Three ways to make a fresh start in parenting

This time of year, many of us are setting goals and looking ahead to a new year with hope and promise. That’s especially true if you’re also looking behind at a string of regrets and ugly mom moments. Whether or not 2018 won Mother of the Year in your book, God is always inviting us to start fresh.

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22¬–23)

Here are three ways we moms can make a new start in parenting—beginning today.

1. Get rid of guilt.

Whatever your attitude or behavior was like yesterday, wake up to a new day resolved to give yourself over to God’s grace. Every day is a new chance for a do-over with the kids, your husband, the cranky neighbors—whomever and whatever is triggering your ugliness and subsequent guilt, remember you do not need to be held hostage today by the same grievances that bound you yesterday. Look at your mistakes as invitations to draw closer to God, and to rely on His wisdom and strength to change.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12–14, emphasis added)

2. Try something new.

Do you feel like you’re stuck in the same old routine? This month, try something new. It can be as simple as a new dinner recipe or as elaborate as a spontaneous getaway to an island beach. Maybe try establishing a fresh activity at bedtime, such as reading a well-loved chapter book to the kids each night or surprising them with a pajama run for ice cream cones. And do something just for you, too—an enriching activity you’ve always been interested in but never get around to doing, like taking an art class or scheduling a massage. Sometimes all it takes to beat the same-old blues is to add a little variety into your daily life.

“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.” (Isaiah 43:19)

3. Lighten up.

We moms can take ourselves too seriously, can’t we? We get so bogged down with the idea that raising God’s children is a huge responsibility, and we might fear we’ll mess it up—which brings about stress and control-freak tendencies that usually lead to mess-ups anyway. So why not cut to the chase and laugh a little? Tell the kids a joke. Serve popcorn for dinner. Say “yes” when the grouchy version of you would rather default to “no.” The world will not end if we loosen up our grip a bit. Remember, ultimately the person in charge of your family is God, not you. And He loves to give you rest.

“It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?” (Psalm 127:2, MSG)

However you choose to start fresh this year, may God bless you “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20).

This post originally appeared on The Better Mom and was republished with permission. 

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Becky Kopitzke is the author of “The SuperMom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood” (Shiloh Run Press) and “Generous Love: Discover the Joy of Living Generously”.Becky lives in lovely northeast Wisconsin with her husband and their two daughters, where her home office is overrun with bouncy balls and tween craft supplies. For weekly, keeping-it-real encouragement, visit Becky at beckykopitzke.com.


 

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