I love my son so much sometimes that I feel as though my heart could burst! It is hard to believe that there is room in my heart for another one, but I know that the feelings I have for my child will only multiply when the other baby enters into this world. I work part-time out of the house, so the majority of my daily life is caring for Levi. He is my full-time, rarely get a break, job and I LOVE it! The most challenging but most rewarding work I have ever experienced. Even though being a mother is my main focus each day, it could also very easily become the center of my world, and I know that I would not be a good mother if that became true. Why you say? How is it being a “bad” mother if Levi (and Baby) were the center of my world? Because I would then depend on them for my happiness (my fulfillment in life) and that is a lot of responsibility to place on my children’s shoulders. So in order to maintain my focus on truly being a good mother, I must write down my top three priorities to be a good mother.
1. Have and Cultivate a Relationship with God. In order to teach my kids morals and values, I must know what they are, believe in them with all of my heart, and follow them with my life. Teaching them without living them is useless, since my actions are the greatest teacher of all. I am a believer in Jesus and am so thankful for the relationship I have with Him. He has given me peace in the midst of storms in life (HELLP syndrome being one of my greatest storms), wisdom in making decisions, joy in the small things, love when I feel alone, patience with difficult people and situations… I could go on and on. I know that I am not perfect and never will be, and my kids need to understand that I am doing the best that I can but am still human. But God is perfect, will always be there for them and that they too can depend on Him as Mommy and Daddy do. I couldn’t imagine raising Levi and the baby on my own without His guidance, values, and strength. It is so wonderful to be able to lean on God and rely on Him to get me through each day.
2. One-on-One time with my Husband. My Mom and Dad get major parenting points in this area! Never once in my childhood (and today) have I ever doubted that my parents love each other. They went on dates, took trips together, and enforced uninterrupted time without us kids. My brothers and I never felt neglected by them, and it displayed to us that we had a safe and secure family home. I want Matt and I to have this kind of marriage as well. When Levi was 7 months old and 13 months old, Matt and I took overnight getaways. Both were to vacation spots near by, where we could enjoy at least 24 hours of uninterrupted husband and wife time. The trips were WONDERFUL and important for our marriage. We have already planned a 2nd Babymoon. It will be difficult for me to be away from Levi for a full week but it will be much better for me (and our family) to spend a full week with just Matt. I know that having our marriage as a priority will have a positive lasting effect on our children.
3. My Own Interests and Abilities. God has instilled in me skills, talents, and interests for a reason: to use them and to enjoy them. We all have our own unique set and they could easily be lost or set aside when our focus changes to our children’s own set of interest and abilities. Not that I shouldn’t encourage my kids talents, but I shouldn’t forget about my own. This is an area I struggle with… giving all of myself to my husband and kids and not taking the time to do something that I love. Well, last weekend I did something that I love… I spent a long weekend in New Orleans with my best friend. Lyndsey and I met there and had the most refreshing time exploring a new city together, making memories, and sharing our hopes, dreams, concerns, fears, and life stories. Girl time was overdue and something that I shouldn’t neglect. I realize that I need a lot of work in this area and must prioritize in some Amanda time.
If I have a good relationship with God, my husband, and myself, it will only encourage me to be a better mother. My life will then teach my kids how to live with values, how to properly love someone else, how to have independence and cultivate one’s talents, and most importantly how to have purpose in life that will carry on into eternity. I know that I am far from perfect and do not deserve to be in God’s holy presence but through Jesus’ willingness to be the sacrifice for my sins, making me pure before God, I will live in Heaven when I die. Having come close to this reality due to HELLPS, I will strive to make the most of the time I am given and to be the best mother I can be for Levi and Baby.