As my children are getting older and more independent, I cannot help but think back to those first days I was brave enough to venture out of the house to my very first moms’ Bible study group.
I was tired. No, I was EXHAUSTED! And I was overwhelmed with all that came with my new role as a mom. The idea of a tiny little baby being so absolutely reliant and dependent on me was a lot for me to take.
I particularly remember watching a mom with three children, two of whom could actually walk on their own, and thinking that she had arrived. She had made it through the rough patches and yet obviously decided to go at it again since she also held a tiny baby in her arms.
She was my hope.
Now my own three children are 6, 9 and 10 years old and I do feel like I have arrived. They have achieved (somewhat of) independence days!
My sweet children can walk all on their own! They can dress themselves and feed themselves! They can make their own beds and load and unload the dishwasher! And now, even when we don’t get seats together on an airplane trip, I no longer worry. Plus, they make me laugh. They amaze me with so many of their observations. And sometimes they remind me to pray.
My kids truly are gifts from God… and I am only at the very beginning. I cannot wait to see what else they will have in store over the years ahead as they grow.
Now I look at parents of older children and recognize that I am in a sweet spot of parenting. My kids are somewhat independent, and yet they recognize that they still need me. Their lives are still largely intwined in mine and all play dates (which are no longer allowed to be called playdates) are supervised in some way.
As I’ve seen from my days as a foreign exchange host parent, there will come a day when I won’t know everyone they hang out with. They will do things without parents around. They will be forced to make decisions I cannot help with in the moment.
And then they will continue in their independence and truly no longer need me.
It my job to prepare them exactly for that. God picked me and my husband to be their parents to prepare them for a life without us around every day.
And so we talk about fun things and the tough things. We remind them to call out for the Holy Spirit. We remind them to pick up their own toys and put them away. We require them to do jobs around the house as part of our ‘team’ or family.
And they are growing more independent each and every day. And they continue to amaze me.
If you are a mom of a teeny tiny baby and feeling overwhelmed, please remember that you are in the thick of the hard times right now… at least those were hard times for me.
Cling to God and cling to the fact that yes, it will get easier. And yes, you WILL make it. Your children will grow in independence and you will grow more in your confidence as a mom.
If you are a mom of children who have a bit more independence and ability to do things for themselves, think back to those earlier days and realize how far you’ve already come. Then, the next time you see a mom with a teeny tiny baby who might be looking a bit frazzled, let her know that it IS going to be okay. She will make it, too. Encourage her as her own children make it to independence days.
Where are you on the trail to your children becoming independent from you? I’d love to hear your story in the comments…
Amy is the Mom behind both Mom’s Toolbox and Mom’s Travel Tales. She is a world traveler — in heart, body, and prayer and enjoys sharing her experiences with others. She regularly hosts the Bible in 90 Days read-along. A mother of three young children, Amy writes to equip moms with tools for success whether at home, abroad or in between.