#MomLifeUnfiltered: To My Younger Self

by Donna Gaines

#MomLifeUnfiltered To My Younger Self

To all the mom’s who are keeping it real out there—I applaud you! I, too, could have filled my Facebook page with little people clutter and a van filled with car seats, smashed raisins, and clothing from every athletic team known to man when my four were growing up. I rarely cleaned out my van, and it nearly drove my husband crazy!

He would say, “Why don’t you just bring a load in each time you come in from the van?”  Are you kidding me? I made it into the house with all four children, my purse, and belongings; I could care less about the rest of it! In fact, I usually left the keys in the ignition so I would know where they were.

When I think back on becoming a mom, I too felt terrified and totally unprepared. It didn’t matter that I had read books and attended childbirth classes. I was afraid to take our firstborn home from the hospital! In fact, I talked my doctor into letting me stay another day because my mother wasn’t there yet!

If I could go back to those days, here are a few of the things I would tell my younger self:

  • My greatest contribution to my family is to love the Lord with my entire being, and then to love my kids from the overflow.
  • I would worry less about the house and more about my heart. “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Matthew 12:34
  •  I would read to them about our great God and His infinite love for us. I would memorize scripture and sing at the top of my lungs in worship.
  • I would be in the floor more and leave the “fort” over the dining room table.
  • I would paint more and play with play-doh.
  • I would listen to their stories, laugh at their jokes, and enjoy every moment of snuggling before bedtime.
  • I would worry less and pray more.
  • I would take myself less seriously and God more seriously.
  • I would compare less and serve more.
  • I would bake cookies, read books, take walks, and lie in the grass and look at the clouds.
  • I would do those things that make memories and build character.

Our youngest child got married this past June. My house is quiet and basically clean. I can do what I want to with my time, and guess what? I want to visit my children and play with my grandchildren! That is why grandparents are so much fun—they realize how quickly children grow. My husband says, “The days are long but the years are short.”

So, moms who are deep in the trenches, look up. The heavenly Father has chosen you to steward these precious children and prepare them for the great purpose for which He created them. None of us is up to the task. But the Father will strengthen us and give us wisdom when we ask. He created us for relationship, and we need each other!

Encourage your sisters. Laugh at yourself!

Hold your children with open hands and enjoy them while you can. I encourage you to live #MomLifeUnfiltered! If you will take the challenge, you will be more confident and a whole lot more fun!

Donna Gaines

This post is part of a series titled, #MomLifeUnfiltered. To read more, click here. Please leave your comments below! And if any of our posts minister to you, we’d love for you to share them with a friend!


  1. Melanie Redd says:

    Great word, Donna!

    I hear ladies say often (that are past the childrearing days) that they wish they could go back and do it again now that they know all that they know.

    Thanks for reminding us to make the most of the days and the time that we have with our kids!

    You are a wonderful mom and grand mom.

  2. Carol Lowe says:

    Donna, Someone posted this on fb and I happen to see it. I look back on the days with my girls and I can identify. I did many things wrong, I’m sure, but I did some things right with them, too. Little did I know how our lives would change with April’s passing but I can say I have no regrets at the amount of time we spent with each other. We crammed a lot of love and togetherness in those 35 years. I love your comment about putting God first and loving Him, and letting the family receive the overflow! I guess that goes for grandmothers, too. Thank you, Carol Lowe

    • Donna Gaines says:

      Thank you- You are so right- I have been thinking about you and praying for you recently. You had and have a great relationship with your girls and grandchildren. And that is one reason it is so important to not take a day for granted- none of us are promised another. May The Lord envelope you with His Presence and peace!

  3. jeanne says:

    So very true Donna! The result is a much more relaxed momma when we do the things that are the most important; make memories and build character…so true.

  4. Debbie says:

    Donna, Such a good word for young moms! The days do roll by more quickly than we think they will! A blink… Maybe two … & they are out the door! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Cindy says:

    Hi there, thank you for this article, I really need to hear and do this daily, but may I be so bold and ask a question (or a few). I have seen this type of advice given many a time when most ladies are past childrearing (having an empty nest), but HOW do you have adhere to this advice when you are in the middle of raising young children? I know that God has blessed me with these beautiful gifts, but sometimes in the middle of dirty diapers, name calling, constant laundry and dishing, cooking, cleaning, all of which are staring me in the face, discipline, “Don’t do that, please be quiet, you may not talk to me this way, be nice to your sister, on and on, it seems VERY hard to just sit and enjoy the little years. I am not OCD by any means, I have laundry sit for many days due to not having time, and the same goes for cleaning, but when you are in the trenches day in and day out it seems so easy to overlook this advice, but when the “little” ones have grown and left the home you forget about the daily grind and wish you would have done things differently. How do you do apply this to your life daily when you are still in the middle of it?

    • Donna Gaines says:

      Every mother has asked these questions at one time or another! And being organized and staying on top of tasks seems to come easier for some than others. It did not come naturally for me. I had to work at it. I read books on time management and organization, so I could stay on top of my house hold chores and still have fun with my children. I also had them help with clean up. Even small children can learn to use a paper towel and windex and put toys into bins. On those days that the house is driving you crazy and maybe the kids too – it may be time to go to the park. Call a friend with children and meet there. Your children can play and you will get some much needed adult conversation. Then when you go home, the tasks won’t seem quite so overwhelming. I also encourage you to be part of a Bible study through your church. My fellowship during those years with other women in my same stage of life through our Bible Study helped me tremendously! I also had a dear friend that would help me clean house occasionally and I would help her while our children played. Just remember to have fun in the midst of it – don’t take yourself too seriously. And remind yourself that the days truly are long but the years are short – pray and play – in that order. 🙂 Blessings to you! Donna

  6. Amber says:

    I was just about to comment and ask how a mom currently in the trenches with young children implements these words of wisdom that we so often hear from wiser women who have raised their brood and are now sharing what they learned… and then I scrolled down and saw someone else had already asked and it was answered! Amazing.

    Reading this actually brought me to tears. I worry every night after I put my precious ones to bed that I have missed another day. Rushing to get out the door in the morning, all day at work, dinner on the fly, ball games, baths, and bed. That’s our routine. I feel like I’m just a caretaker sometimes and not the loving parent I always thought I would be. I even told my grandmother tonight that I don’t want to break my children’s hearts, that I don’t want them to /not/ feel loved.

    This was encouraging and uplifting, but it still seems so difficult to do. God never promised anything would be easy, though. But I am not left alone in any struggle, and He is always by my side. This seemingly eternal struggle in motherhood is just another sign that I have not yet given up /everything/ to Him, that I have not given up my control to Him. So easy to say, such a hard thing to live and practice.

  7. Lindsay Edmondson says:

    I love how God works! For some reason I am just reading this blog even though it was posted two months ago. I know I was brought to it for a reason. I got up and saw my house this morning and wanted to sit right back down! 😉 Thank you for reminding us of the important things. It’s so easy to get caught up in every day busyness and miss out on what God has for us. Thankful for you and your family! May I also add, hearing your van was a mess as well brought great comfort to me! Lol.

Leave a Reply