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Maybe you’re like me and don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to figuring out how to be a mom. If you are like me, I only know what not to do. I was raised in a horrible environment, so deciding to have children brought a lot of questions. Will I be able to figure out how to treat them better than how I was treated? Or will I fail and abuse them? But once my first little one arrived, I knew that I could conquer motherhood. My love for my children far outweighs all the evil I endured. I’ve come up with 12 tips to fake it until you make it. Even if we don’t have anything to draw on from when we were children, it’s still possible to be amazing mothers. It’s possible for your children to never feel the effects of your past. It may not be natural, but we can keep trying until it is.
Mama, listen closely, God gave this child to you. He formed your child in your womb. There is no one out there better to be their mama than you are.
1. Find a good mom friend and watch and learn
Find mother’s that enjoy their children and make an effort to impact their lives. You don’t have to follow every choice they make in their parenting, but find what works and fits for your family. Take the best examples and implement them.
This is what got me through life, gleaning wisdom from others. Watching mothers interact with their families gave me hope that I could do the same with mine.
Remember -Your children have nothing to compare to.
So while you may think you’re failing, your children know that they are loved. They see all your effort and it makes a difference in their lives. They don’t see how Betty Crockertown from two streets over builds a three-story fort with her children every day. What they do see is their mom who loves them and is doing her very best.
2. Pray for wisdom
This will fill in the gaps. When I don’t know what to do, I pray. I pray for wisdom in moments where I’m lost, and God always comes through for me. He will come through for you also if you diligently seek Him. Yes, pray in those moments, and pray daily that He will provide you with His wisdom to overcome the hard places.
The bible says that if we seek wisdom, we will find it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
In the moments where you’re lost, and you’re trying to think of what to do, pray. Pray for Him to show you the way.
3. Draw from the Proverbs 31 mom
She wasn’t just a wife. She was also a mommy. The Proverbs 31 woman seems like an image of perfection. Will we ever be able to achieve being her? I have no clue. But just because she seems perfect, does not mean we shouldn’t strive to be more like her. These are prime examples of what being a loving mother looks like. She is caring, meticulous, thoughtful, resourceful. Who she is at her core benefits her entire family. She is selfless. Don’t let the image of perfection make you lose hope of who you can be. We cannot be perfect mothers, no one is. But we can try our best to be as close as possible. Here’s a list of devotionals that will help in your mothering:
4. A blank slate is a blessing
Most of us who don’t know how to be parents are probably the results of bad childhood environments. We know what not to do. And although it’s hard to not fall into the habits formed by our parents, reading this tells me that you are already determined not to. I used to use my past as an excuse not to have children, maybe you have too. But then I looked at it as an opportunity. An opportunity to get parenting done right. We may not have a clue what we’re doing, but we do know what children need because it is what we lacked. We get to make our own rules, our own fun and our own memories. Let’s give them everything we never had.
5. Lose your selfishness
This is huge. For any parent. Having a child is a huge sacrifice. A sacrifice of your former life. Where you were free to make choices that only affected you. When you were free to leave the house without a crying baby, a diaper bag, a breast pump, hand sanitizer and 300 million wipes. Now you have to be prepared to cancel plans because your child needs a nap or is sick. There is no more just you, it’s you and this little bundle of joy that you have been blessed with. Almost everything we do affects them. All of our choices, dreams, desires- affect them. If you can remember that, to lose your selfishness then you will already be an amazing parent.
6. Make every day better than the last
There are days where failure seems permanent. Like no matter what, you’ll never get it right, you’ll always disappoint your children. You’ll think they would have been better off with another mom. Don’t listen to those lies. God chose you. He knew what He was doing and He never makes mistakes. Yes, today may have been an epic failure, but there is a clean slate tomorrow. Matter fact, there is a clean slate right now. Your children may think you have a split personality because you screamed at them all day and now you smile and talk in a calm voice. But that calm voice is what makes a difference. Purpose yourself to make small changes, so that they will become big changes. Those changes can be your new permanent. Striving to be better never hurt anyone.
7. Find something special for just you and your child to share
Some parents have a hard time bonding with their children. Your child probably isn’t going to be born with your personality. We should raise children we love to be around. And we should have special things with each of our children that we all cherish. For example, I have a special kiss with each of my sons. For my oldest, we rub our cheeks together and then I kiss him on his forehead. With my middle son, he kisses me once on each cheek and then we give each other an Eskimo kiss (he’s the more affectionate child). My youngest is too young, but I can’t wait to see what we come up with. Plan a special date with your child. Play a special game, have a favorite song you share. Something. Create more and more of these so that your bond grows stronger and stronger. They will know that they are someone special to you. It gives them something to cherish for a lifetime.
8. Create new traditions
The beauty about parenting is that it is a fresh start. We can do what we want right? So let’s create traditions. And they don’t even have to be “traditional”. You want to celebrate your child’s half birthday? Do it. You want to go to the movies every year on Christmas? Do it. Find something fun you can do with your children every year that they might want to pass down to their children. Create memories. Look on Pinterest, there are lots of ideas. Find something your family loves and make it spectacular for a particular day of the year. Give them something to hold onto and do with their children.
9. Aim to make your children laugh every day
This has been my goal since my first son was born. Does it happen every day? Probably not. But I think it’s a nice goal to have. Because if you’re aiming to make them laugh, then that is something being shared between you and them, even if it’s only for a minute of every day. You’re bonding with your child. And if they’re laughing, then they are happy. I don’t want my children to look back and think about all the things they had, I want them to see that we made them happy.
10. Introduce them to something you love
What are your hobbies? What do you love to do? Include them. Yes, as parents we should have something to de-stress us that is just our own. But I’m sure there’s something in your life you can share with your child. For me, it’s baking. I love to bake. And even though I’m a horrible control freak, I’ve learned how to bake with my children without having a meltdown because only half the flour makes it into the recipe. Find something to include them in, plan for failure at first, then plan for them to get better at it. I can’t wait for mine to grow up and tell their children, “my mom taught me this”.
11. Play with them at their level
Not only is it good to involve them with your hobbies, get involved with theirs. Does your son love to build legos? Look up a YouTube video of something awesome to make together. Does your daughter love to have tea parties? Have a tea party. Are they older and they love something else? Try to like it. It’s not something you have to do every day, but they’ll appreciate you taking the time to understand their hobbies and join them.
12. Make goals
Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Is it your goal to not lose your temper for the day? Or to take your children somewhere fun this week? Or implement a new schedule with them this month? Stop yelling by the end of the year? Make some goals. Because it gives direction. If we want to become more “natural”, then we’re going to have to work for it. If you don’t accomplish the goal that day or week, then set it again and keep trying. Don’t give up. You can do this. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Just because you have no clue what you’re doing, doesn’t mean that you can’t learn. There are so many good examples out there to glean from that you can implement into your parenting. There are small things you can do every day with your children to create a closer bond and build a strong relationship. And remember, you are the only mama they have, which means they have no one to compare too. Don’t believe the lies that you can’t do this mama, you can.