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Taking off the supermom cape

I'm an empty nest mom now, but once upon a time I had four kids at home, usually all day--former homeschooler here--every day! All four were active and creative, and since those were qualities we wanted to encourage, I frequently had to respond to cries of "Mom, help!" Like you, I bandaged a lot of wounds, pulled out slivers, removed ticks, assessed various injuries, transported patients to the emergency room, and cleaned up major spills. Being first on the scene, ready and able to solve problems for the kids was one of my favorite parts of being a mom. Who doesn't want to be a kid's hero?

Image by lookstudio on Freepik

However, I'm finding that as an empty nester and mom of adult kids, I need to temper my ingrained "first responder" impulses. In fact, it's just not possible to be supermom at this point. My closest child is 800 miles away! And that's not the only problem. When I give in to my first responder impulses, I end up mothering my husband. Not a great way to build a strong empty nest marriage!

That's why one of my goals for 2024 is to transform from a first responder to a prayer responder. I want my default reaction to crisis to be prayer: turning to God for wisdom, direction and His divine provision. This is one of the toughest parts of the empty nest transition as it involves both relinquishing our role as omnipresent supermom and choosing to place our family members in God's hands, trusting that He can do at least as good a job as we can.

What I find interesting about the whole family dynamic surrounding our role change during the empty nest is that our kids need us to make this transition away from supermom status as much as we need to for ourselves. If we try to stay as involved as ever, we end up smothering rather than mothering, and their opportunities for growth are stunted. Even worse, it can create resentment and withdrawal, making future connection even more challenging.

Here's what I'm doing to help myself take off the supermom cape and become a habitual prayer responder: I'm following the example of the Apostle Paul.

Paul says to the believers in Philippi, "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy . . . " (Philippians 1:3-4, NIV). So, when I think of someone, I say a quick prayer for them, and I pray with joy rather than fear. I might even be praying for you as you read this, friend!

This practice hasn't reached habit level, but I'm sure consistency will eventually cement it as my innate reaction--I will have become a prayer responder!

How about you, my friend? How might taking off your supermom cape and putting on the habit of praying first change your relationships with your family and even your friends? It's not easy developing a new habit after many years of mothering when we absolutely had to be first responders for our children. But it is a transition that gives both us and our children freedom to grow in dependence upon God and faith in His good plan. When we become habitual prayer responders, we have a developed a new and better superpower with absolutely no limit to how much we can use it!


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