It happens to all of us. Whether we like it or not, whether we’re anticipating it or dreading it, it happens: we get older. When it happens, there can be excitement and reminiscence mixed with tinges of sadness, and anticipation about the adventure ahead. Some celebrate getting older, while others struggle … fighting heavy tears welling up in their eyes as they contemplate, unsure of what it will mean for them.
As much as I don’t always care to admit it, I am… uh, um… a ‘seasoned’ mom. While I have cherished being ‘Mom’, adding particular preceding adjectives doesn’t seem all that flattering. Being tagged as ‘experienced’, ‘veteran’, ‘older’ and ‘mature’ (not quite yet ‘senior’, though I’ve begun to get ads), I have to admit, even to myself, that I’m that mom.
As I’ve pondered this new position, it’s not all bad because, in reality, every woman is an older woman to someone. Being older means extended life experiences have led to added knowledge, including extra observations that have brought increased wisdom. Older does not mean antiquated and out of commission. In fact, the opposite is true… older means more on mission and commission than ever before. You are at the point in life where you can commit the time to really pour into younger moms who are in the thick of training, teaching, rearing, and raising up their littles, mids, and bigs.
Many times it takes an outside person to help young parents reason through the whys and hows of parenting and to help moms keep their eyes on the goal. When your mind is jam-packed with the day-to-days, it can get muddled and clouded. Having an older, trusted women who has traveled the road before you can bring reason, as well as steady and calm to the chaos going on around you … even in your mind. Women who started as my mentors have become life-long friends, even dear friends – and I wouldn’t trade those friendships for all the tea in China!
How do you find such women? It’s not as hard as you might think.
Look up – Ask the Lord to show you someone who is ahead of you in the parenting journey. Look up to your heavenly Father and ask Him to bring across your path a qualified person whose personality will mesh with yours; someone you respect and look up to who will be a good role model and will be familiar with the Truth of God.
Look Ahead – Observe outcomes in other families that you also desire in your own. Find a mom you respect because you see the result of her parenting efforts in the lives of her children. Look ahead to someone whose children are at least 5 years (preferably 10 years or more) older than your children. Moms with children close in age to yours may be doing a good job that you wish to emulate, but the reality is they are also in the thick of mothering and the ‘product’ hasn’t yet turned out. You’re not looking for someone perfect, just a mom you can connect with who has produced children similar to the way you’d like your children to turn out.
Be Direct – Ask to be mentored. Don’t be afraid to be assertive. One of the most sincere compliments you can give to another mom is to say, “I would love to spend time with you to learn from you; to understand why and how you do what you do. Please teach me what you did with your children.” What a huge heart lift! Your words of affirmation acknowledge that you recognize the many years of hard work put into child-rearing and will bring joy to a mom of any age.
Be Committed – Start with a short-term commitment with the option to renew. Having a set time will benefit both you and your mentor. Be faithful to whatever arrangement you make in fairness to your mentor’s time as well as whoever is caring for your children while you are being mentored. Take the counsel and wisdom provided. Discuss it with your husband and apply it in your life, in your marriage, and with your children.
Young moms need older moms, so look up and look ahead while also looking behind and beside you. No matter where you are in your mothering journey, you too, are that mom because there are always other younger women coming behind you.
Others are watching what you do–how you prioritize your relationship with your husband and handle your children. Open your heart to encourage a younger woman. Redeem the time and make the most of every opportunity for God to show you His Truth for real life; connect with a mom who will encourage you on your parenting path.
Karen Kurtz is a mom of 4 Babywise/Prep for Parenting babies. All of them slept through the night as prescribed in the Ezzo’s parenting books. As a Contact Mom, Karen enjoys helping other parents train their babies and children. Karen and her husband Don, make their home in NE Ohio and all four babies are now young adults.