These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. Titus 2:4-5 NLT
My husband and I have been married for 3 years. A while ago, I imagined us wanting to have children by now. However, we have recently moved to China to teach at an international school. This throws our previous “plan” out the window, and now we will probably be waiting at least 2 more years before we think about trying to have a baby. We are fine with this decision and feel like it is wise to first transition into our new lifestyle before we add to our family. My question for you is: What can I do to prepare for motherhood? What do you wish you knew before you had children? A part of me always wanted to be a mom, and now a part of me loves the quiet life we currently have. Once I’m a mom, I can’t go back, and I think at this stage, that’s a little frightening. Granted, I don’t know what God has for us, but if children are in His plan for us, I’d like to be spiritually and mentally ready. Do you ever feel like you are “ready” to be a mom?
The beauty of Mosaic of Moms is the various perspectives we each have, so we each answered. As stated in the “Ask the MOMS” section: The MOMS will respond to your questions in full knowledge that there is not one right answer. We hope to give different perspectives out of our own experiences that will empower you to trust your instincts.
The biggest thing that helped me before becoming a mom was the time I spent meditating on and memorizing the Word. I encourage all single and married ladies without kiddos to spend as much time as you can pouring over Scripture. Study it. Journal about it. Memorize it. Hide it in your heart, because with those little ones comes a season full of exhaustion and all-consuming tiny person needs that suddenly limits the time you have to truly dig into the Word like you could before. The time you devote to Bible Study before you have small children will serve you when you need it later on. In times of stress and in the midst of feelings of insufficiency and guilt over mommy mess-ups, those truths will overflow from your heart and allow you to keep on going. The Word you hide in your heart while you still have time will be food for your soul until your life calms down enough again to consistently eat full meals and not just snack when you have free moments.
As far as what I wished I had known before having kids, I would say I wish I knew just how much I would simply adore them. I never got to the place where I was “ready” to be a mom or even to the place where I felt like I needed to have kids. I just knew it was something I had always planned on doing and trusted God would work out the timing. But, once I did have children I was shocked at how much I fell in love with those sweet little babies the moment I laid eyes on them. The older they get the more smitten I become, even with their terrible twos, testing threes and sassy sixes. And, even on the hardest days when they have pushed all my buttons and I fall into bed exhausted at night, I feel like the most blessed woman in the world. I’m not saying mothering is all sunshine and rainbows, but I can honestly say it is the most rewarding, challenging, inspiring, and eye-opening thing I have ever done.
The other thing I wish I had known before becoming a mom was just how much I would need other mom friends in a way I had never needed friends. I have always had wonderful girlfriends who stretch me and hold me accountable and sharpen my faith. But I honestly had no idea how lonely I would be for mom friends who could just relate. Friends who understood what it was like to not have time to shower or who could give me advice on how to get a baby to sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. Friends I could call in a pinch if I needed to run a quick errand or just needed a break. Friends who would take me as I was and not judge me for wearing sweatpants or because my little boy wasn’t potty trained at three.
Melissa’s Response: This is a wonderful question. I’m guessing there are lots of great answers. My answer would be to develop healthy habits. If you are a picky eater try different healthy foods. Find a type or several types of exercise that you like and fit them in to your schedule regularly. Get in the habit of drinking water (it’s great for your skin and weight control among other benefits). Cut down on caffeine.
Develop or continue in your Bible reading and devotional time. It’s good to be familiar with verses dealing with heart issues so you can recognize them in your children. Make time as a couple to pray and read God’s word. Become involved or maintain your church involvement. Your church is an excellent resource for child rearing and spiritual accountability.
Having children will change your life as you mentioned. Things can become overwhelming and life can be hectic. One of the great benefits of becoming a parent is being able to see our relationship with God through the eyes of a parent.
Jennifer’s Response: I am assuming from the fact that you are asking these types of questions that you are a lot like me in that you like to have all your ducks in a row and a plan in place. When we were dating, my husband called me “Jennif-ridgid” and “A-Jen-Da”. As a mom the planner within me has been a blessing and a curse. Becoming a mother has taught me that planning has its place, but you have to know when to be flexible. Take time now to get comfortable with being spontaneous. It may not become your MO, but at least you will have some experience with it. So to answer your question, “Do you ever feel ready to be a mom?” The planner within us can never be satisfied!
A practical book that helped me with the early months of eating and sleep training is The Baby Whisperer. The author stresses the difference between routine and schedules. This was so helpful to me in learning that each child is an individual and will have different needs and you must respond to those needs individually, but at the same time maintain structure. I would encourage anyone who is pregnant to take the time to read this and other books like it, because once the baby comes you won’t have the time or energy to sit and research. You will hit the ground rolling as soon as you get home from the hospital.
The one thing I regret is that I did not revel in the season of life I was in before parenting. My husband and I had only known each other 3 years before our daughter was born. While the timing was perfect, I missed out on so much joy and contentment because I was looking down the road at what was next. Enjoy this quiet season of your life!!! Go to the movies. Go out to eat. Read a book. Do the things you love! And if it is in God’s plan for you to be a parent, when that season comes, live in the moment! Resist the urge to look to the future for it will be here before you know it and you have missed today. (I really need to take my own advise!)
There are several things I would suggest doing before starting a family, here are a few.
1) Talk with your husband about your expectations for how you will handle child care, and ask him about his. Who will do the night-time feedings? Will one of you stay home to raise your child? Keep an open dialogue going. The first couple of months can put a lot of stress on a relationship, but if you make a plan together and do your best to be considerate of each other, then it will make it a lot easier!
2) Check out your budget. Having kids can be pretty expensive, but if you can start putting some money aside now it will help-every little bit helps!
3) Prepare yourself for the reality that your life will never be the same in both wonderful and frustrating ways. You won’t get much sleep at first, and you won’t have free time. But, as your baby gets older and starts to sleep better you will little by little be able to enjoy more and more sleep and some free time here and there too. It’s a big change, but it’s worth it.
4) Read up. On everything from child-birth to sleep training. You have a lot of options from how you will give birth, how you will feed your baby, how you will diaper your baby, teach your baby to sleep, discipline your toddler, and on and on.
5) Prepare your body. Pregnancy can be hard on your body. Now is the time to establish healthy eating habits and get into a regular work out routine.
6) Spend time in the word, and memorize those verses! For the first couple of months it will be hard to find time for quiet times, and you will most likely fall asleep when you do. If you don’t take any of my other advice, please take this. Hide His word in your heart, and in the times of frustration they will be of much comfort.
Whether you do everything we suggest or nothing at all, we have a feeling that you are going to be a really great mom. God bless you girl!