How do I mother joyfully?

A Reader recently asked a question which she gave me permission to share:

“I have three little girls, 5, 4 and 1.  I also work full-time outside the house.  The last two weeks have been very challenging parenting wise.  The middle one especially is driving my husband and I crazy…it breaks my heart.  How do I mother her joyfully?  She is amazing and I love her, but mothering her is wearing me out right now.”

Dear friend,

I am so sorry that you are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated as a mommy right now.  Truly we need the wisdom of Solomon each and every day in raising these arrows for God’s Kingdom.  There are a few things that come to mind as I read your question. Please forgive me if I am missing the mark, not having full knowledge of your situation…

First, I am wondering if possibly your little girl could be needing some extra attention and loving from you and your husband.  Middle children often will fall through the cracks.  The oldest child and the baby naturally receive more attention…could it be that your 4 year old is feeling somewhat left out?

Hearing that you work outside the home would also make me think that some special one on one time with your little girl might be very needful for her little heart right now.

I would encourage you to try and take some time to do those little things that she particularly might enjoy, even if it is just for a few minutes a day.

Sister, I do not know your situation, but would encourage you to consider and pray about whether your full time job outside the home could be bringing additional stress to you or to your family?  Truly our roles as wives and mothers within the home is not held up in our society. Coming home is deemed second best.  We underestimate the high calling of motherhood. But, the benefits and blessing from the Lord are beautiful when the mother is able to be home full-time.

I would also encourage you to “tomato stake” your daughter. For more information you can go to Raising Godly Tomatoes. In a nutshell, keep your daughter with you as much as you are able.  Let her enjoy the things you are doing, help you with your duties around the house, make her feel a part of your tasks throughout the day.  Call her your little shadow and maker her feel special.  This will also help you keep tabs on her and gently check any character issues that may come up. Make her feel special and that you love to be with her.

Consider food allergies.  I have known of children that behave wildly whenever they eat a certain food coloring. One little girl even told her mommy when she ate corn she felt like she wanted to hit someone.  You might pay attention to if certain foods might trigger certain behavior issues.

Remember too, that as hard as it may seem to realize now…these days are passing quickly and yes, you’re gonna miss this. All those little things that now aggravate and challenge you, will seem small one day…and you will miss her being 4 years old..so try to focus on treasuring the unique “specialness” of your little girl.

Pray for your daughter before the throne of grace.  It is of the Lord to tame our children’s hearts and give them the fruits of the Spirit through the redemption of Christ.

Finally, press on, dear sister.  May you be encouraged that the Lord can turn our trials overnight sometimes it seems.  Our little daughter who had us nearly in tears several times, at our wits end, and was the greatest challenge to our parenting when she was very young, is now a beautiful blessing to us.  Her cheerful delight in following the ways of the Lord gives us such joy.  So take hope!

Press on in showing the love of Jesus to your little ones, remembering that He loves the unlovely. He has looked down upon our ugliness and sin and called us to Himself in His mercy.  You might find encouragement from a recent post I wrote…we need to continually pray- May Jesus Turn the Water into Wine.

I hope some of these suggestions are helpful.  Being a mother is the hardest job in the world…and also the best!  Persevere dear sisters in your high callings today!

P.S  I have said it before but will say it again, I don’t write this as an accomplished seasoned veteran, but as one in the midst of the journey right with you…so I benefit from reading what I write as well.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the first in a series of posts on making your master bedroom a haven for you and your husband–with a free gift for all who participate!