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The 5 Stages of Being a Mother

Baby and Toddler
Having a baby can be very different for many people.  Some find it easy and are filled with joy right from birth whereas others struggle to adapt.  Guilt can already set in from this stage and can stay right until the grandmother stage.  Make sure you don’t get comfortable with guilt, deal with it whenever it rears its ugly head so that you can enjoy your many wonderful years as a mother. 
    Lack of sleep can also be a huge challenge during this stage so it’s really important not to take on too much during the first year of being a mother.  These years come with many joys and challenges but the most important thing is that you give your little one love.  Love is what feeds that precious little one more than anything else and creates a secure foundation which you will build on in the years ahead.  Love in the form of gentle words and physical touch is very important in the formative years.  Discipline also starts at this stage so that you don’t struggle later on in the school years.  Early discipline can simply be a firm no and a look of disapproval, followed by a kind hug afterwards just to show that you still love them.     
   
School Years
Once a child starts attending school he or she will go through significant changes, especially as they face many influences and challenges.  A little girl will find security in knowing that she is beautiful and a little boy will find his security in knowing that he is strong.  As you observe your children you will see how important these basic needs are.
     Your role during these years is to provide security for them by being available to answer their questions and to love them through their struggles.  Most of your time will be spent talking to them as they grow and learn.  Talk to them as often as possible about as much as possible so that you can build a good, strong connection with them which will be valuable during the teen stage. 
     The best thing you can do as a mother is to observe your children so that you can learn who God made them to be.  Once you discover who they are you can easily guide them through life.  There is nothing more harmful than trying to force your child to be someone that they are not.  So take your time to learn about them and offer loving guidance along the way.    

Teens
A teenager faces many significant changes both physical and emotional.  The most important thing you can do for a teenager is to take the time to understand their struggles and to guide them rather than dominate them.  Yes, boundaries are very important and you should not waver in this area as they will try to push the boundaries but will respect you more for putting your foot down. 
    The teenage years can be very confusing, especially for girls who have to learn to cope with hormonal mood swings.  As the mother of a teenager you will need to continue to be loving and patient but at the same time extremely firm and direct about what is acceptable and what is not.  Being their best friend is great but not at the expense of losing your authority as a mother.  You are a mother first who enjoys a close friendship with her teenager.  Keep that clear and you should do well. 
    Early teens (from about thirteen to sixteen) still need firm boundaries in place even though they think they are grown up.  Late teens (seventeen to nineteen) need to be shown trust as young adults but still need reasonable boundaries.  Early teens who rebel need to be disciplined and have consequences for their rebellion.  Late teens who rebel need to be set free after being told that the consequences of their rebellion are on their own head – do not bail them out of the consequences that they might suffer no matter how much you want to.  Finding the balance with your teens in the most difficult thing to do but don’t give up on the boundaries you have set.   

Empty Nest
Having your children leave home can either be very rewarding or very painful.  There are many factors that will determine whether you have rewards or pain but the biggest key is preparation.  Don’t be ignorant in this area.  Have a plan in place from their late teens so that when the time comes, possibly sometime in their twenties, you will be well prepared.  Here are some ideas that you could put in place towards the end of their teens or the beginning of their twenties – each child is different so you will be able to determine how long they will stay home although don’t leave it too late or you might end up surprised.  Don’t wait until your children have left home; begin preparations before that day comes.

Preparation Steps:
  1. Loosen the Bonds:  Relax or remove curfews and allow them more freedom and responsibility.  Trust their decisions and when they make poor choices only offer them advice if necessary.  
  2. Rediscover Yourself: Many parents forget the things that they once loved before having children.  Use this stage to rekindle old passions, sports and hobbies.  Have some ‘me’ time every week and don’t give it up if one of your children need you during your ‘me’ time.   
  3. Invest in Marriage: Enjoy a regular date night, go on short breaks, take time to communicate and have fun together.  Your marriage needs to last a lifetime and too many marriages fall apart at empty next stage.

     Allow yourself time to grieve.  No matter how well you prepare and plan to cope, there will be a time of grieving.  For me it was when my first child was approaching her eighteenth birthday and started dating.  I’m not sure if it was the birthday or the dating, but something kick-started a six month grieving period where I had to let go of her and start relating to her as an adult.  It was very painful but very necessary.
    Some parents grieve early as I did and others much later only after the last child has left home.  There is no telling when you have to go through this but you will have to go through it so you may as well be prepared. Read a book on grieving perhaps but make sure you understand what lies ahead.  Most importantly, find the good in this stage, each stage has positives and it’s a good idea to look for them so you can enjoy your life.

Grandmother
    Titus 2:3-5 has some wonderful advice for older women, “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
A grandmother should be an example to all and should teach her children and grandchildren how to do life well.  It’s a wonderful privilege to have reached this final stage of being a mother and this stage should be embraced. 
    Take time to invest in your grandchildren, teach them from your years of life experience and build a good strong relationship with them so that they have someone other than their parents to talk to when they have problems.  Most importantly, enjoy being a grandmother. 

Find out more about Being a Mother here or use this material to host your own Girl's Night or Mum's Group.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. I'm sorry it's taken me a little while to stop by and say thank you xo

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    1. Angela8.10.12

      Thanks for stopping by Katherine, have a lovely week x

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  2. thanks for sharing this very timely advice...found you at Katherines!I learned I am actually on track with my early teens! Nicole at Seven Flowers

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    1. Hi Nicole,

      It's lovely to hear from you, may God bless you as you delve into the teen years.

      Love
      Angela
      xxx

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  3. Hi there. Nice meeting you here! i am visiting from katherine's Corner blog! This is a nice article. i have one teen and one adult child (who came back home to live after college due to financial needs). I am beginning to deal with the empty nest syndrome and not happy about it, but slowly adjusting :)

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    1. Angela29.10.12

      Hi Gina,

      It's lovely to hear from you. I am so sorry for your struggle with your 'emptying' nest. It can be a very difficult time, I have grieved and understand your struggle. God's grace is sufficient for you, lean into Him, He is faithful.

      Love
      Angela
      xxx

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