wisdom from the trenches

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As a mom of littles, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel that you’ve dropped the ball by the time you drop yourself into bed each evening. There are SO many evenings when I tell my husband, “I was a bad mom today.” I’m not saying this as a pity party, but as a confession that I didn’t love my kids the way they needed to be loved that day (or so I think).

My sweet husband always responds with, “You were not! You are incredible!”

It’s sweet to hear from him, but it’s better to hear it from other mommies who have been in the day-to-day trenches with toddlers (am I right?).

So, I asked some veteran moms for advice as a way to find wisdom and encouragement for myself. Boy, am I glad I did!! I was blown away by their willingness and the time they put into their responses to me. Their nuggets of wisdom encouraged me SO much, that I HAVE to share with you.

I asked these moms to tell me their ONE regret from raising kids and the ONE thing they were happy they did with their kids.

Most ALL of the moms said that they were glad they stayed home with/homeschooled their children. Those who worked said that they regretted that they had to work. (Let me insert a note here, THIS IS MADNESS to think that you failed in any measure because you had to work outside of the home. When I read that response from some mothers, I wanted to find someway to pour love and understanding over their perfectly styled hair to let them know that IN NO WAY did their job cause them to fail their families in any regard! It’s completely opposite – they HAD to work to help their family, and so they did, ALL the while giving their families their love and time and energy when they were not at work.)

Reading this answer though, was an encouragement to me in the choice we’re making for me to stay home with my guys. Our budget is SO tight right now. I’m easily discouraged by it. But without knowing this, these moms overwhelmed me with encouragement that budgets are TIGHT, but that this sacrifice is worth it if it can be done.

“I wish I’d taught my kids about God in our home rather than leaving it to the church,” was a common regret. It broke my heart to hear these moms tell me their regrets – because I know how I feel about the regrets I have in my 4 years of experience – but their regrets were NEVER longer or more in number than the things they were happy they had done. THAT was encouraging to me! I am striving to make God an everyday conversation in our home. I want Him to be a regular topic with our boys. There are times when I feel that my efforts are lost on preschool ears that are too busy saving the world from bad guys or toddler ears that are too busy signing silly songs during devotions, but I know that God promised that His word would not return void. (See more on my thoughts here and here)

“I’m happy that our home was happy. Not only for our children, but their friends as well” I LOVED this! Having an open door to my guys’ friends is something I look forward to in the coming years. I’m sure my grocery bill will be THROUGH the roof, but I look forward to adding more goofy boys to this madness. I want wisdom to know how to love their friends and how to teach my guys to be hospitable and show God’s love with our home and the blessings He’s given to us.

“I regret…my poor time management…there were times that I let the housework consume me…I am sure they did not care that the rug had vacuum marks on it.” THIS. THIS is me. I connected with this because I struggle to manage what NEEDS done and what I SHOULD be doing with my guys. I am constantly struggling with guilt over not spending enough time with them, all the while, my mother tells me that I spend TOO much time with them. I have wished that someone would give me their daily schedule so that I could see how much time they spend with their children compared to tasks and errands that need completed. This is a battle. But it is somewhat encouraging to hear from a veteran mom of grown boys that this can also be a big regret. I don’t want to regret doing housework more than enjoying my little boys. But I also want to be realxed in my home that isn’t overrun by tasks left undone. this is a battle that is still going in my mind…

“I love that we always had dinner together”

“I love that I kept a journal…don’t get hung up on missed days, but pick up where you left off”

“I’m so happy we did storytime every day”

Hearing that these little every day things ended up being the BIG things was encouraging. Over and over, these moms told me that the little things were the things they were so glad that they did. Listening to your child, playing, just being together, praying together, eating together…so easy and apparently, so impactful.

While I share in some regrets with these moms, I know that my guys are young enough that I can change and not have those same regrets. I’m sure I’ll have regrets – like every mom, but I pray that I can number my days and focus on the task before me (three little round baby boy faces).

I pray I can focus on these guys and my calling to raise them to be Godly men instead of having the cleanest carpet on the block (….lol…the hundreds of embedded cereal crumbs in my carpets will make sure that never happens!).

Thank you to all of the moms who shared with me! I am so thankful that you took the time to invest in me with your wisdom! I have SO much more from you to share, there will be another blog post to come because your experience were too helpful to keep to myself!

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