Someone asked me the other day if I was excited for 2019. Yet, another honest answer from me… I’m not ready for it. The holidays this year just feel super sped up. Right now, I have no current plans tonight except to stay up with my 6 year old while everyone else sleeps. My husband has work tomorrow and I don’t even want to deal with the little ones late at night.
Then there’s the whole New Years Resolutions thing.
All I want is to live a life of feeling good physically, spiritually in-touch, able to time-manage my whole family better, more patient with my kids, more time with my husband, and I want more financial freedom. But I’m not going to start all of these tomorrow. Of course I want a well-rounded life. But like any real-life scenario, once the car needs new breaks, the washing machine breaks.
So I’m going to chip away at these guides all year long during the times in which I feel like I need them most. These have all been resources I’ve used all throughout my adult life (and they litter my Instagram feed too!).
Here in northwest Ohio, we’ve been ready since Halloween because of our early snow. In fact, our youngest has been sure to thank God every dinner time prayer for our Christmas tree. Since October. We didn’t have a tree up until two weeks ago.
As Christmas approaches this year, I’ve tried to take the pressure off and focus on more important things. I could be trying harder to whip out some quick posts for you, sell you all my favorite things, and focus on all the commercialism. But I’m not going to. I realize that makes me sound a little bit like Charlie Brown.
Instead I’ve been focused on how blessed I am, focusing on my family, my goals for the next year, and focusing on my purpose.
A lot has changed for our family over the years. The biggest changes are of the heart for us. No one says life is going to be easy, safe, or that it will be constant. But I think God uses those moments of uncertainty to depend on Him. When we grow humble, we can see our blessings clearly.
Our family has been through a lot of stressful situations from NICU visits, ER visits, break-ins, military life, and at times financial strains. But those moments have shed some light on my blessings. I now see my healthy family, that we’re safe, we have amazing support, everything we need, and a God who loves us.
Our pastor has been preaching on the Nativity story leading up to Christmas. I’ve heard so many renditions of the same story. The basic story, the cultural break down, and even this hilarious viral video done done by Soutland Church!
In preparation for Christmas, we’ve been crafting, listening to a lot of Pentatonix, decorating, and making some goodies!
What have you guys been doing to prepare for Christmas?
I think I know you just a little better than you realize.
I know that those little eyes looking up into your soul is your fuel. I know that you delight in every new milestone that your little one accomplishes! I know that you are filling your memory bank with pictures of sunshine in your sweetie’s hair and the mental recordings of her laughter. “I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” you tell yourself.
I know your maternity leave may have never quite ended or that you quit working for various reasons to be home. I know you pour your heart and soul into this job.
Even as your babies grew up, you still couldn’t sleep well through the night. You still have urges to make sure they’re all still breathing and well. You get such little sleep some nights, even though you’re wrecked. You spend all day making mental notes and trying to stay on everyone else’s schedules. You focus on child development, health, nutrition, cleaning, and bills, and some days forget to fill your memory bank. Or do something nice for yourself even.
Regular days you play referee to break up your kid’s fighting. If you’re not breaking up fights, you’re repeating yourself to your kids. “They totally heard me,” you say. And all that can turn into a lot of yelling.
Just a little while before your husband comes home you realize all of your hard work appears to have evaporated into thin air. The nutritional breakfast/lunch is on the dinning room floor, the dishes are stacked high again, the laundry train lost it’s caboose, for every one mess you picked up there’s another 10, the fight you broke up is now back in full swing, and now you’re husband is going to see. So we panic that our husband will think we we’re lazy all day and we stress clean.
You hide the dishes in the dishwasher and clothes in the washer. At some point you just don’t care about the mess any more because you’re tired and defeated. You’ve spent all day feeling isolated, tired, and irritated.
This life is all you now know. And no one told you it’d be so tough!
No one told you that you would feel this pressure to be a good mom, even when no one else is even around. No one told you that you would feel lonely in your own home, surrounded by your minis. No one told you that it’s almost scary to wake up one day and realize you don’t have anywhere to be. No one else that needs you more than your children.
No one told you that you boarded the struggle bus with your own worst critic. You.
I never realized how all of those tough days would sneak up on me and make me feel so small. I never realized the weight of it all until I opened up about it. And I never realized how similar my feelings were to other moms until other people started opening up about it.
Motherhood is the most beautiful thing to happen in your life, but the most demanding. I know it may not seem the way you pictured it. I know it’s full of days when you wish you could work or that you hope the kids would become more independent sooner.
In 7 years time, this is what I learned about motherhood (especially being a Stay-at-home mom):
I felt most successful when I gave my kids the most attention
I always criticized myself, even when I didn’t use social media
I read so many expert tips and I felt like I tried everything, when I should’ve just used my motherly instinct
Treat yourself more! I almost never did things for myself. I started to feel more motivated when I had things to look forward to.
Call up your mom to talk. It’s such good therapy!!
Take help when it’s offered.
Find ways to record good memories, whether a journal to your kids for when they grow up, candid pictures, or videos of them being happy. Then just brain dump the days of yelling.
Look back on these recordings when you’re blood pressure is through the roof. You’ll just be looking through pictures thinking of how sweet your babies are.
Being a good mom holds a lot of pressure. You don’t always have to hold it together. Grow your faith!
And lastly, don’t let someone’s idea of you define you. You are so much more!
We do so much around our homes, but it never feels like enough. We always question how we’ve done as a mom. Somehow with how busy we are, it can feel like our lives are somehow incomplete. There is always still more to do.
To those of you wondering if you’re a good mom, or when you will ever even fit into your own schedule-
I once read a simple quote, “you are enough.” It changed my whole thinking and gave me a sense of peace.
Enough with the mom guilt. Enough with believing what people think of us. Enough with not giving ourselves something to look forward to.
I may not have always understood you, but now as I raise my own family, I see much more clearly. I have a deeper love and respect for you because I know you gave all of yourselves to us, even when my siblings and I didn’t know it.
Parenthood is so far from easy. And perfection is miles away. It’s hard to own a home (and one that’s always clean), look put together, be on time with the whole family, and have kids that never whine. These are what parents’ dreams are made of!
Social media perceptions can sometimes cause moms to be extra insecure. No one really talks about the struggles.
However, if you use Twitter, you’ll read several relatable, sarcastic, and entertaining tweets about parenting. Instead of questioning what you’re doing wrong in your home, you’ll feel right at home.
If you don’t stay at home with your kids, you probably have your own assumptions about the gig. Some look down on stay-at-home moms while some admire SAHMs. Let’s clear a few things up!
According to Forbes, staying home is popular among millenials for a variety of reasons. The gist of it is that mothers are looking to swap working away from home with work at home opportunities or “pinching pennies.”