Today at the pool as I quickly showered my girls, dressed, combed hair, and periodically checked on my son who sat outside the women’s locker room patiently waiting for us (a gift from God to his future wife), an older woman that had been quietly grooming herself in the mirror stopped to impart some words of wisdom…
“You know honey, one day they’ll be all grown up and you’ll hardly know what to do with yourself.”
I politely chuckled and watched her walk out and for a moment relished the day “they’d be all grown up”. Then my thoughts trailed to that woman and I wondered, would there come a day that I “would hardly know what to do with myself”? Would I ever become so idle that I long for the past and have trouble bidding time in the present?
Photo credits: The Carrs Photography
God knows I long for things like my own water bottle, and the freedom to eat a cookie without then having to give everyone a cookie and suffer the consequences of adding sugar to chaos!
But is my identity so wrapped up in my children that when they grow up and leave home I’ll feel like I have nothing left?
If I don’t place my identity in something greater, then perhaps…
While this time is still raw and the smell of spit-up is fresh, I want to take this time to remind my future, empty-nest-self, of what it’s like to be my present, messy-nest-self. One day I want to be a blessing to new mamas, not feel sorry for myself as an older mama. Or worse yet, spout off helpless comments like, “you’ve sure got your hands full” or “enjoy this time while they’re little, it goes by so fast!”
1.) When you come across a young mom with her “hands full” offer a hand carrying something (or someone), hold the door for her, or what about complimenting her on how cute her little gang is? It is always helpful to remind a mama of how cute her bunch is considering how ugly things can get. Just remember she already knows her plate is full!
2.) When chatting with a young mom, never remind her to “enjoy this time”. Remind her to eat something, or to be intentional about spending time with God, or taking time for herself, or better yet, her marriage.
3.) If you find yourself missing the times your kids were little reach out and spend more time with your grandchildren, or the neighbors children. Not only will it bide your time constructively, but you’ll quickly thank your lucky stars when it’s time for them to go back home!
4.) If you don’t find yourself missing the little years, REACH OUT ANYWAY! Moms with young children NEED you. You’ve been there. You have so much to offer. Give a young mom the gift of babysitting. It is the only gift she really wants right now!
5.) Did I mention giving the gift of babysitting?
6.) Remember that ever-growing, heaping mountain that you use to climb every week called laundry? Maybe it’s time to lend a regular hand.
7.) When you walk past your children’s old bedrooms, spick-and-span, and it makes you a little teary, find a mom who’s desperately afraid to open her child’s bedroom door for fear she’ll be eaten alive! You know you’ve tackled that mess a time or two.
8.) If you’re finding it hard to pair down your recipes to only two servings, don’t. Box it up and pass it to a gal who barely had time to pour a bowl of cereal that day.
9.) Instead of secretly (or not so secretly) judging a young moms ability to discipline, extend her the grace you wish someone would have extended you when you had to drag your child out of the store kicking and screaming. Then refer back to #1.
10.) Last but not least, be thankful for the time God gave you to raise your children, and be thankful for the time He has given you now– Use it wisely to honor Him by loving your neighbor as your past-self.
What are some things you’d like to remind your future-self?