Six Things Moms Never Stop Needing To Hear

The other day at the grocery store, we saw a young mom with an adorable little girl. You know, the kind of child who draws you in with her bright eyes and sweet smile. The kind who plays peek-a-boo with you behind her mama’s shopping list and looks ever so cute in her sparkly Tom’s slip-ons.

Girls in leaves

Yeah, that kind of kid.

As Molly pushed our cart and Lilly zipped around the store collecting the items on her half of our list, I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic. How well I remember those days when I was the mom pushing the little girl around in the cart. Talking quietly as we perused the aisles. Answering one question after another. Smiling sheepishly at the kindly, older gentleman when one of the girls (I won’t say who) invited him to our house for lunch.

Fasten your seatbelt, mama, I thought as I smiled back at the little girl. Before you know it, your daughter will be the one chasing all over the store with her own shopping list.

I kept these thoughts to myself, though, because I remember what it’s like to be where that mom is now. It’s quite probable that her inward response would be more gracious than mine would have been, but still. There are things you discover as you go along in life, things that you have to experience for yourself to truly comprehend. Things that are better left unsaid when you’re talking to a mom with kids who are younger than yours.

For example, “You’re gonna miss this.”

Maybe she will, but maybe she won’t. Maybe what she’s facing right now is so hard or so exhausting she can’t imagine ever looking back on it with anything but relief that it’s over. You just never know.

Or, “It goes by so fast.”

I’m not sure why, but this statement really irritated me when my girls were younger. Now I get it. I see it happening right before my eyes. Back then, however, I much preferred insights that applied to my present situation.

These days, I pretty much stick to “your child is so cute” kinds of comments when interacting casually with moms I don’t know. But when the relationship is more than just a passing one, I try to share words that I think might have helped me when I was in their shoes—and still help me now.

Such as:

1. “You’re doing a good job.”

My heart craved affirmation like this when I was newer at parenting, especially from the important women in my life. I felt so inadequate, so unprepared, so unsure of my ability to train up my little girls in the ways they should go. Which is why, whenever possible, I want other moms to hear this bit of encouragement from me.

2. “It’s not all up to you.”

You are not the ultimate authority in your child’s life; God is. Your job is to get to know your children as well as you can and make decisions based that knowledge and the timeless truths of scripture. And remember—in God’s eyes, their story doesn’t end when they turn 18 or 21. In fact, it might be just beginning.

3. “Don’t believe anyone else’s opinion about the worst of times.”

I know. There’s a reason those early years often are called the “terrible twos” “terrifying threes” or “horrible fours.” There’s a reason people shudder and roll their eyes when the topic of raising teenagers, pre-teen daughters or strong-willed children comes up.

But every kid is different. Don’t automatically assume that your child is going to fit whatever stereotype people want to pin on her. Don’t expect that the next phase is going to be all sunshine and roses, but don’t expect the worst either. Take what comes, do your best and refer often to No. 2.

4. “Educate yourself. But when in doubt, go with your gut.”

When the therapists, teachers or dental hygienists tell you one thing and your heart tells you another, you’re not obligated to do what they say—now or ever.

5. “Apologize often.”

When you’ve overreacted and everyone knows it. When you’ve raised your voice unnecessarily one too many times. When it’s your tone that needs correcting, not theirs.

Kids are forgiving, but it’s often up to the adults in their lives to give them that opportunity. And trust me on this one. You never know the difference your apology today might make in their lives when they are much older.

6. “Pray like your children’s lives depend on it.”

Because they do.

Lois Flowers

One more thing … If you just can’t get enough encouragement from moms who are a bit further down the parenting path, you might enjoy reading this insightful post by my blogger friend Christi at The Cheerio Trail. (Her third point is my favorite.)

P.S. I’m linking up this week with Grace & Truth, Kelly Balarie at Purposeful Faith, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory and Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart.



22 Responses to Six Things Moms Never Stop Needing To Hear

  1. Lois, You are so right! As a mother of 8 I wish I had heard and said these things to myself more often, especially early on. Thank you for sharing!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      You’re welcome, Elizabeth! I have two children, but I’m one of seven siblings, and I have a feeling my mom may have been encouraged by hearing some of these things when we were all at home, too! I’m so glad you stopped by today … I took a quick peek at your blog and think your family (and your way of writing about your life) is just delightful!

