Lately I’ve been thinking about what makes a loving mum. Not so that I can beat myself up about my shortcomings but so that I can have somewhere positive to aim instead of getting blown about by all sorts of influences like my mood & the current culture.
I want to direct my focus & energy into showing love in ways that cause my children to thrive! It’s easy to give the tasks of motherhood all our attention – perfectly good things like cleaning, healthy meals, party planning, errands etc. But what are the daily actions & attitudes that holistically nourish our children & make them feel loved, secure & happy?
I tried to put myself in a child’s shoes to bring you ’11 habits of a loving mum’. So here goes…
1. She spends time communing with & learning from God.
This woman puts God first & knows He’s her main source of power, strength & love. She learns something new in God regularly & from her revelations she imparts wisdom & joy into her children. Because she spends time with Jesus, she becomes more like Him in character, demonstrating more & more of the fruits of the Spirit.
2. She chooses her words wisely.
A Godly mother knows the power of words to uplift, direct & comfort. She also knows that harsh words are destructive & can’t be taken back. When her patience is tested, her reserves are low & anger arises, she has learnt to take some deep breaths & not speak every word that she thinks. Her words are full of kindness & love but also firmness when needed.
3. She listens.
Not just with her ears but with her eyes & her body language. Her children feel heard & important because she gets down to their level & looks them in the eye regularly when they speak to her, especially about concerns. Her verbal responses let them know she’s listened & her nods & eye contact show her precious children that they are worthy of her attention. She ‘listens’ even when they don’t speak because she observes & attends to her children, noticing their non-verbal cues & behaviors & how they’re feeling. In short, she makes herself emotionally & mentally available.
4. She is reliable.
Her kids know their needs will be met because mum creates a routine that ensures they are fed, watered, clothed, cleaned, mentally stimulated, cuddled & rested. They know what’s coming next & that gives them the security to relax & play.
5. She smiles & laughs.
A mother who lets go, laughs & plays, taps into the heart of a child. The mother sets the tone & atmosphere of the house. Kids are sensitive to their parents underlying moods and attitudes. A mother who seeks to delight in her kids & serve her family with joy, finds that it’s contagious!
6. She makes clear boundaries & sticks to them.
The children know what the rules & values of the house are, because they have been communicated plainly & there’s a commitment to consistent training/ discipline. Children aren’t punished when they had no idea that they were doing something wrong or left wondering why they got in trouble. Nor does this mother allow her kids to flout the rules, because true love is concerned with developing good character. Children find security, identity & belonging in these shared family boundaries & values.
7. She spends time playing.
It’s so hard for her to pause the ‘to do’ list, but she does regularly because she gets to know her kids through play & knows they love spending time with her. She had kids, not only to care for them, but to ENJOY them! So she lets some jobs go undone in order to enter the world of play with her children.
8. She rests & invests.
This mama knows that she can’t run on an empty tank. So she takes the time to stop & relax. She invests in her physical, spiritual, mental & emotional health & recognizes when she needs a break. This mum prioritizes self care.
9. She teaches.
Over the years she’s gained wisdom. She knows the road ahead has many ups and downs, highs and challenges for her children. She believes in preparing her children for the road of life ahead. So she is prudent in teaching & training her kids in God’s ways, practical skills & through life experiences.
10. She loves others.
This family does life alongside others because a loving mother’s heart extends to those outside her immediate family. She fosters other quality relationships in her children’s lives & practices hospitality. Her kids know what it is to have community. Home is a place her kids feel excited to bring their friends.
11. She protects.
As a guardian of the home she censors what comes into it by way of entertainment, music & people. She guards her children from unhealthy influences & environments, making wise decisions about who she trusts to babysit her kids.
These are just some of the habits I want to aspire to. Some go against my natural inclinations but thinking about what they mean to my children inspires me to focus on developing more of them.
What about you? What do you think makes a good mum?
Feel free to add your ideas below. Or write your own list to serve as a sort of vision of motherhood that you want to aspire to.