To rock at being a mother, clearly everyone needs to learn new things. And it’s so much more than learning how to be a parent to your first baby! It’s learning how to understand yourself in this new space – and with each successive motherhood  season.

It’s an adjustment in your own self-concept and understanding of self. This is a place of personal growth, as you learn and discern more about you, your children, your partner and the world around you. It’s about wisdom and discernment. The Bible puts it well when it says:

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. (Prov 18:15)

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A Classroom? Really?

As you learn new things there are skills, strategies and systems to find out about, and new ideas to put into practice. Rather than learning in a proper classroom, it’s almost always a case of learning-on-the-go in a virtual classroom. One day, I suddenly found myself in an unexpected classroom, at the supermarket . . .

This mother leaned over the handlebar of the shopping trolley (cart), deep in conversation with her two children who were about 7 and 9 years old. I could only imagine what she was saying, but they were looking and listening attentively.

She was stopped in a quiet space, right next to the freezer chests, explaining the problem and what they might do next. I imagined her telling them that the whinging and whining would now stop. And soon, they’d be out of there, with some special treats to have at home. Well, only if they behaved, that is.

It was fascinating. There was no yelling. No embarrassing screaming. Nothing but an outward display of love, concern and connection. I didn’t know what sort of trouble those kids were in. However, I am very aware of all those supermarket tricks: demands for more; whining for items they couldn’t have; and screams over “needed” toys. Clearly, the children I saw were stuck there, next to the freezer chest, until they were willing to comply.

A Battle of Wills

For you, perhaps already a mother of a baby and a toddler, always be on the lookout for how others manage their children. Of course, visiting the supermarket is a big challenge! We all know this routine task – supermarket shopping – is one of the most stressful parenting situations.

What do you do as the whole world looks on while your child throws a spectacular tantrum? As I watched that mother quietly discipline her children, I saw how she dealt with a battle of wills.  It was a great opportunity for me to learn new things.

Can you Learn New Things when Stressed and Anxious?

Being a mother is one of the greatest challenges you will ever face. It’s very different to any job you have ever done before. Motherhood entails you coming to grips with your own frailties, pre-suppositions, up-bringing and values. It’s a very personal, yet outward-looking journey. No wonder your newly experienced motherhood took you by surprise during those early weeks as you gathered your tiny bundle in their arms!

If you think about it, it’s not just new mothers who discover the need to be ready and willing to learn new things. Experienced mothers are just as easily surprised as they notice gaps in their knowledge.

But have you ever tried to learn new things, whether that be a new language, new diet plan, exercise program, or new life-skills, when anxious and stressed? Honestly, it doesn’t work so well. It’s so much more difficult to be open to new and creative ideas or opportunities, when you are only just staying ahead of your own doubts and insecurities.

This is when it’s so important to know you are loved, as outlined in the previous blog. Did you know that you are enough? When you relax into knowing you are loved, your anxiety decreases. Your defenses relax, and you can be far more creative. In this place, you are much better equipped to learn new things.

Where do you Look?

There are many places you can look to learn new things. Of course, your own family and friends are the usual starting point. Clearly the internet is the go-to place – Pinterest is such a great space to learn new things. And it never hurts to borrow books from the library, or sign-up for a parenting course – a literal classroom! But odd places like the beach, at the movies, and even the supermarket are great places to watch and learn what other families do.

And especially, don’t forget to ask God to show you what to do, because none of your concerns take him by surprise. If you keep on asking, he always answers – although perhaps not in the way you expect!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

Your turn! Name one or two new things you learned since becoming a mother, and let me know in the Comments box below.

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