Ten Resolutions for Normal Mothers (That Have Nothing To Do With Kids)
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
As a mother of three, every night feels like New Year's Eve to me. When my kids are finally in bed and the house gets eerily quiet, it's all I can do to fend off the mommy guilt and combat my insecurities of the day. And as the thoughts of would've-should've-could'ves come trickling in, I commit to doing better the next day.
Tomorrow I won't yell at her when she can't find her other shoe and we're ten minutes late. Tomorrow I'll have supper ready at a normal hour and it will include a vegetable. Tomorrow I'll wake up earlier and take a shower before the kids wake up. Tomorrow I'll fold that pile of laundry that's taking up the entire couch.
This is a wearing cycle. Do you relate?
Not every day is New Year's Day. I can't keep starting over like this. Who's with me?
I need practical solutions I can conquer throughout the day so I can look back in the evening with a feeling of triumph and not disdain. I want goals that are not only attainable, but progressive and have lasting impact.
So, I've come up with Ten Resolutions for NORMAL Mothers that will help keep you focused on the true priorities that offer your kids an example rather than a new set of rules. You can do these as often or as little as you like - but, when you are feeling bogged down that "nothing got done today", try one out and feel a sense of accomplishment instead!
Here we go!
1. Thank Jesus out loud.
It's awkward and cheesy, but nothing stops complaining like saying "Thank you Jesus for this house that keeps us warm!" in front of your children. Maybe they will even join in.
2. Hold your spouse's hand.
At dinner. On the couch. In the car. It doesn't really matter where or for how long. But if each of you has one hand free at the same time (i.e. the planets are aligned just right) then go for it.
3. Cereal for dinner.
If it's good enough to start the day, it's good enough to end with. Your kids will thank you. Your husband will survive. Just make it a thing and when the pantry is low and your guilt starts to creep up surprise everyone with bowls on the table that night. Voila.
4. Like stuff.
What do you like? I like coffee and I like cardigans and I like red lipstick even though I don't really wear it since I smooch my baby a lot and don't want her covered in splotches. There, was that so hard? When you feel worried about irrational things or have negative thoughts, start naming things you like and get to know why you like the stuff you like. It's amazing how much time can pass without someone asking you what you like - so ask yourself!
5. Get hooked on a TV show.
Congratulations! Chances are good you've already conquered this one. Keep at it. I know this sounds crazy, but in this chaotic phase of life with diaper blow-outs and Kindergarten politics, I need some seriously out-there fictional drama to look forward to now and then. It's okay to escape. It's okay to be entertained. And if you can't add this to your list of resolutions that you accomplish this year, I'm not sure we can be friends. Just sayin.
6. Wash your face, breathe, repeat.
You have time for this. It feels great. You need to do it. I know it feels silly to say these things, but when you are packing lunches and wiping little bottoms all day, even the most basic self-care can get tossed to the side when all you want to do is sleep. But, I have found that washing my face even in the middle of the day or to kickstart the morning or just before bed (so, anytime ever really) is more than cleansing for the pores, it just makes me calmer. It's a reset button that's just one washcloth away. You can do it.
7. Put shoes on.
I don't know if there's any research on this, but I get at least twice as much done in a day if I'm wearing shoes. It feels like I have somewhere to go, something to do, some place to be. And I do! Even if it is, right here, sitting, folding laundry for my family.
8. Drink a glass of water.
I don't know anybody who drinks enough water. If the whole day is shot - then drink a glass of water and pat yourself on the back. Your body with thank you and it forces you to slow down for at least that moment. Bonus points if you say a prayer of gratitude for having clean water to drink while doing it!
9. Read a verse.
Just one. Any book of the Bible. Any chapter. Yes, it would be lovely to sit down for an hour and sip coffee while getting out a Beth Moore study or highlighting a series of topics throughout the Word. There are days for that, and I hope they are many. But, some days your Bible gathers dust and you can't seem to recall if Hosea was in the Old Testament or the New Testament and you just need a hug. YOU ARE A NORMAL, CHRISTIAN MOTHER. And just one verse can travel to your core and give you peace that surpasses your understanding. On the days you just can't get any quiet time - google a verse and read it. You have time for that.
10. Smile in the mirror.
Be a dork. Just do it. Enjoy your face and try to see what everyone else gets to see the rest of the day. Even if your hair is a mess and you have spinach in your teeth (and by spinach I mean Oreos, of course) you look better with a smile. The action itself releases endorphins in your brain to trigger happy chemicals that can help you stay calm when you find your toddler coloring on the wall in the next room. Smile at yourself - it makes it a lot easier to smile at everyone else too.
This may not be the year you get out of debt or lose 30 pounds or cook every meal from scratch. Maybe you've already blown your resolutions and are frustrated with your willpower. It's going to be okay. You're in good company.
My kids don't need a thinner, perfectly organized, robot-mother. They need me. And I didn't decide that - God did! So, the best thing I can offer them in the new year is an honest human who's depending on Jesus openly. The other stuff will get done as needed...it always does.
This year I'm trying to focus less on what I'm doing and more on what I'm learning. I'm trying to stay honest with myself and keep my priorities centered more around the things that last forever (Jesus, relationships, gratitude) and allow myself the freedom to let go of the things that are temporary (dirty dishes, crumbs in the bunk bed).
Tonight, as I inevitably fold the clothes I'm neglecting in my dryer right now, I'm going to choose to thank Jesus out loud for the opportunity to live today and enjoy the little faces I get to hug on and kiss goodnight. And, instead of saying "I'll do better tomorrow", I'm going to rest in the assurance that today had plenty of purpose all its own.