There are four words that I am learning go together: mothering, grace, love and forgiveness.
The longer I mother, the more I love my children. I thought I loved them when they were babies. When there was the amazement and joy of getting to know that new little person. Of carrying them and kissing the tops of their heads much too often because I just could not stop myself. (Even now I want to kiss other babies' heads- I will be one of "those" old women one day!) Of course, that was love, sweet love that it is so easy to give to a precious baby, and love that I believe all babies should be saturated in. Both us and them are better for it, and what a precious, precious time it is!
What is amazing to me is how deep and fierce my love for my children, who are becoming complicated and interesting people, is. They are not as "easy" to love as they were as little babes and toddlers with chubby cheeks. I am thankful that my 6 year old still has remnants of her toddlerhood, in her little cheeks as she sleeps and breathes deeply, and her still child-like voice. But I'm seeing hints of young womanhood, of the woman she will one day become in my 9 year old. Just hints, still, but they are there.
And now there is love, grace, and forgiveness. Because I am mothering immature children while I'm still immature myself. I need God's grace as I mother, as I teach my children (at times things which I have not yet learned myself- I'm learning with them!), and practice forgiveness. To forgive myself for making as many mistakes as they do, for having a hard heart, for being selfish. And I never knew how hard my heart was, how selfish I am, how imperfect I am, until I started this mothering thing. And I know that I should give thanks for that, really! Though some days I envy my 26 year old self, so confident and excited. I became a mother the day after my 27th birthday, and then the true shaping of my character began.
I'm so thankful this morning that I'm not parenting alone. I have my husband, of course. But we both have our Heavenly Father, and the Holy Spirit. I'm still learning, daily, always to walk in the Spirit and trust Him as I parent. All mistakes are definitely my own, and they are many. So praise God for love, grace and forgiveness!
Some resources that I have found helpful:
Whole Heart Ministries lead by Sally and Clay Clarkson (Over the years their conferences and books have been immensely encouraging to me) Specifically:
Sally's blog "I Take Joy"
And I am being so blessed by the new edition of "Heartfelt Discipline" by Clay Clarkson.
Also, a variety of books by wise authors, some Christian and some secular:
But, most important, and what I know I need to do more, is prayerfully seeking wisdom in God's Word!