Updated: Feb 23, 2019
We have all heard it, haven't we? As a mother of 4 (ages 10-1yr), I have lost count how many times. Peacefully pushing the grocery cart around the grocery store with my kids, the familiar chuckle of a stranger shaking their head,
"Wow do you have your hands full!"
“Better you than me!”
Loading groceries into our mini-van, my oldest son (who was 9 at the time) asks thoughtfully, "Why do people always say that to you wherever we go Mom?"
These people mean well and I love that they wish to engage with someone but even so, every time I hear it, it inspires much thought. What if people could view the sight of a mother with her children differently, that instead of it causing sympathy, their eyes could see what is in my heart. That children are a blessing. A legacy. A gift. Even amidst the loud and messy. Yes, motherhood is hard, but praise God it doesn't stop there!
It seems small and insignificant, but a perspective shift helps us to see motherhood through the lenses of PURPOSE and INTENTION instead of just SURVIVAL. This shift helps us to step up into influence within our families, rather than falling into defeat.
Our family is a team and each person needs to contribute. We are not doing our children any favors by being the martyr who does it all. Childhood is a training time to prepare them for real life and so many of us Mama’s, underestimate the ability our children have to help out in the home. Yes this can be intimidating to implement but once in place, automating chores and routines in our families gives us back the time and energy to be a better mother and wife.
When I started to make these needed changes in our home, I was burnt out and exhausted. I knew something had to change because I couldn't continue down the path I had created by quietly doing all the things! So I put aside time every Saturday and created chore lists, and a time blocking schedule.
This has been a LIFE SAVER. My kids were a bit resistant at first but now I can actually see that they enjoy knowing what is expected of them and playing a part in contributing to a thriving home environment.
Proverbs 15:4 says, "A gentle tongue is the tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Friends, our words hold so much power. We can bless with them or crush with them. Just as we are teaching our children to have self control over their speech, we too can model this.
Mama, we all have areas we struggle, there is GRACE for that. Know that at any moment of our day, we have the ability to push the reset button. Take a deep breath, apologize and start again. We Mama's are learning too!
Lets encourage, edify and affirm our kids. Rejoicing in the little victories and learning from what isn’t working.
Last year I found the Enneagram. If you haven't heard of it yet, check it out! This is a personality typing system like no other. Understanding the core needs and fears of myself, each of my children, and husband, has helped me tremendously in the way I parent.
Better understanding for the different personality types your loved ones fall into, brings compassion, patience, and understanding.
While social media has the amazing ability to keep us connected, it also produces a false sense of reality. Beware of the highlight reels and the still posed, yet supposedly "authentic" posts. People rarely let you see what isn't pretty and over time this can make anyone feel lesser than.
Lets not compare to the picture perfect pinterest kitchen, the highly altered selfies, the perfect looking relationships. Everyone has deeper a story and we are only seeing part of the picture.
You have something in you that no one else has. You make a lousy someone else but you make an incredible you. So lets be our true best selves.
Id also love to touch on letting go of the weight of other peoples parenting expectations. My motto is, its impossible to please everyone but I CAN please God. This has been so freeing for me. If someone doesn't agree with how I parent,
"It takes a village to raise a child."
We have all heard this quote and nodded our heads yet, in this generation, we lack a village more than any other time in history. We can feel very alone and isolated if we don't do something about this.
So what can be done? Invest your time into in-person relationships. Start a moms group. Schedule weekly coffees with friends. Watch each other’s kids for a few hours a week giving each other some kid-free time.
Ask for help!
I am preaching to myself here! This is not something that came easily for me and I am working through that, but know that there is no shame in asking for help. Have grandma over. Hire a house cleaner. Voice the areas you are struggling with and accept help when it’s offered. Remember that our husbands cant read our minds. Haha!
This is only a season and the day will come where YOU can be the one another Mama can lean on.
Less is More
In my adulthood, I am more and more drawn to minimalism. Not in an extreme militant sense, but in a freedom from the clutter of excessive stuff. Everything we own takes away or adds to our life. How much time is spent picking it up and putting it away, cleaning, or maintaining it? Ask yourself, is this item adding more to my life than its taking? I find toys get out of hand the quickest. Less toys equal less time cleaning! And our children actually play better with less.
I try to buy less quantity and more quality. Really considering the purpose behind it.
I didn't realize the effect clutter was having on me until I started sweeping through my home, aggressively purging. I remember walking up to my house and the familiar inner dread rising up inside, internally preparing for the sight of... what looked like work. I didn't even know this was my normal until I felt it lift when I walked in a saw a neat, clutter free home!
The idea of less is more has moved into other ares as well. Time and commitment. Mama's, we can either do a few things really well, or we can do a lot of things poorly. Have realistic expectations on yourself.
Be kind to yourself.
Praise yourself for the things you have done well each day instead of the focus being on what looks like failure.
Another moment to remember.