I am a stay-at-home mom with two children, ages 3 and 2. My husband and I have just discovered that a new baby is on the way. I am at my wit’s end for a couple of reasons! First, with one income that barely makes ends meet now, how will we ever support our even larger family? Secondly, I already feel inadequate as a mother at 28-years-old. My parenting skills are terrible, my patience is always thin, I already feel overwhelmed with 2 children, and don’t feel I have the tools to raise my children as God intends.
I read the Bible for answers, but I have trouble following through. I received no positive examples of motherhood during my childhood to rely on, so I’m just winging it on my own where it comes to parenting. I continue to try and educate myself, but I feel I am doing a horrible job at it, and I can clearly see the results from my children’s behavior.
My husband needs a lot of work in this area as well, and we both need to work on our marriage. Do you have any advice? As for the income, should I get a job, or strive towards getting a degree, despite our circumstances? Please help!
Congratulations on your newest addition. I understand the feeling of being overwhelmed by a new baby. I have three of my own children, and when I had two, number three was a “surprise” and it was very difficult to grasp the idea that a new baby was on the way. It felt overwhelming, lonely, frustrating, and completely unfair. With that said, it can also be easy to fall into a depression of sorts, and it is important that you take care of yourself so that you can be there for your children and your husband.
There is good news for you and your parenting ability. There are no perfect parents and everyone can improve their parenting skills no matter what age.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
1. Relax. Take some time to care for yourself. With two children under 4, you need some self-care. Whether that means some time at the gym, joining a local MOPS group, taking a class for yourself, etc. you need to care for yourself. Too often as moms, we get immersed in parenting and can easily lose our identity as individuals. If possible, find some help with your kids for an hour or so each day so that you can regain an identity separate from being ‘mom.’
2. Find a group that helps with parenting skills. One I really like is Parenting with Love and Logic. Although it is not specifically a Christian parenting group, the parenting techniques they offer are sound and really do work. I went through a session with them and many friends of ours have, too. We all learned something valuable and practical each week.
3. Take care of your marriage. The best thing you can give your children is a strong, stable marriage. Kids need to know that you and your spouse are committed to each other, enjoy being around each other, and support each other as individuals and as parents. So, get a babysitter or swap sitting with another set of parents, and go out and enjoy some time with your husband.
4. Regarding your financial situation, talk with a financial analyst you know and trust. If you don’t know one, ask friends or people at your church for a recommendation. Then, create a budget and stick to it. Downsize if you need to and keep communication open!
I hope this gives you somewhere to begin. God bless you as you strive to become a better parent. He will reward your efforts.