My mum recently turned 80 and I was and still am grateful to God Almighty, for He is the One that keeps and preserves life. As I thanked God for keeping us all, my siblings and our dad to see the lovely day, I reflected on the values and virtues I had learnt from my mum, and although many, the focus will be on parenting. Below are some of the powerful lessons from my mum which have formed a core of my parenting journey. Here goes:-
A prayer life
I learnt the importance of prayer from my mum. Mummy would pray about anything and everything. I remember going out with her driving, and I would hear her praying for a parking spot. As a young child, I thought she was wasting God’s time but indeed He always answered and it felt like magic.
Every mum needs prayer for the journey of motherhood. A conversation with God, prayer, should be a constant exercise as we would do with a best friend. God is interested to hear our tales about parenting and every other thing. Nothing is too small or big to bring before God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we are told to, ‘Pray without ceasing’ and while we are still speaking about our issues, God hears and answers (Isaiah 65:24).
No one knows what the parenting journey holds. Although we all wish for a perfect journey with no bumps along the way, it is never always the case. I have found prayer to be a tremendous source of strength in dark seasons and in good times too. Our prayers should not be reactive but a proactive act, where we speak ahead of issues and call forth the things we want as though they already are (Romans 4:17).
As the last child of my family, born in the 70s, my mum ensured I had routines. Some of the set routines included waking up at 6 am during the school term and going to bed at 8.30 pm every night, except when I pleaded for an extra 30 mins to watch a TV sitcom. These routines and many others provided me with a sense of security and calm as a young child.
Daily routines help structure time, provide order and make the (early) parenting years a lot manageable (from The Stress Free Mum, a practical guide for the foundation years). Even the Bible instructs that ‘everything is done properly in a good and orderly way’ (1 Corinthians 14:40 Living Bible).
Routines help alleviate stress for parents and children because everyone knows what to expect per time and there is room to prepare beforehand. I share details of how I set routines in the new release – The Stress Free Mum, a practical guide for the foundation years (revised edition).
Mummy supported my dreams as a young child who wanted to do everything from being a member of the Brownies (Girls’ Guide), to writing short stories and to my desperate desire to go to Boarding school. I am so glad my mum supported my dream to go to Boarding school because that was where I found Jesus.
As a parent, it may not always be possible to meet the desires of children due to financial constraints or the outrageous nature of the demand (children can ask for the weirdest of things), but by listening, talking and praying about it with them, we show that we care. And interestingly, children never forget how we make them feel even when they become parents themselves.
How have we made our children feel? Do we just respond with the words ‘No’ every time they ask for something? I used to be that way but learnt and still learning by the day. Let’s be the mum that is the child’s number one fan. Let’s be the mum our children run to first, no matter what. Let’s be the one that will stand by them when the whole world walks out. Many loved ones have walked away, many have looked the other way hoping that no one will notice, but the children do and they don’t forget.
You see, it is not too late to start over. I have found in Jesus that no issue (or wrong) is too grave for Him. In Him, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). In Him, we can have a fresh start. Today is another opportunity to support our children and to be there for them no matter what, not just by our words but our actions.
My mum was always on hand to help out when I had my babies and I do remember whenever she saw them first thing every morning, she would smile and say to them, ‘You are blessed and highly favoured’. She also said it when she gave them their daily bath or top and tail, as she called it.
As I thought about this, I tried hard to think of moments when my mum was upset and you see, no matter how angry she got, she never insulted me or used demeaning words. It must have taken her great inner strength to hold herself back, especially in those days when it seemed acceptable to do so, in society. I have practised this lesson following God’s word in Proverbs 18:21 that, ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof’. There is a chapter dedicated to ‘Speaking Life’ over our children in my new release, so do get a copy. It sure would bless you.
As mums, the words we speak over our children matter. We have the choice to break them, build them or stay mute – we decide.
Things to consider as I conclude
- Think about good parenting lessons from an older relative and start practising it on your parenting journey, if you haven’t done so already.
- Reflect on areas in your parenting, where you would love to make changes and prayerfully ask God for help.
Till next time by God’s grace,
It’s the Stress Free Mum
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