I’ve been a mother for 21 years now. The act of typing that out alone seems strange to me. At times, it has all been such a flash of diaper changing, nursing, potty training, first days of school, holidays, birthdays, and summer breaks. Amid all the highlights and memories are the ordinary everyday days. You know the ones I’m talking about? The ones when it seems that no one slept through the night or everyone forgot their homework or lunch. When naptime is held as carefully as gold and bedtime is secretly anticipated. Because even though you love your kids with every fiber of your being, for heaven’s sake, a small break just to think without interruptions would be stellar, right? You remember that moment when you looked in the eyes of your child and felt you couldn’t love him or her more? Only to find out a few minutes later that he or she had managed to destroy something you thought was unbreakable? While you were in that luxurious 3-minute shower?
Every season of motherhood carries its own challenges. But the early years of motherhood are particularly physically demanding. Although I had an incredible mother as a role model, I found myself often discouraged and feeling inadequate as a young mom. My husband and I had no family living close by and he worked nightshift. I remember reaching out to another mom at church who was a little beyond my place in motherhood. She had no little ones, but she had a special needs child as I did. I admired her greatly and worked up the courage to ask her over for coffee. I was simply hoping to share a cup of coffee and conversation. When she showed up with a bag of recommended parenting books and a stern look of disapproval at the crumbs on my table, I felt a pit in my stomach. Needless to say, I could hardly wait for the conversation to be over and I never asked her to come back. She didn’t understand my world and her visit only made me feel more incompetent. I’m sorry to say that it took a few years before my boldness to reach out to other moms returned.
Today I wanted to share with you my encouragement list as a young mom. These are the small things that folks either did for me over the years or I wished someone would do until I learned better self-care habits.
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By his grace,