.
By setting aside some time to thoughtfully approach these 3 tips, you can recapture your good intentions. You can teach yourself to push aside the meaningless distractions of everyday life. And you can remember to focus on the uber-important blessing of raising your children for a few short years.
In the process, you’ll begin to make motherhood count.
As a mom, what are some things you do to make motherhood count?
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