I know you’ve had days when you want to throw in the parenting towel. You feel like you’ve blown it big time. Someone else should be hired to parent your children. You aren’t equipped! Our children can make motherhood hard on us, no doubt. At the end of a day like this, you lay your head on your pillow, feeling a terrible cloud of regret hover over you as it settles into your heart. You want a mommy do-over. If only life had a delete button when you needed it most! Let me tell you, I’ve been there, done that, and got the T-shirt. Well, thankfully I didn’t actually get the T-shirt (the one that says “World’s Biggest Loser of a Mom”).
Let’s talk about what we can do when we need a second chance as a mom.
A Mommy Do-Over
I’ve been hard at work getting my new book, “Parenting Your Teen Through Chaos & Crisis,” ready to launch (on Amazon.com February 28th!!). Talk about a whirlwind of activity! One of my favorite concepts in the book has to be “the parenting do-over.” I’ll share an excerpt here and then I want to encourage you with a few reminders to help you when you’ve had an ugly mom day.
From “Parenting Your Teen Through Chaos & Crisis”:
Don’t be discouraged. As a dear friend of mine and world-renowned psychologist, Dr. Bruce Narramore, says, “The teen years are like a parenting do-over. Whatever you didn’t get right when they were little can be corrected and done differently in adolescence.” I can’t tell you what a relief it was the first time I heard Bruce say that sentence. I had doomed myself to the outcomes of some of my parenting “fails” and thought it was too late to turn things around. When he said this I felt like I had taken a shower in grace! Just think. You can’t undo the past, but you can have a do-over today!
This goodness doesn’t only apply to moms of teens. I’m not making up some Monopoly get-out-of-jail-free card either. God says His mercies are new every morning. Do you know the root of that word, “mercies”? It comes from the image of the tender love a mother has for her newborn. The idea expresses God’s kindnesses towards us. They are renewed – extended over and over (like my library books!) without limit (unlike my library books!)
Starting Your Day Over
Years ago I learned this phrase, “You can start your day over at any hour.” I taught it to each of my kids when they were little. After my son had thrown a major fit and had calmed down to regain control of himself, I would say something like, “Good morning! Welcome to the start of our day!” even if it were 4:00 pm. You see, it’s never too late for new mercies.
When family interactions careen out of control, tension increases and the whole atmosphere becomes temporarily hostile. At times like this, if I say, “Let’s start the day over,” it never fails to trigger us to pause and change directions.
I clearly remember when my oldest son assimilated this concept of starting the day over. One particularly tough day, as I was ready to pluck my hair out at the roots, one strand at a time, he said, “Mom, let’s just start over.” Out of the mouths of babes.
God is all about renewal. He isn’t one to get stuck in “how things are.” His very character exudes restoration, renovation, and healing. One of my favorite verses to cling to when I’m feeling particularly defeated is Isaiah 43:19:
“See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
The same God who makes a way through wild places and brings streams to dry ground can bring a refreshment to your parched soul and make a way for you as you mother your children.
It’s Never too Late
God promises us He is always moving us forward. We won’t stay where we are as we walk with Him. The very idea of “walking” with Him gives the vision of movement forward with a purpose. When we come to Jesus, He tells us we are a new creation. The old things are gone and the new has come. Yes, we may still contend in the flesh with impatience and irritability. He isn’t finished with us yet. He reminds us while we are outwardly wasting away (and believe me, now that I’m over 50, I can attest to that more than ever!) inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Inside, in places we can only perceive, God is making us stronger and incorruptible.
It’s never too late in your day or too far into your motherhood to put off the old mom and put on the new mom. You can choose to walk in the Spirit and produce the fruit of the Spirit through your abiding relationship with Jesus right now – or anytime. His invitation remains open to you 24/7.
If you’ve botched it with your kids, or just had a meh day where you feel off and out of sorts, stop now. Spend the time you need to be refreshed in God’s loving presence. Go to your family and declare a do-over. As you do, you are modeling for them how grace works when we embrace the depths of God’s tender, merciful love for us.
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