Oxygen & Encouragement for MOMS – part 1

As a little girl, I always wanted to grow up to be a mom. My mom made it look a lot easier than it was. I didn’t know that it was the most challenging job on earth, with the most extended hours, the least recognition, and the most sacrifice. (Watch the best video clip at the end of this blog!)

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms, your heart grows, and your life will never be the same. This intense love puts your child’s well-being and needs above your own.  

Like a mama bear, a mother is willing to fight for and protect the child God has entrusted to her care.  

I grew to understand that being a mom is the world’s most important job. It’s the job that shapes lives, gives foundation to the next generation, and creates a lasting legacy.  

How you raise your family has a lasting impact on generations to come. The faith you’ve passed down, the traditions your family holds dear, the values and moral codes weaved into the fabric of your family – all become part of who you are and what you stand for.

That’s a big responsibility, and some days, it isn’t so easy.

Being a mom grows a strength we didn’t know we had and refines us often through fire. 

 I don’t know about you, but there were some days that I felt like I wasn’t enough, that I was messing up this whole parenting thing, or that I’d like to run out the front door.

Remember back for a minute when you held your first baby? You couldn’t wait to hear that little voice say Ma-ma. Fast forward a couple of years, and your name turned into mom, mom, mom, mom…. And maybe you wanted to change that name after all!

I remember losing my voice (not from laryngitis) but from yelling at one of my boys! Not my best mom moment. My “indoor mommy voice” wasn’t working that day, so I thought I needed to turn up the volume.

I had to apologize and ask for forgiveness from that son for losing it.  

I’ve cried myself to sleep many nights as I replayed a day over in my head. I’d recall trying to remain calm, but after dealing with the same issues all day, my frustration got the best of me.

When the boys were little, someone cried over something daily. There was constant discipline, teaching, and training. I was exhausted. 

 But then I’d check on them before going to sleep, and they would look like little angels, innocent and sweet.  

By my fourth one, I started taking pictures of him while he slept, just so I could remember.

I found these anonymous quotes: “There is no way to be a perfect mom, but a million ways to be a good one.” And this one: “Finding balance as a mother means accepting your imperfections.”

There is no way to be a perfect mom, but a million ways to be a good one. 

Being a mother is one of the greatest gifts from God. James 1:17a says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” You are entrusted with these lives to mold and shape. As much as you love them, God loves them and you even more. Being a mom brings joy that fills your heart with unconditional love.  

It is a forever job that doesn’t stop when they leave your home. It just loves from the sidelines instead of being in the game.

Moms, you are doing a great job even when you don’t feel like it or when no one else tells you so. There is One who sees all things – our sovereign God.

He sees every sacrificial act and kindness, every diaper you change, the food you prepare, the laundry you wash & fold, the prayers you say, and the tears you wipe away or that stream down your cheeks. Your actions do not go unnoticed.

Being a mom is a stress-filled job, and it is essential to remember that you need to take care of yourself in addition to your family. 

I like to use the analogy of the oxygen masks dropping in an airplane. Flight attendants instruct us to place the oxygen over our faces before assisting children or those around us. If we can’t breathe and lose consciousness, how can we help anyone else? 

Taking care of yourself will allow you to be a better wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter – and the best version of YOU!

Here are some suggestions for infusing that “oxygen” into your life:

  • Time with God:  Spiritual growth through prayer, reading a devotion, and the Bible. 

(When raising kids, your time is limited. However, soul nourishment is the fuel you need to survive!)  

Being in a weekly Bible Study with other women, learning, growing, and being encouraged was the glue that held me together as I raised our boys. I learned how powerful and necessary prayer is for my family, and I experienced it as my small group prayed for me.

I interviewed a mom I respect who raised five boys, all adults with families of their own now. I asked her if there were one thing she would have done more, what would it be?

She answered very quickly… I would have prayed more. I did not realize just how powerful and effective the prayers of a mom are before God. 

  • Marriage:  Make your marriage a priority by spending quality time with your husband. Have date nights and weekends away to renew your relationship and stoke up the fire, or put kids in bed on time for quiet evenings.  

Being intentional now, keeping your marriage the center of your home, will ensure that one day when your kids are all launched, you’ll look across the table at your husband and be able to connect, enjoy one another, and get excited about adventures with just the two of you.  

The best part of your relationship can be in your second act if you choose to prioritize one another now.

The most important thing you can do for your kids is ‘Love one another and show them a healthy marriage.

  • Work, Ministry, Service, & Hobbies: It is important to be “you” apart from just mom. Having other fulfilling roles, which utilize your gifts and talents, is healthy. It also sets an example of a rich, balanced life for your children.  
  • Valued Relationships: Nurture and prioritize your friendships over coffee, a morning walk, or even on the sidelines of a soccer field. Being part of a Mom’s Group provides invaluable encouragement, connection, and sanity. 

Trusted friends who will support you, listen to you, pray for you, and are there through the rough patches of life are your treasured tribe. Even if it’s once a month, invest in your friendships.

  • Health:  If you are not well, everything else suffers. Exercise, eating well, self-care, a nap, a walk outdoors, or a mini-retreat (more on this in Part 2) provides renewed strength, energy, and perspective.

“Your most valuable parenting skill is learning to manage yourself first.” —Dr. Laura Markham

As you celebrate Mother’s Day, I pray that you feel cherished, loved, appreciated, and honored and receive lots of hugs!  

Here is one of my favorite clips for moms:  (4 minutes) Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyMZ_LOVcvo

Look for Encouraging Moms – Part 2, publishing next Thursday!

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5 thoughts on “Oxygen & Encouragement for MOMS – part 1

  1. Lisa Whitaker

    This was a sweet blog & the video at the end is one of my favorites too! Pray more for your kids & family? YES!! It is the most powerful thing you can do as a mom❣️

  2. Renee Dodd

    Such a touching post, Leann. I loved this. And that video makes me cry every time. Sooo good!

  3. Lorie Porter

    I love this blog post. I’m a little late and gonna read part 2 next, but it was well worth the wait. And that video was awesome! I’m sitting in my office laughing and then crying.

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