The first four years of motherhood have been an incredible adventure. There are days of immeasurable joy and days of unbelievable exhaustion. I have been tested in ways I never could have imagined but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But there are 4 things I learned during these last years that I want to pass along to all the new mothers out there.

1. I don’t have to figure it out alone

I’ve never been more desperate for daily help and wisdom from Jesus as I’ve been since becoming a mother, and I’m fully convinced that’s how He designed it to be. He desires for us to lean into Him for help, even in the moments or troubles that seem mundane. Motherhood leads us to wholehearted dependence on Him and that is not a sign of weakness. I’ve also never needed a community of like-minded women to surround and support me. I’ve learned how important it is, whenever possible, to pursue trustworthy friendships with other women who honor God and push me closer to Him.

Psalm 121:2 “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

2. I don’t have to have it all together

Admitting I don’t have it all together sets me free to be the mother I was created to be. (I encourage you to say that out loud to yourself a few times and let it soak in.) A few weeks ago at our Sunday evening service, while sharing an incredible message on parenting & family dynamics, Pastor Sean said, “it’s about the relationship not the formula.” The next morning, I found myself getting frustrated because my son wasn’t following the “formula” I was trying hard to implement while getting ready for preschool. This statement rushed back to my mind. I was challenged to lay aside the way I thought that specific thing had to be done. Instead, I needed to focus in on what my son was trying to communicate to me in that moment and work hard to pursue a connection with him, even if it meant changing the formula. My son needs an honest, vulnerable, and open mom; he doesn’t need me to be perfect.

* When you have a few extra minutes, here’s the message I’m referring to by Pastor Sean Yost. Take a listen and be encouraged:

3. Pursue connection at all costs

Connection doesn’t come easy, but it’s worth fighting for. I follow an inspiring, Christian mom on instagram named Katie Riddle (@RiddleLove).

Recently on Instagram, she shared this:

If I could give one (or so) piece of advice to new moms it would be this: If you find yourself resenting your child and you want to get away, do the opposite. Clear the other busy things and pull them closer. It takes time and space to enjoy being a mom. Don’t crowd it out. And don’t go by what works for other moms. Everyone and every family is different and has unique rhythms all their own. With great grace and mercy for yourself, find out what yours is. As my own mom always said, “Connection at all costs.” (I do advocate “me time,” but also connection).

Sometimes pursuing a heart-to-heart connection with your kiddo means leaving the dishes in the sink to play on the floor (and build a hot wheels track if you live in our home). Doing this always opens up a gateway for amazing conversation with my son. 

4. “Comparison is the thief of joy” has never proven more true

I’m not perfect but Jesus is. This means the only perfect way to parent is to seek Him day in and day out and follow His way, which is much better for my child than my way. I can’t expect to find fulfillment in my parenting and my relationship with my kids if I am constantly comparing our home to other homes. I can’t expect to feel confident in my mothering if I’m comparing myself to other moms. I’ll carry around a heavy weight of guilt and feelings of failure if I do this. Their kids have different needs, desires, dreams, and fears than my kids do. What works for them may not work for us; in fact, it usually won’t. That’s the beauty of motherhood! It’s a journey of constantly discovering new things about my child and devoting myself to love this child that God has entrusted to me.