I wrote a post called “Raising Another Woman’s Husband: He’s Not Only My Son.” After that article I received requests for a post about raising girls to be wives and mothers.
I once heard a piece of advice that has been the basis for every choice I have made as a woman, and it is wisdom that I am currently passing on to my daughter. The wisdom is this: You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at one time.
I was given this nugget of wisdom in my early 20s during a time when I wanted to get married, attend college, have babies, become an interior designer or counselor, continue volunteering in both youth and children’s’ ministries, help my husband through college, and on and on.
In those years, I was blessed with older women to mentor me. They taught me that life is not a sprint, it’s a journey, and as a journey, life also has seasons. Seasons change, and as they do so does our role in our family and the community.
This is the wisdom I share daily with my nine-year-old daughter. I want her to understand that we women are the heart and soul of our homes. We create the atmosphere in our homes, and we set the tone of the day everyday.
My daughter is much like me in that she has endless dreams to chase. She wants to be a wife and mother when she grows up, but she has also told me she wants to have a job and she wants to be involved in church or charity work of some sort. That’s normal for most girls. We grow up dreaming of the family we will create, but we also dream of using our giftings in the marketplace and in our community. I don’t know very many girls who don’t dream of having it all. I think that is both normal and healthy.
However, having it all at one time can lead to stress and sometimes failure. So, I am teaching my daughter the journey principle. I am teaching her to do her best at the task in front of her and to plan to the best of her ability for the next step to reach her goals, but also to remain patient with the process of whatever it is she’s doing. My goal is to help her learn to focus on the things she should, instead of being frustrated that she hasn’t reached goals that should be reserved for a later date. I want her inner dialogue to be encouraging and gracious.
We women tend to beat ourselves up for not doing enough even on our most successful day. I don’t want my daughter to spend her days in self doubt. I also want to develop a relationship with her that is honest. I want her to be able to come to me with her struggles and her dreams. It’s my job and my delight to be able to help her work through the difficulties while also helping her create victories.
The reason I am completely focused on the here and now with her is because I want her to learn how to discern which season of life she is in and be content there. I want her to realize that this season of life won’t last forever and when it changes it won’t return. I want her to be able to enjoy each season of her life to the fullest extent.
I know there will be a day when she’s in college wanting to drop out to marry the wrong guy. We’ve all been there, right? I want her to be able to say to herself, “This isn’t his season.” And when she’s married with screaming babies, I want her to hear the older women around her saying, “Enjoy those babies.” I want her to enjoy the days when she’s running around chasing a baseball team and cheering them to victory. I want her to succeed in her job while realizing that if she has to postpone her career, it’s okay, or if she must work to make ends meet, I want her to do so knowing that she is doing something wonderful for her family.
All these things I have mentioned are struggles we women experience. We agonize over who we are and what we do, but I want my daughter to be confident within herself. I want her to know that she is doing the right things in the right seasons of her life. I really want my daughter to love herself so she can joyfully be the woman God created her to be with the people God places in her care. Being the mother of a future wife and mother is a privilege. I am so blessed to have a daughter. I want her journey to be one filled with love, success, and joy. I believe teaching her to see life as a journey is the best way to help her think right about her place in the world.