As yet another dear friend waits with bated breath for the arrival of her precious little girl, I lay here reminded. Oh, am I reminded. In fact, I should be sleeping peacefully for two hours already, but the memories keep rolling over me. I have had such a wealth of love and experience in my journey as “Mom.”
- Was I the perfect mom? Not a chance.
- Do I deserve a trophy for “MomAwesomeness”? (Ooooh, wouldn’t that be nice?! Is there even such a thing?) No, I’m afraid there will always be someone more awesome.
- Was I real? Definitely.
- Did I do my best with what I knew at the time? Absolutely!
If only I could relive those early years with the wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and the healthy dose of ‘perspective’ that I now possess. I’m not ready for teenagers to leave home and head to college! I’ve finally mastered the art of raising toddlers, managing homework, and wading through the hormonal years.
So, my dear friends, before the passion lifts and I fall into a dreamless sleep, here’s what I’m brewing about. If I were to turn back the clock and start the MOM-journey again, this is what I would say. This is what I would promise. This is what I believe about parenting…
MY MANIFESTO OF MOTHERHOOD
♥ I WILL LOVE YOU, each one of you, uniquely and passionately! I will not show favourites. There will never be a competition for who has more of my heart for with every child that is added to this family, just like the Grinch who Stole Christmas, my heart will “grow three sizes in one day.” I will not run out of love for you.
♥ I will love you by FEEDING MY SOUL with good things so that I have an overflow of love and acceptance to give you. I will take ‘ME-time’ regularly and not let myself become depleted. I will feed my mind with things that stimulate, educate, and inspire. I will always learn something new so that you can follow my footsteps.
♥ I will love you by LOVING MY BODY that nurtures you. Not just for nine months, I’m talking about forever. To the best of my ability, I will stay strong and healthy. Like Proverbs 31 says, “She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.”
♥ I will love you by FEEDING MY SPIRIT with God, the true and living God. It is He who empowers me to speak and behave like His heart toward you. I will read the Word, I will pray, and I will worship so that the atmosphere in our home feels as familiar as the place you just came from.
♥ I will SERVE YOU FAITHFULLY, even when you wake me up… again. I will prepare for those long nights when you suffer ‘baby jetlag’ and decide to play rather than sleep. Perhaps we will sing, perhaps we will cuddle, or perhaps I will read books that take me on my own adventure so that we can enjoy the night hours together.
♥ I will love and EMBRACE YOU whenever you need me, but I will also gently and patiently teach you to SLEEP in your own bed. Yes, it may take hours of camping on your floor and holding your hand through the bars, but you’ll grow in confidence and peace of mind. You are worth it.
♥ I will regularly sneak into your room while you’re sleeping and KISS YOU GOODNIGHT. Don’t fight it―it’s just what Moms do. Someday, you’ll miss that.
♥ I will PLAY on the floor with you as much as possible. Puzzles, trains, cars, Barbies, or whenever you just need some attention. You name it, let’s play. Dishes can wait.
♥ I will patiently teach you to ORGANIZE your toys and clean up your mess before starting another. I will invest in organizing ‘stuff’ so that we can live in order and enjoy it. It’s never too early to be an ‘organization diva’ (sorry, boys, ‘organization master’).
♥ I will MAKE A MESS with you more often. It’s creative, it’s stimulating, and it’s downright fun!
♥ I will give you permission to HATE certain foods, but I’ll also teach you to keep trying them. ‘Cause you never know when your taste buds might change… “Today might be the day!”
♥ I will READ TO YOU, regularly and faithfully. I will stop the busyness of my evening schedule, put the chores on hold, and ignore the emails a while longer, just so that we can explore Narnia together. (Those memories with you still keep me warm on rainy days.)
♥ I will teach you MUSIC, art, and creativity! Paying customers will have to stand-in-line because you are worth the investment.
