Let’s call it as it is. Being a mom is one of the hardest and thankless jobs there are. So much is done that no one sees. And how often do people stop to thank you when everything goes as planned?
This Mother’s Day, we wanted to glean some wisdom from Pastor JoAnn Johnson, who serves as the Executive Pastor at Newbreak Church. She has two boys, Russell (age 9) and Shane (age 6) and is happily married to Eric for 13 years.
We look forward to many years and many, many insights from Pastor JoAnn, but for today, we had her boil it down to three things she wished she knew as a newer mom. The following insights are from Pastor JoAnn.
What are 3 things you wish you knew when you were a new mom?
1) Change is constant.
Change is constantly taking place, both in your kids and in you. Every time you get used to your kids being a certain way they change. Like once you get that infant baby part down, then they start walking and crawling. Some of their first words are “mama” or “dada” and it fills your heart with joy, then they get older and use words that are… not as adorable.
But not only your kids, through parenting, you change. Your body, your emotions, your wishes, and dreams all can (and probably will!) change because it’s no longer about you! Every day is different with its own blessings and challenges. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 starts by declaring “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” I know in California we don’t see much change in the seasons, but people tell me winter (at least elsewhere) is supposed to be cold. If there is one thing that you can count on in parenting, its change. Change as certain as there being seasons (well, at least in other parts of the country).
2) There is no “normal.”
What does normal mean anyway? Are we going by scientific statistics, or societal standards, or comparing whoever is in our circle of friends? When your child is born you will be given all of these “milestones” that your child is expected to hit by a certain age. When they should crawl, walk or talk. When they are older it’s when they should read, write their name, write a story or ride a bike. As teenagers when do they have their first girlfriend or boyfriend, get their first job, pass their first AP class, or make varsity.
If we judge, put pressure, or compare our child by any of these milestones, we may put unnecessary pressure on ourselves or our children. Normal is subjective AND overrated. Let’s say that again!
Normal is overrated!
Didn’t that feel good?
Psalm 139:14 reminds us: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” If your child never walks or talks because of a medical condition, they are still wonderfully made. God created each child unique and whatever milestones they hit or miss, they are fearfully and wonderfully made. We need to believe God’s Word instead of trying to measure up to some standard of “normal.”
3) You are enough.
While in the hospital with my first child I experienced immediate challenges. My oldest had a difficult time settling, he wouldn’t eat and he wouldn’t sleep. I couldn’t figure out if he was hungry or tired or gassy (or all of the above!). Being a new mom I asked for help, I wanted to see if the nurse could help soothe my son. The nurse told me to do “skin to skin” where my baby just rested next to my heart. Immediately it calmed him and we were both able to rest.
All my son needed was closeness to me. I was all he needed.
The best thing we can give to our kids is ourselves, our presence.
No number of toys or vacations or rooms in your house will ever replace your child’s need for you. They don’t need anything else. Just you. The same is true in our relationship with God, He just wants you! He will be with you through the parenting journey.
After all, at the end of the day aren’t we all children of the Father? Whether we realize it or not what we need is closeness to Him. I learned it in the hospital with my son and I am still learning it in life with God. And so, be encouraged, you are enough.