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Parenting Perspective: Do This ONE Thing Well

A few years ago, I overhead a child telling my son not to dare complain about his mother. This other child said I was the best mom in the whole world and my son was extremely lucky to have me. I was flabbergasted. I had no idea what I'd done in front of the other child to give him this opinion of me, but it was equally touching and heart-breaking. What kind of a mother does he have that made me stand out in comparison?

Seriously, folks. I'm loud and often grumpy. I can be paralyzed with overwhelm and I have ADHD. I disconnect and don't remember to do things like laundry, dishes, and buying milk. I never did get an answer from the other child, who appeared to me to come from a very good home, but it got me wondering. If there's any advice about how I parent that makes me stand out, I want to suggest that you do this one thing well. Express your love.

I express my love to my children freely, often, and likely excessively.

These children have never had any doubt that their mother loves them, is completely obsessed with them, shamelessly enamored by them, and would go to war for them if it was necessary. I know in some families, it's believed to be better if the mother doesn't express herself in that way to her children. Maybe they think it makes you appear weak or will give children "a big head" (fill them with unhealthy pride). Whatever! I am their mother. I grew them inside my body. If I'm not completely obsessed with them and enamored by them, who will be? Who SHOULD be besides their mother? As far as I'm concerned, THIS IS MY JOB.

As a Christian, it's our job to reflect God's love to the world. If we don't start at home, with our family, what good is our love? Let God's love to be brought to "full expression" in you. 1 John 4:7-12 gives a great perspective on God's love. I've linked it here for you.

My children are MY business. Besides my husband, nothing else in my whole life will ever be my business the way they are right now. I know this will change as they get older, but right now, everything about them is my business. We talk about most things, and I do my best to let them get out all their thoughts and ideas about whatever subject they want to discuss. Sometimes, that makes me want to crawl out of my body and be anywhere else until they finish, but I force myself to at least appear to be engaged with whatever they're saying. There are very few times when I've ever told them I don't want to hear them talk. I teach them manners and expect them not to interrupt or talk over other, but within the boundaries of courtesy, I let them ramble on about whatever. I also try really hard to find something reasonable to say in response.

When my preteen daughter comes downstairs for breakfast, rumpled, grumpy, and sometimes unwashed (what is the problem with showers, I'd like to know?), I've been known to make a beeline for her. I wrap my arms around her, kiss her head, and instruct her stiff and resistant body in the proper way to hug. "It takes two arms, kiddo. Come on. Give it a try. Oh, you want me to let you go? Let's get a proper hug in first."

A good hug almost always brings a giggle with it. Suddenly, she's out of her funk and ready to engage. It makes her laugh to crush my bones with her hugs, and it's surprising how strong she is! On a good morning, I pick the little guy up and fly him from one end of the island to the other, landing him in his seat in front of his breakfast. I find the middle child curled up with his book in a corner and rub his feet for a minute. I ask him if he wants me to make him breakfast and he looks up with gratitude and says, "yes, please."

What I wouldn't do for that kid... He's too big to fly around the room in my arms these days, but he still lets me kiss his forehead. I tell them they're handsome and beautiful, make them change their clothes to actually match, and fix their hair. They are my most precious treasures, and I'll continue to express my love for them in age-appropriate ways for the rest of my life. I remember well the days when all I wanted was to be a mother. God's given me a great gift.

I'm not the most energetic mom, the one playing soccer with them in the yard or spending hours helping them with homework. I've forgotten to pick them up at school and accidentally given them too much medicine and yelled at them in frustration. But I'm the one who will cuddle with them, the one who makes sure they know there's no one better in the world to me than them. I'm the mom who finds a way to get their eyes sparkling again when they've gone dull.

Parents should be their children's' biggest fans. We should be the ones they call when they succeed and want someone to celebrate with them. We should be the ones who encourage them in every area where they have at least a little talent. Our words matter. The way we look at them matters. It's so important to put down your phone, look them in the eye, and make a connection every day. I'm not advocating for telling them they're better at something than they actually are, or smothering them with unwanted affection. I'm advocating for taking about two minutes every day to make sure they know how much they're loved.

I know from talking to my friends with teenagers that it gets so much harder. Sometimes they turn into strangers who push you away, and irritation and frustration try to take over. I've never been the parent of a teenager, but I was an adult when my brother (11 years younger than me) turned into a prickly, confusing, infuriating kid who tried really hard to intimidate and keep me at arm's length. I decided not to let him push me away. He was MY brother, and I was going to love him no matter what. I did whatever it took to break down his walls, and when he realized I wasn't going to give up, he let me see that he was still in there. The kid I knew. When he pushed me away again, I'd remind myself of what he was like when he was an adorable little boy who looked up to me, and my heart was full of tenderness again. Don't let those teenagers intimidate you. Remember how sweet and innocent they used to be, tap into those feelings, and let your love shine through your eyes when you look at them.

It matters.



P.S. There's a local women's conference coming up in a few weeks! We need YOU to be there. You will experience God's presence and power as we worship together. I'm scheduled to speak on Saturday, right after lunch. I hope I see you there!

Bloom Again Women's Conference 2024
It won't be the same without YOU.


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