♥ I will teach you that, even though school may not be fun right now, you can give yourself to learning just so that you can ENJOY THE FEELING OF KNOWLEDGE. It feels good to know stuff. Learning is FUN! Everyone learns―even mommy and daddy learn.
♥ I will not protect you from boredom―FUN IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. In fact, boredom is a critical ingredient for creativity and discovery. “Go, make some fun.”
♥ I will teach you to BE KIND by how I speak to you, how I discipline you, how I serve you, and how I treat your dad. From my mouth and my actions, you will regularly hear the words, “Stay sweet.”
♥ I will help you FACE YOUR FEARS by showing you when I face mine. Spiders, snakes, sharks, and yes, even birds. You will see me conquer my fears, moment-by-moment, day-by-day so that you can also conquer yours.
♥ I will stop, listen, and HEAR YOU when you speak to me. I will also teach you to be respectful and patient while you wait for your turn to speak (after all, there are usually five people needing my attention at the same time).
♥ I will CELEBRATE YOUR LIFE with honour and significant celebration each time you have a birthday or special event. Parties celebrate the miracle of another year together!
♥ I will teach you to BE GENEROUS with your time, your efforts, your love, and your possessions. I know it may feel like you can’t make everyone happy, but that’s ok. Like Mother Theresa said, “Give your best anyway.”
♥ I will teach you to BE POWERFUL―laundry, cooking, cleaning, yard work. Knowing stuff is empowering. And I will also teach you to SERVE WELL as you learn these things. Family chores are normal and healthy. You don’t get paid for serving―chores are your rent for living in our house and eating our food. You belong.
♥ I will show you that you can do things you don’t like to do, and it won’t kill you. Dad and I do it all the time. It’s ok. “YOU’RE WELCOME TO HATE IT, BUT YOU STILL HAVE TO DO IT.” There are too many people who shortchange their success in life because they never learned to push past their ‘feelings.’
♥ I will INVEST in your gifts and talents. You are worth extra math tutoring, guitar lessons, drum lessons, voice lessons, and chemical peels at the skin clinic. You are worth it!
♥ I will create memories and FAMILY TRADITIONS and show you how to make a ‘HOME’ wherever you are. I will show you how to be ‘Family.’
♥ I will INVITE PEOPLE into our home and, in so doing, will show you how to honour those who are different from you. The world is so big! By the way, this is also the best way to deal with homesickness―loneliness is best cured by opening up your heart to others.
♥ I will open up our home for your FRIENDS, and I will teach you to recognize which friends are good for you and which ones are not. But I will also allow you to make bad choices without an “I told you so” at the end. There will always be an open door here.
♥ I will stay awake and PRAY like crazy until the key turns in the door and I know that you are home safe and sound. That’s just what Moms do.
♥ I will show you that weak people also WORSHIP. Yes, I may be grumpy on the way to church, but that won’t stop me from completely engaging God in worship. No, it doesn’t make me a hypocrite. In fact, worshipping fully makes me a better mom because it washes out the ‘grumpy me’ and fills me with Jesus.
♥ I will show you how to love and honour your future spouse by HOW I TREAT YOUR DAD, even when he doesn’t deserve it (and vice versa). We will model forgiveness and real love in front of you.
♥ I will show you Jesus by BEING REAL ABOUT MY FAITH and allowing you to participate in my process. We will pray together for a miracle and then rejoice together at the breakthrough. We will talk openly about spiritual things and allow you to discover Jesus for yourself.
♥ I will willingly ALLOW MY HEART TO BREAK when my little birdies leave the nest. And even though it may take you thousands of miles away, I will be happy for you because I will know that you are doing exactly what God has set before you. And despite the fact that food will cease to have flavour for three months, I will choose to RELEASE YOU TO YOUR DESTINY.
♥ And once you are no longer under my roof, I WILL PRAY EVEN MORE for you, knowing that our Father has your life in His hands, and He wants the best for you even more than I do!