There are joys, frustrations and concerns throughout the different seasons of motherhood. From being a clueless first time mum with a newborn to a mum with a toddler & a baby to raising school aged children, teenagers and young adults. There are joys and challenges that come with each stage. Though as our children and families grow, we mums grow as well. When you’re struggling to deal with one young child and you realise you are pregnant, you may think ‘How am I going to cope’? But the second child comes along and you cope because you grow and adapt to meet the challenges of this new season.
Useful advice no matter the stage or season of motherhood you are in.
Always remember that you are the right person to be the mother of your children. You know your children best. Listen to your intuition and trust your judgement. By all means ask for and listen to advice given, but always do what is right for you and your family.
“It’s ok for others to do it that way; this is the way we are doing it.”
This is a useful phrase for when your children say “but such and such is allowed to do this”.
Do what is right for the season you are in. It may not be the right thing forever, but it may be the right thing for right now. Think about:
- What is it important, or what do we need to focus on at the moment?
- What can slide for now?
- What is important to focus on with my children in this season?
Some things are for a season: (and this too shall pass!)
When my son was a baby, my daughter watched a lot of tv whilst I got him to sleep. It may not have been ideal and I did feel guilty about it at times, however, it worked and helped me get through that season. When my kids were at school there was a ‘no tv rule’ before school and until homework was completed in the afternoons. Many of their friends were allowed to watch tv before school, but I found that my children were much more likely to engage in other more creative pursuits if screen time was limited.
We went through a season of no screens on certain days or times of the day but then once they hit high school and they had laptops for school this was impracticable. However, they were only on screens for school work and a limited amount of other screen time.
As mothers we adapt as needed through the different seasons of motherhood.
Useful over many seasons:
Eating meals together – We always ate dinner together and still do (well, whoever is at home). On the weekends we often had breakfast and lunch together too.
Rest time after lunch – When my children were babies and toddlers I would rest when they were sleeping. Once they outgrew their sleep, we still had rest time on weekends and school holidays (if we were home) through much of primary school. This gave everyone some downtime.
No matter what season you are in how can you take some time for yourself:
Self-care and time to ourselves is so important for mothers.
- When I had babies and toddlers in the house, I used the childminding at the local pool so that I could do aqua aerobics.
- Get out and go for a walk even if it is with your baby in a pram or your preschooler on a bike.
- Get up early & let your partner look after your children if they wake up, while you work on a hobby or something for yourself. Or stay up later to find the time.
- Whilst children are resting, read a book or work on a hobby. The housework will still be there later.
Each stage goes quickly: how can you remember and be present in the moment:
- Take a photo every day to capture something each day
- Use a sentence-a-day journal or a notebook to record one thing your child/children did that day
- Be as present as you can when your children are with you.
They will love you playing their games and joining in the fun. Conversely you can get them to help with whatever you are doing. The job may not get done as quickly or as well, but you are spending time with them, getting something done (albeit slowly) and teaching them valuable life skills. Even young children can help wash up non-breakables, cut vegetables with a blunt knife, vacuum or fold washing, to name a few things.
It all goes by so fast. What advice would you share with another on this journey of motherhood?
Jillian has been married to Murray for over 25 years and they have 2 young adult children. She has been blogging at www.feedmyfamilyblog.com for over 8 years. On the blog, she writes about feeding the family in body, mind, heart & soul. Jillian also enjoys speaking at women’s groups & conferences about parenting and nurturing children’s faith.