Not too long ago I would have considered myself a hot mess as a mother. I was a momma who didn’t know how to love being at home unless I was alone. I needed my space so I could think straight, accomplish tasks, work on hobbies, and just take care of myself, quite frankly. I was searching for happiness in places I could never get to when it was all said and done. It was a dark period in my life, mainly because of how negative I had become. I feel shameful when I think on it now.
It was so easy to get wrapped up in where I wanted to be, that where I actually was didn’t matter. I had lost myself. I had put my life on hold, unintentionally, losing those years I wallowed in self-pity. Those years are gone, and I can’t do one thing to get any of it back. What a waste of a beautiful God given gift.
How I overcame it all….
1. Wake up with your alarm.
Starting the day off right is probably the most important. I used to wait and wait as long as I could before getting out of bed, I just knew the day was going to be like all the others. Why get out of bed early when I had every right to be tired, in fact I deserved to sleep for weeks, but that just wasn’t the point. Now, when I get out of bed as my alarm goes off, I am making a commitment to myself and the day. It is like saying, “I know how great this day can be, and I’m so excited to live every moment of it!
You know I can’t forget this major part of my day, right?! I started praying the Morning Offering in the morning to help me realize that all of my work, though small, is important to each day. I also, learned to thank God for all those same little things. Throughout my day, I would come up with the silliest little “Thank You’s” to express. Things like, “Thank you for this moment of silence that just lasted 5 seconds.”, or “How grateful I am to have gotten a hot shower today.” or perhaps “Thank you Jesus it only took us twenty minutes to get packed up in the car to go to the grocery store instead of thirty.” were all words I could praise God for at a moments notice. I just formed a habit of saying “Thank You” for the little gifts.
3. Get organized.
Organizing my time and our activities set up my day for success. Sometimes I could set up a whole week’s worth of meals, outings, chores, learning, etc. and some days I had to take it one day at a time. I made lists, I organized my planner, and I used my timer. Read how to use a timer well here! I have all my cleaning schedules and laundry set up as well. It takes awhile to get fully organized, but it is totally worth it. For this large task, just do baby steps. It is like that weird saying goes… “you can only eat an elephant one bit at a time.”
4. Prepare the kids ahead of time.
I used to get everyone ready to leave just before we had to be out the door. If I knew then what I know now, I could have saved myself so much stress. As soon as we wake up in the morning, I get everyone ready like we’re trying to get out the door. We eat breakfast, brush teeth, make beds, change clothes, and then put our shoes by the door… everyone including myself. This does two things. Number one, we’re prepared for anything at that point and number two, we are practicing for the times we have to leave early in the morning. Now getting out the door is a piece of cake.
These are just the beginning steps, things get easier from here, and as an intentional parent I’ve delegated certain tasks to each child. I’ve put in a ton of work to teach each kid how to be more independent, and am hoping that will pay off in a few years. One child is nearly buckling themselves in the carseat alone. They are creating habits of placing their dirty laundry in the basket without being told. They’re learning the expectations I have for them during certain times. Even our church experience has gotten better.
So here is what this all did for me as a mother. I now love having my children with me all of the time. When my husband comes home from work, I no longer shove my kids to his feet and say, “they’re all yours!” I’m confident in my ability as a mother now, and I know I have everything I need to be their teacher in academics, faith, and life. Yesterday, I celebrated a little victory of not taking the two middle kids to school, and again with the irony, but it was so freeing to be able to spend all day with three out of four of my kids on a Tuesday. I look forward to taking my kids to the library, the zoo, the park, or even the grocery store! In a nut shell, I’m enjoying motherhood in the way I dreamed I’d enjoy it. I’m living my dream everyday.