How to Trust Your Instincts As A Mother

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When we become mothers, we’re given a lot of advice. Momentous amounts of it. Some of it blessedly helpful, and some not so much. From family members, well-meaning grandmas at church to fellow mothers further along the parenting track. Everyone has something to say.

Oh, and the professionals. Did I forget to mention the doctors and teachers and psychologists who know exactly how to solve your parenting dilema?

I remember one of the contributing factors to the postnatal-anxiety I suffered through with my son was from listening to every single person and getting completely overwhelmed. One person said one thing, another said the opposite, and then the books – the books! So much information, but only one baby to implement it on.

In my less than three years experience as a mother, I can offer you the best piece of advice I have been given and which has steered me well:

Dear mother, you can trust your instincts and make good decisions for your family on your own.

Did I mention that you can do this without following the status quo or despite what professionals say?

As I stumble along this parenting path, I am learning to believe firmly that a mother and father know what is best for their family. I believe this because only you, the person God chose to nurture and raise His children,  know the characteristics, habits, weaknesses, strengths, idiosynchrasies of the people in your family.
The times in my mothering so far when I have felt most overwhelmed, stressed and emotional have been when I haven’t been trusting and doing what I know is good for my kids. I listen to everyone and get ridiculously lost. I go along paths of books and blogs and parents and — well, you get the picture. It isn’t helpful.
And many times, during this whole time of “searching” there is a feeling settled in my gut. I tentatively think I know where to go or what decision to make, but I don’t feel confident enough to do it. This is especially so when it is a different path to others and you struggle with being a people pleaser {just so me}.
If you’ve been following my blog recently, you’ll know that Tim and I have pulled our little boy out of kindergarten. It was a really difficult decision and I really needed some courage to make it. But boy, I am so grateful we did. Hopefully I’ll post an update soon, but let’s just say, being home has transformed our boy. It is a blessed relief.
So how can we trust our instincts and be confident making decisions?
1. Pray and seek the Word.
2. Discuss the in’s and out’s with your husband and seek his thoughts on the matter.
3. If more information/advice is needed, seek out one or two close mother-friends, preferably older and more experienced.
4. Pray more and seek the Word more.
And then, just do it. If everything is pointing one way, step out in faith and do it.

If you’re offered more advice or thoughts from others {or in books etc.}, you take what you hear with humility and a grain of salt; then you look at your children and you think, “What is best for them?”

Another instance in our parenting where we followed our gut was putting our babies on formula. We did it at different times with them both and for different reasons. But both times, it was pretty immediately clear that it was the right choice. Rosalie, for example, had a slight dairy intolerance and I wouldn’t have had a clue if we hadn’t followed our judgement.

This isn’t to say that we can’t be wrong. Oh my, we totally can be. But thankfully, our God is a God of grace and redemption, and, our children are very forgiving!

I do believe, however, that we have all we need for this parenting gig with prayer, our Bibles, wisdom from elders and conversations within marriage. 

So, mother, you can do this. You can make choices for your family even if they’re different, controversial or different between each child. Just trust God to show you the way as you seek Him. He really is listening and He really will direct your steps and give you wisdom.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9 

“I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:7-8 

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13 Comments

  1. When my kids were little we had a very nice friendly neighbor. Helpful. He never did anything odd, but I just didn't feel right about him. and didn't let him come over or interact with our kids more than to say hello. Couple years later, we found out that his wife divorced him after he was arrested and sent to jail for molesting his niece. That taught me a huge lesson. There didn't seem anything wrong that you could clearly put your finger on, but there was just a sense of uneasiness I had. One of the gifts of the Spirit is discernment. So when I have a weird feeling about a situation that doesn't logically seem like there is anything wrong I listen, believing that God is warning me.

  2. Wow. Karen, what an example. Thank you so much for sharing. I am really grateful that the Spirit nudged you and you followed that instinct. I pray this helps and encourages another mother!

  3. Absolutely trust your instincts – your kids are your kids for a reason and only you can parent them as only you can parent them. (I'm sounding kind of like a parrot here, am I not?!) Anyhoo, I totes agree with this – also praying, reading the word, and seeking older, wiser counsel. You're right on as usual, gal!

  4. I'm 3 years into this parenting journey as well and trusting my mothering instinct has been a battle this year! My youngest has been a high need baby, opposite of my first, and though I feel God's guidance in how to parent him, I feel so distracted by everyone else's advice! It has been such a battle…

    God has blessed us with a very sensitive little guy who needs extra gentle and patient parenting while so many people suggest we leave him to cry it out and wean him. I know His way is what matters most!

    Thank you for is encouraging post! #mommymoments
    Amy @ http://www.livinglifetruth.com

  5. I love this topic! As long as you are confident in the Lord as a mother and know that He will provide discernment within us as mothers then yes I absolutely agree we can do all that you mentioned in the post. By the way, I love your tag line. I completely agree and I think about so much as a mother raising 4 children. everything I do as a mother will effect them tomorrow.

  6. Ah, that's tough. Funny, our second was a more high-needs baby as well. Very whiny/clingy/crying baby. It has definitely improved since she is older {2 in a few weeks} as you know what is wrong now {even if it's nothing, she's just being a grump}. But, I get it. Tough. I struggled to bond, or really enjoy who God had made her to be, because I found her crying hard to deal with. I'm not proud of it, but by God's grace, I absolutely love her spunky, spirited and unique character. Hugs x

  7. I appreciate your commitment to pointing us toward the truth. God doesn't want His will for us to be a mystery, and that's true about parenting and about everything else we undertake. The more closely we walk with Him, the more deeply we abide, the more confident we can be in our instincts, as He conforms us to the image of His Son. Thank you for sharing this with us at Grace & Truth!

  8. Thank you Jennifer, that means so much to me {especially since I'm such a “little” blogger}. And thank you for your link-up, it's an amazing opportunity to share my thoughts and meet other bloggers like yourself. Bless you!

  9. I very much believe in intuition and making choices that not only make sense, but that also “feel” right for us. I think it's so important to be aware of, tap into, and to follow our instincts not only as mothers, but also as partners and women. 🙂

  10. Love your advice for trusting our instincts! It's so important to pray and stay in the Word while we're looking for clarity. It's also important to seek counsel from our husbands and trusted, God-seeking friends. 🙂

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