Motherhood is simultaneously the most wonderful and difficult adventure I have embarked on in life. There are moments where you are filled with ecstatic joy and fulfillment and others where you crash on your bed at night in utter exhaustion and dismay.
Motherhood is something I am grateful for–for the amazing opportunity I have to watch my precious children grow and learn and for all that it is teaching and doing in ME. It is something I hope to become better at over time.
I have found that motherhood demands a lot. And to be the best mom I can be, focusing on certain things really helps give me an edge. Or, perhaps, keeps me from falling over the edge!
I thought I would share a couple of the things that help me keep my sanity as a mother. That help me be the best mom I can be and enjoy this crazy adventure of motherhood.
- Believing that my kids do not need a perfect parent, just a repentant parent.(This is a phrase that Brance and I picked up from his father before he passed away. It’s so wise, right?) I am not going to get it all right as a parent. Oh man, not even close. Accepting that I am fallen and will need to ask my children’s forgiveness from time-to-time is super freeing. Not that I use it as an excuse to be lax or uncaring in my parenting. But being able to say to my kids, “Hey, you know what honey? Mommy messed up when she did ______ and I want to tell you that I am sorry. I have asked God to forgive me and I want to ask you to forgive me too.” Some of my sweetest moments as a mom have come after those words when I hear them say “of course” and give me the biggest hug and smile (which they always do!). This one really kicks “mom guilt” in the teeth (would you believe that I had to explain mom guilt to my hubby recently? Men and women really are so different!).
- Taking care of my physical, mental, and emotional health. When mommy feels like crap, it is hard for her to be the loving and patient parent she wants to be. For me, it means addressing many of the things that I talk about in my little ebook and frequently on the blog: making sure I am getting enough sleep, eating healthily, getting enough Vitamin D and magnesium (both proven to help improve mood), exercising, taking some alone time every week to pursue interests etc. And then not being too hard on myself if I have slipped up in an area, but simply jumping back onto the wellness boat when I notice I have strayed.
- Making sure I am growing spiritually. For me, this means that I try and spend time reading the Bible and praying every day. I wish I could say that I always get it in first thing in the morning, like my amazing husband. But the truth is that doesn’t always happen. I used to be good about having a morning devotion, but in recent years I have let that slip. Although it is something I would like to get back to. I think the important thing is that just like we need to feed our physical bodies every single day, we should be feeding ourselves spiritually as well. I need to be seeking this nourishment so that I can lovingly correct, and guide, and help my children discern what is best in life–to really love God and others.
- Embracing the gift and joy of being a parent. This intense season of parenting with children in my nest will come to an end all too soon. My oldest turns 9 this week and I keep thinking how that is halfway to 18. And holy smokes, how did we get here so quickly?! Life really is a vapor. You guys, I could sit down and have a good cry at how short this time with our kids really is. It’s one of the reasons I try and enjoy my kids as much as possible. Although, admittedly, some days I do this better than others (just ask Brance). But I WANT to do this more and more. I want to set down the dishrag more often for a dance party in the kitchen. I want to listen attentively and eagerly to their stories, thoughts, and desires. I want to say YES to more “camp-outs” in the living room with blanket forts and popcorn. I want to read more books together and take more walks in the park and revel more in the beauty of God’s creation. When I do these things, parenting is more enjoyable and I feel closer to my kids.
These are some of the things that help me in this beautiful and wild motherhood adventure. I’d love to hear in the comments any of your tips. I love learning for you!
Loving and surviving motherhood,
p.s. Brance and I desired to have more than 2 kids, but because of unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances, 2 is what God has blessed us with so far. I’m not sure what our future holds in this department. So I am curious if, when, and how you have come to decisions about the number of children in your family–through pregnancy, adoption, fostering etc.