It's Not About You, Mom!

Being a mom has always been my biggest joy. I cannot imagine my life without my beautiful offspring. I'm blessed beyond measure. They're all grown now, and I'm blessed to be able to watch their lives unfold, giving advice when asked, and keeping quiet as much as my mouth can manage it when they don't ask for my opinion.

I'm so excited about my children. They are their own people, making their own choices, and finding their own way through this world. They don't do things exactly like I would, because they are not me, and that is really cool. They are themselves. They do their own work. And as a result, their successes are their own.

I cheer them on, I love them, and I enjoy them! I see them mess up, too, but I'm not here to fix them. Sometimes, it feels much less awesome to see them fall short, but you know what? That's no longer on me. I can pray, I can speak up, and then I can shut up. I'm no longer in charge of my adult children's choices. Between themselves and God, I have a deep, abiding faith that promises me that they'll get it all straight.

Do you have a different attitude toward your adult kids? Do you feel shame when they fail, and a deep, excessive glow of pride when they succeed? That puts way too much pressure on them, and on you. If you parented them through adulthood to the best of your ability, it's time to let go and just be there for them. You're no longer the mommy who has to fix their boo boos, and you're not the mommy who can take the credit for their successes. It's all on them now.

Are you strong enough to see that? If not, ask God to help you. Because if you can readjust your thinking, you can have the happiest, most stress-free, joyful time as a mother during the next few decades.

I have to pray that God will help me to stop over-mothering them -- daily. I have a great job. I get to be a front-row witness of the amazing adventure which their lives are going to be. I get to be the one who softly whispers, "I warned you, honey, but let's just pray about this and keep moving forward." I can do that with love and without carrying an excessive burden.

There are parents who lament the fact that they didn't take the time to get to know their kids. There are moms and dads who have no idea what kind of people they've raised. I have been through those years, too. Where I somehow blinked and they changed, but I didn't notice. I got sidetracked. I failed. That's something I had to regret, repent of, and try to remedy. But it's not where I stayed.

If you're beating yourself up for the failures of your past, try to stop that right now. Ask God to help you. Then, find out where your child is now, get to know them exactly as they are at this moment, and then just pray that God will help you develop a relationship that allows you to influence your child in a positive, loving way. It may be the only thing you have left, but it's very powerful. If you just do it without trying to manipulate the situation through fakery or cheap tricks .

I'm not done or even close to done being a mother to my kids. I can't parent them in the old way, however. I can love them, accept them even while I don't appreciate every choice they might make, and I can keep praying. That is my superpower, and I'm going to use it constantly. Keep on keeping on, mama. You can do this. It's going to be okay.

How do I know that? I lived in my grandmother's house, and I watched the kids grow up and make all these crazy decisions. I saw them eventually settle down and become pretty cool people. I've seen some of them grow up without ever maturing spiritually. I am still trusting God for some of them. But I'm not afraid anymore. I've seen too much success to fear any failure. And faith, asking in faith with no doubting, is a really powerful biblical remedy. Try it. You'll like it.

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