Does Your Mothering Make a Difference?

Mother kissing tween son on his cheek

Throughout the past 16 years of speaking and writing, I've communicated with thousands of mothers like you — and like me — who love their children fiercely and want to "get it right" by influencing their kids in the best ways possible. And then the actual challenges of being a mother day after day and year after year happen — and many of us are left wondering if our words, actions and prayers have made one iota of difference in the lives of our children. Especially when we can so easily recall what we did wrong.

If you're that mom doing her best to influence the heart, mind and soul of your children amid soiled Pull-Ups, rambunctious grade-schoolers and hormonal teens, I recommend that you inhale deeply, exhale fully, and repeat after me: "It's not all on me."

I trust you'll remember a couple of broad and freeing truths regarding your influence as a mom. Never forget:

You're not alone in influencing

Read Proverbs 6:20-23 and note the timeless principle of a mother's influence. We're reminded that, for the child who embraces his mother's teaching, her words will continue to lead, watch over and talk to the heart of that child.

You can restart today

At any time you can choose to restart the influence you're having on your kids. So how 'bout now? I did exactly that as a recovering angry mom when my two oldest kids were just 7 and 5 years old. If you feel your influence may not be positive or your focus has waned, remember that every day rel="noopener noreferrer" starts with fresh mercy (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Your influence will endure

Most kids require a couple of decades to recognize the influence of a mom in their life. Time and experience have a way of bringing such understanding . . . so be patient. In all these things, may we remember, "For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work rel="noopener noreferrer" for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).

As of today, all my children have left home. The empty-nest transition hasn't come without its bumps and bruises — I expected as much. However, what I hadn't anticipated was the number of telephone calls, personal conversations and text messages I experienced that weren't simply about asking for help or advice but were moments in which each of my kids told me about making a life-choice that I had influenced.

God really does use our day in and day out, year after year mothering!

Julie Barnhill is an international speaker and author of Confessions of an Imperfect Mom.

This article first appeared on in 2014. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. Get it delivered to your home by subscribing for a gift of any amount.

Copyright © 2014 by Julie Barnhill. Used by permission.

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