  2. Very good advice. I can relate. I remember those days. When you have a baby, you don’t get a users manual. I didn’t always do it “right”. I screwed up sometimes. My Parents didn’t do parenting well. They had many awful issues. I was angry about that for many years. But your opinion changes when you have your own kids. I know they did the best they could under the circumstances. Just like I did. But I also determined to be a better parent than they were. And I was. God fills in those empty places and heals like no other.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Debbie, I appreciate your gracious perspective and your determination not to repeat the parenting mistakes you experienced as a child. I’m so glad God has been your Healer, as well as your Heavenly Father. Blessings to you today.

  3. Yes! I have been dreading middle school, but I am learning each phase has good and bad.
    Our favorite day should be the one we are in 🙂

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Sarah, I dreaded middle school too, but it turned out to be the best thing for Lilly. I know every kid is different, though, so focusing on the day we’re in is great wisdom.

  4. Lois, these are things I still need to hear after being a mother 18 years! Thanks for the reminder also that we should keep our mouths shut and offer younger moms encouragement instead of advice! (I have to confess that I don’t miss the toddler years! I’m loving NOW! 🙂

  5. Christi Gee says:

    This is an AMAZING list! Thank you for considering my words over on the trail worthy of mentioning amidst your wisdom, dear friend.

    And you are so spot on about what you DON’T say. I find myself cutting those sentences short and hope I’ve finally progressed to where they don’t come out at all. They’ll figure that part out for themselves.

    What they need to hear is that it won’t always feel this way and they can trust themselves as a mom. God wouldn’t have given them these precious gifts if He couldn’t.

    Love, love, love, being counted with you as fellow mom-encouragers from the other side!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Oh, Christi. There are days when I feel I am one decision or sentence away from ruining my children forever. That’s when I need to remember that God knew what He was doing when He put our family together, and that He’s their heavenly Father as well as mine! Thank you so much for YOUR wisdom and encouragement!

  6. Brenda says:

    Sweet post, Lois. 🙂 I’m in the opposite position these days, because now that I have older children, I’m always eager for wisdom from the moms who’ve launched children already. I think that I secretly want to know that what I’m feeling is normal, *smile*. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. LOVE this, Lois – mostly because it isn’t canned encouragement – this is real, practical advice. #3 and #5 are my favorites. I remember being terrified by parents who had walked before me. Sometimes it felt like they were throwing experience at me, rather than linking arms and walking beside me. Great words here for any mom. #tellhisstory

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thanks so much, Tiffany. I know what you mean about parents with a “been there, done that” attitude. It’s so not helpful! I’m glad you found this post to be real and practical. That’s the kind of advice I like best, too. By the way, it was so nice to see your wonderful words in the featured spot at #TellHisStory this week! Have a great day!

  8. Samantha says:

    This is what I need to hear as a new mom with an almost two year-old. I’m definitely learning the second point: I like to think I have a lot of control in my child’s life but God has ultimate control. Blessed to be your neighbor from #TellHisStory.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Samantha, I’ve been a mom for almost 13 years and I’m STILL learning the second point! I think it’s a lifelong process, but I can tell you this: trusting in God’s sovereignty, especially when it comes to my girls’ lives and futures, brings more comfort and hope than I ever would have imagined before I became a parent. Blessings to you and your little one today!

  9. Lois,
    Oh, the photo of you and your girls: Precious 🙂
    And your words of wisdom: Yes….I pray now more than ever…and I’m grateful it ultimately depends on God…blessings on you and your family.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      So am I, Dolly. So am I.
      And thank you for the sweet words about the picture. It makes my heart melt and ache at the same time … do you know what I mean?
      Have a wonderful day!

  10. Linda Stoll says:

    Lois … LOVE that photo at the top … the joyful delight of those little ones just jumps out!

    Where were you 35 years ago? I sure could have used your words of affirmation and encouragement. This is where blogging really can make a difference …

    Hugs!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thirty-five years ago? Let’s see … I would have been in fourth or fifth grade … just the age Molly is now. 🙂 I think you’re right about the difference blogging can make. I’ve only been reading blogs for the year or two, but I find so much hope and encouragement in reading other people’s stories and comments (including yours, by the way). Have a wonderful day!

  11. Lois, these are wonderful reminders! I have four children ages 10, 7,6, 11 months. There are some phases I miss and some that I am glad are over. Being a mother is different for everyone but God gave all of us the need to be heard, encouraged, loved, and known. Thank you for your words today! Visiting from #RaRaLinkup

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