By Autumn Wall
INDIANAPOLIS (BP) — As a mom of three kids under the age of 6, I shift from day to day — thinking I can conquer the world (like when I actually get all three kids dressed and in the car in under an hour and a half) to feeling like the worst mom on the planet (like when my kid has a meltdown during that quiet moment of communion at church).
So, Mother’s Day can make every mom on the planet feel (even for a day) like a huge success.
Whether you’re crushing it as a mom or wishing you knew how to do things better, here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned as a mom:
1. Make your relationship with Jesus your No. 1 priority.
Make sure your kids know how much you need Jesus every day. Teach them to seek Him by modeling a dependency and desperation for His presence that they see every morning. Let them see you spending time with Jesus, reading your Bible and praying. Include them in your personal worship time every once in a while. Talk about what God is teaching you throughout the day. You don’t have to be perfect, just make sure your kids see you turning to Jesus in every situation.
2. Make your relationship with your husband the No. 2 priority.
So many parents focus so much on their kids that their marriage takes a back seat. My kids know that “daddy comes first” when it comes to my attention. They also know that they will have my full attention in just a minute, but when we’ve been going different directions for the day and finally get home, daddy always gets those first few moments no matter what else is going on. We budget for a weekly date night and protect it with everything we have. The two of us connecting, being on the same page, and enjoying each other is the best thing we can ever do for our kids.
3. Enjoy every season.
Take in the moments with your newborn, your chattering 6-year-old, your quiet teenager who finally took off her headphones or the phone call with your adult child. It’s easy to complain about the diapers, endless nights, irresponsibility or distance, but you can also always find joy in every season. Your kids know when you’re enjoying your job as mom or not. Even when it may not feel joyful in the moment, look for the joy in every season as it comes.
4. Find one-on-one time with each of your children.
This takes time and energy to plan out, but regularly add to your calendar some focused time with each kid. Find something they love to do and go do it. My 6-year-old loves slides. So when I take him out for one-on-one time, we go to a different playground each time that has a cool slide. My 3-year-old would rather go downtown to look at flowers and get ice cream. Take your children to a movie they’re interested in, play mini golf, get dinner at their favorite restaurant or just go for a walk or a hike. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to do something memorable. These times of engaging with your children will be times you treasure for years to come.
5. Teach your kids to love the church.
To be a part of the family of God is an amazing thing. In the church, your kids will learn life lessons that will carry into the rest of their lives. Instead of making church an occasional obligation, teach your kids to love the church. Include them in volunteer opportunities, take them on a mission trip, serve together as greeters. Make being in Sunday worship a priority for your family and show your kids by your presence and your attitude that loving Jesus means loving His bride, the church.
You can read plenty of great books on parenting and still feel like you don’t have a clue. Instead, take this Mother’s Day to enjoy and prioritize your family, and remember that you are blessed with an amazing responsibility to raise little Kingdom builders. “Train them up in the way they should go,” the familiar verse in Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “and when they are old, they will not depart from you.”
Autumn Wall, online at www.autumnwall.com, is an author, speaker, worship leader, pastor’s wife and mom of three in Indianapolis. She is the co-author of “Across the Street and Around the World” (New Hope Publishers).