This Memorial Day we remember the fallen soldiers who died fighting for freedom here and abroad. As the wife of a now-retired serviceman, the significance of the day isn’t lost on me.
But today I’m talking to another group of fallen soldiers, mothers who don’t remember how much their kids still need them.
When your children are little it’s obvious you’re important to them. They can’t do anything for themselves and need you for everything. And yes, you love them, but that 24 hour on call is draining.
And while watching them grow up and need you less and less is heartbreaking in some ways, it’s sweet in other ways.
They dress themselves, feed themselves, and entertain themselves, and you get to look after yourself for a change. You sleep a little later, take a little longer in the bathroom, and even squirrel away a few uninterrupted moments doing something YOU love.
Yeah, I admit it, those self-sufficient years are pure bliss …
Except, your children aren’t self-sufficient. Sure, they can do more for themselves, but they can’t raise themselves. Parenting is hands on and can’t be put on auto-pilot, despite modern trends.
Your kids don’t just need what you do for them, they need you.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
I know there are people on your job and in your community who covet your skills and talent. And they show their appreciation with a check, a raise, or at least some praise.
And your kids, well, they’re fine.
They’re so busy doing their own thing, unless they want dinner, a ride, or some money that you check out as a mom, because if they need you, they’ll call you. But I want you to know how much your kids still need you.
You’re not a meal ticket, a taxi, or an ATM. You’re a mother and how you mother shapes generations. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
Remember: your kids still need your presence and attention.
That means being physically present even when they seem completely disinterested. Some of the best conversations I have with my children happen when we’re together doing nothing special.
They think of something and I’m around for them to ask me about it or just share it with me. And if often leads to deeper conversations revealing situations I wouldn’t otherwise know about, but need to pray about.
I’m not saying tie yourself to the kitchen table to catch every word your child says, I’m saying be easily accessible, because if you’re not, they’ll find something or someone else who is.
And when they speak, make consistent eye contact. That’s tough for a multitasker like me with a family, home, blogs, books, tshirts and a “social media presence” to keep up with.
But children notice you’re not fully engaged the same way I would when talking with my husband or you would when speaking with a coworker or a friend.
You know you’re valued when people posture themselves to listen to what you have to say.
Remember: your kids still need your insight and guidance.
Media and friends can’t replace your significance, because they don’t have your child’s best interests at heart. You know your children like no one else on earth, you’ve experienced things they haven’t and better still, as a believer you have discernment.
And they need to know what you think of the people and media they’re exposed to and why you do. They need to learn from your mistakes and for you to teach them how to stay free from bondage to other people’s agendas.
They need you to maintain your post as a soldier on the wall.
Remember: your kids still need a mother, not a friend.
I just stepped on a lot of toes right there but hear me out. Your children have and will have friends over their lifetime. Friends come and go, but your child only has one mother and you are not in competition for significance. No one can take your place.
You’re a mother to be a mother.
To love sacrificially and unconditionally. To teach them. To pray for them and their purpose and then aim them the way they should go. And yes, you can enjoy a close and unique relationship with your child without being their friend.
So Moms, this Memorial Day, remember how much your kids still need you. Keep pouring your time, wisdom and love into them.
Though you’re gifted in many ways and wear many hats, there’s no role more significant than the one that shapes generations.
VANESSA A. HARRIS is an inspirational content creator and the author of DADDY’s Girl Forever and its devotional. She’s a physician turned stay at home mom, who’s never lost her NY wit. She needs it for the three inventive children she raises with her husband in Texas.