A Mother’s Self-Esteem
Letting go of my children has always been difficult for me. As a mother, I often fear the unknown. Each time one of my children encounters a new stage, I am confronted by a sense of inadequacy.
When my children reached the age where others began to influence them, I felt my self-esteem needed to be in check. My children’s lives suddenly weren’t all about what my husband and I wanted them to know. Our children were faced with choices.
My role became to guide and teach them the process they needed to make their own decisions with the understanding that the choices they made would have consequences. This is something I could only do if I maintained a healthy self-esteem, realizing that their choices, good or not-so-good, didn’t determine my own sense of worth. I could only strive to be a confident mother, preparing them for life’s challenges, trusting God for the results.
It’s all too easy for moms, as we immerse ourselves in the task of mothering, to tie our identity and our value to our children: we meet their needs and feel needed. We encourage their successes and feel successful. They make wrong choices and we take all the onus upon ourselves.
But in doing this, our self-esteem bobs up and down, rather than being anchored in our souls. And that’s not good for us, or for our children, to whom one of the greatest gifts we can give is a healthy self-confidence.
So how does a mom maintain a healthy self-esteem? Part of the answer came to me when I realized that I can either allow feelings of inadequacy to cripple me, or I can face my inner fears and embrace the changes before me.
I also realized that self-esteem must be nurtured–perhaps all the more so when you are nurturing a family. Here are seven intentional ways I’ve found to cultivate a healthy self-esteem as a mom.
- Maintain strong relationships: Healthy relationships with your spouse, children, friends and family members will develop your self-esteem. These influencers in your life can serve as mentors and help you build into your children’s lives. Define healthy boundaries as you nurture your relationships.
- Personal development: Often the last person a mother makes time for is for herself. You will need to book time for fitness, reading, relaxing, hobbies and personal growth. As you make time for this, you will have more to give to your children.
- Life management: With all the individuals in one household going in many different directions, chaos can erupt! It often seems that the mom becomes the center of this. Establish a system that will create order. It needs to be one that will work for you. Create a method that allows each person to know what is expected and when it needs to be done. A little planning ahead and sharing of responsibilities can create a smoothly-run household which will help you feel good about yourself.
- Develop significance: Whether you are working or an at-home mom, it is easy to begin to feel as though you have little significance–and wonder if you are really making a difference. Developing a sense of significance is something that you will need to work on continually. Each season of life brings new needs. Look for ways that you can be involved in an area of your passion. Your involvement may be simple or it may be extensive, but being involved in something you see as changing lives will influence how you see yourself.
- Develop dreams and passions: Dreams have the power to change the world. As moms we are often so busy looking after the needs of those around us, that we tend to see our dreams as a childhood memory. Take time to reflect on those things that you used to hope for and begin to pray towards seeing these dreams become reality.
- Take time for fun and laughter: Few things will make you feel better about yourself than laughter and fun. Your family will beam as you take time to play and laugh with them (regardless of their ages). Plan events that are completely spontaneous and possibly even out-of-character for you.
- Allow God to empower you as a mother: God desires for you to have discernment, sensitivity and wisdom. As you pray and seek God. He will give you the resources to deal with whatever difficult situations that you might find yourself in. He cares deeply about you and your children.
If your relationship with God has not been empowering you in the way that you would desire, He is willing to help you and become real to you.
God wants to be our leverage in living, empowering us to feel better about ourselves, more excited about our future, more grateful for those we love and more enthusiastic about our faith.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you live life according to His perfect plan. Why not pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit:
Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have sinned against you by directing my own life. I thank you that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.