Do you sometimes feel like you’re swimming upstream when it comes to your mothering? Like you really want to do the best for your kids but you feel like you need a refresher course on How to Be a Loving Mother For Dummies? Or do you feel like you could be doing better as a mum? Maybe something has been pulling on your heart and you can’t really put your finger on it.
Recently I’ve been going through this book called ‘A Woman After God’s Own Heart‘ by Elizabeth George. I’ve read it several times before as I mentioned here. And I love it because it always challenges me and pushes me further and higher each time I go through it. Perhaps I just need constant reminding. Or perhaps I’ve grown each time I read it, so that it applies to me differently when I go through it again.
However, I’ve been reading the chapters on having ‘a heart overflowing with motherly affection’ – and it’s really convicting! It’s opened my eyes to areas that I need to do better in as well as qualities I want to foster in my attitude and my heart. I highly recommend this book to everyone! But right now, I wanted to share some insights I got whilst reading Elizabeth George’s chapters on how to be a loving mother.
Please note that I am not sharing this as someone who’s been there and done it – but as someone who is also climbing the mountain, so to speak. (My oldest kid is currently 9 and my youngest is not even 2!! I’m still in the thick of it here!) But I’m sure this will encourage, challenge and instruct you in how to be a loving mother – as it does for me!
How to be a loving mother
1. Pray for your kids
I was quite surprised at how infrequently I had been praying for my children. Perhaps you can relate? Praying is something I’ve struggled with a lot throughout my Christian life and have only recently turned a corner on this.
But praying for our children is so crucial. We can give them food, clothing and a top notch education. But if we want their hearts to love God – we can’t do that. That’s work that only God can do. We plant and water, but ultimately, God grows the seed in their hearts.
I was also reminded that, apart for praying for their salvation, I should also pray for their future spouses, their current relationships and character traits.
Our first mission field as mothers is to our families!
2. Put their needs above yours
This is something most of us acknowledge we should do, but in reality, I’ve found that I’ve not really been doing it. I’ve been putting my needs above theirs. Because; I’ve got work to do… I’m busy with the dishes… I’m trying to read this book… Can I have 10 minutes to paint my nails please?…
Sound familiar? I’ve been putting my own agenda ahead of my kids. And although that doesn’t qualify as the Social Services definition of neglect, it does mean that I’ve been neglecting my duty to care for them as God would want me to.
The basic needs of our kids are: food, clothes and warmth. But we both know that they require a lot more than this, right? Attention, love, physical closeness and more are all things we should give our kids – some I’ve mentioned below. But essentially, their needs should come above ours. Are there any occasions where you’ve noticed that you put your needs above your kids?
3. Nurture a positive attitude
I don’t know who it drains more – the complaining child or the exasperated parent. It’s not pleasant having a child who whines and moans continually – I know!! It saps your energy as a parent and builds resentment toward your child.
Try to catch this attitude early on and do a heart check. What is your child’s heart focused on? What’s going on under the surface there? Talk with them about it and help them to catch a flame of gratitude and thankfulness, a spirit of optimism and positivity.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds and may take a long time, so if you have a whiny child, hang in there!
I’ve done things like ask my child to write three things they’re grateful for. And then another three. And then another and so on. Until they’ve written a list of twenty things they’re grateful for. And then we talk about less fortunate people who don’t have the things on the list and how we can foster an attitude of gratefulness.
One child of mine immediately becomes thankful and positive when I say “How about a family trip to India?”!! It’s a place my husband and I would love to take our kids and spend some time there working with our church. One of my bucket-list places to visit before I die, kinda thing. But this child in particular has heard a lot of stories about India (from I don’t know where!) which has painted a picture in her mind of a really hard third world country to live in. And, as such, she suddenly remembers all the blessings she has at home!
4. Take a note from Evian
Evian spent a huge sum promoting their slogan ‘Evian – live young’. And in truth, our kids should keep us young. Their youthful, playful outlook on life is contagious. And I have so much fun with my kids when we just goof around and do silly things like comic impressions or imitate John Cleese in his Ministry of Silly Walks sketch.
Tell jokes, play funny games and foster an atmosphere of laughter. Nothing bonds families better than laughter! My husband loves to quote the Genie from Aladdin when he says “A woman appreciates a guy who can make her laugh”. And it’s not just true for women, it’s true for your kids too!
5. Support them
Depending on how you were raised, this may seem very natural or very hard.
Supporting our kids and also saying supportive things to our kids can be difficult if we were raised in an environment where we were continually put down or belittled. If that was your upbringing, pause and think about your words before you speak. Because what comes naturally, might not be what’s best. Ask yourself if what you’re about to say is encouraging. And if it’s constructive criticism you have, then make sure it’s delivered in a wrapper of love!
Our kids need and crave our support. If they continually don’t feel like they’re getting our support, you can be pretty sure they’ll soon find it elsewhere. They need to know that we’re on their side.
A family unit is very similar to a team. And team members support one another. And because of the support they get from one another, they stick closer together.
When we’re old and grey, we’ll be the ones needing the support from our kids! Let’s give them the tools to pay us back when we’re older!
6. Give them attention
A friend of mine comically refers to her kid’s bedtime as ‘Wine-o’clock’! But this does bring home the idea that, when the kids are in the bed, the adults can do their thang!
Kids love spending time with their parents. If your child is constantly repeating your name, pulling on your shirt and drawing your attention away from that screen/book/telephone conversation your into – then there’s a reason. They want you.
If you have a lot of things to do, why not try spending time with your kid and then putting them to bed early! If they’re young enough, they won’t notice the time and they’d be glad to spend time playing with you! Then you’d also have more time in the evening to…finish that book…or do that work.
7. Be there
Don’t be absent when your kids need you most. If they’ve got an important recital, presentation or award ceremony – make sure you’re there. Activities and events that they are passionate about will mean so much if you’re there to share it with them.
This relates to ‘How to Be A Loving Mother tip number 5’ – supporting them – because it builds on their experience of support. So much of what we communicate, we do without words. What are you communicating to your kids by where you are and how you spend your time?
8. Mind your mouth
Our kids might not do the wisest or best things most days. But laying out their faults in front of others will really hurt their feelings and potentially damage their self-esteem and your relationship with them. Is that worth the rant?
If your child does something that drives you up the wall, talk to your husband about it (when they’ve gone to bed). And talk it through with him. Maybe he can intervene in some way. If dad is not on the scene, then try to speak to someone in private who can help you work the situation out. Preferably someone who’s wise and raised a child through a similar situation. But still don’t take this as an opportunity to rant.
Pray about the issue and lay it before God. It may be that your heart needs to change in this area more than your child’s…
I hope these insights have helped you in the area of how to be a loving mother. I know that I’m continually challenged to grow in the area of motherhood every day. There are days where I wake up less than chirpy or when it’s ‘that time of the month again’! But I’ve still got to try and be loving toward my children.
I don’t want them to have memories of me as a screaming shrew, but rather as a loving and supportive cheerleader who would lay down her life for them – because I would.
If you’d love more resources and tools for parenthood, then be sure to check out the Parenting Super Bundle which is available for a very short time and includes lots and lots of amazing eBooks, courses and printables such as:
- Parenting with Positive Guidance
- TEACH Your Children How to Behave
- Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World
- Potty Train in a Weekend
- Editable Chore Cards for Kids and loads more!
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Other posts you may like:
- How Quality Time Will Shape Your Kid’s Life
- Why I Don’t Pay My Kids to Do Their Chores
- 5 Faith Building Books That Have Helped Me