When entering motherhood we all have a vision about what kind of moms we want to be, how we want to raise our children, some of us even think we will do better than our parents did. Then reality hits, and we start to struggle to keep up in our most important role and find a balance that works for everyone.
This is the stage of motherhood when I hear moms saying that they can hardly wait to get back “to their own lives.” I know what they mean, and I feel sad for them. They’re clearly struggling. I’ve been through this battle myself, so I can relate to how they feel.
In my battles and talking to other moms I observed a few things that helped me to overcome my perplexity and find powerful weapons to fight for embracing motherhood entirely.
Motherhood is a part of your identity, not a season of life
The first thing I had to become conscious about is that when you are a mom, you don’t only “lend” yourself. You give yourself. Mothering is not only a season of life. Your children need you as long as you are both on earth! If you don’t give yourself for good but only temporarily, you will become a martyr – at least in your own eyes. I’m sure you don’t want to be one. And you don’t have to! Don’t be afraid of losing yourself. You will only lose yourself if you have the “lending” mindset. Mothering is like love: the more you give yourself into it, the more you’ll find yourself in it!
Don’t over prioritize your children
Revolving only around your children leads to burning out for you and a misconception about the world for them. Don’t stop caring for yourself – your spirit, mind, and body. You’ll get lost and overwhelmed if you do. You need to have your own dreams, goals, and plans. You have a husband – he is definitely NOT to put aside for the children’s sake. You may have other obligations of some sort outside your home too (job, church, charity, etc.). Don’t give up all of those for your children – some of it you might need to – but work on finding the balance.
If you overemphasize being a mom, you won’t be able to let them go to live their own lives when the time comes. Don’t worry! If you love them and find the balance, they will need your love even when they leave to have their own lives and families. But you won’t be standing there, helpless what to do next.
Have strong beliefs and stand firm
Those moms who try to learn how to do it right because they want to do their best will find far too many guidelines. Scientists, experts, well-meaning people near and far; if you’re lucky perhaps a mentor too. They will tell you what you should do to be the best. And if you live on this earth, I’m sure you’ve got contrary advice already from here and there. If you don’t want to get confused, YOU have to discern what works best for you, your family and your children. You should be brave enough to trust your own gut and not some great humanist childcare specialists. Life teaches you all that you need. Don’t be scared to use it!
11 years ago…
…when my 4th child was born I was caught up in satisfying everyone “wiser” around me pushing me to their own directions. I let myself convince that everything is for the better despite my instincts telling me the opposite. I was miserable, you bet! That is when I learned two crucial lessons.
Our goals about raising children are reachable only with biblical parenting. That’s not a biggie. BUT: those can’t be mixed with secular scientific ways. That leads only to confusion, struggle, and misery. If I want to trust my gut, I have to stand firm in my biblical principles.
You know best deep down in your gut what is the best for your child! Don’t let anyone tell you what to do! Listen to their advice and stories if you want to, you may get some things out of it, but don’t let them grow on you. Well-meaning people can cause the most trouble. (How to tell the difference between well-meaning people and true advisers, mentors? That’s another topic, but briefly ask yourself: did they tell me this to help me see a different point of view or to convince me about the “best” way?)
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Proactive vs. reactive
For me, the big game-changer was realizing the difference between being proactive and reactive. When you are proactive, you are in charge.When you are reactive, your children are in charge.
The truth is that there are seasons in my life when I’m glad to be even reactive. That’s sad I know, but sometimes I can’t keep up with the changes in my life. Those are the times when things get out of hand, and when they finally fall into place, I have to fight to get back being proactive. Well, I can tell, kids don’t take it too well, but with this, you won’t ruin them. You make things harder for all of you, but the end result is not in real danger. Which is a comfort because it is impossible to be proactive all the time. So while my goal is to be proactive as much as I can, I accept the fact that there are times when it is okay to be reactive. It is okay not to be the perfect mom all the time.You are still the best your children can get.
Get out of the comparison game!
When you compare yourself to other moms who seem “to get it all,” you destine yourself to lose. You don’t want to do that. I get asked all the time how I get it all done. The secret is I DON’T. I don’t even try to make the impression I do, yet it seems so. But it is not possible, and you shouldn’t expect from yourself either. If you see anyone who seems to “get it all,” know that it only SEEMS. If you want to know what is behind the scenes, ask, but not the general “how do you do it?” or “how do you keep up?”. Ask instead:
“How do you prioritize?” – I can tell you the basics, or my actual goals.
“Where do you get the strength from?” – I can tell it’s not in me. It’s a gift.
“What do you do when distraction strikes?” – I can tell you failure and success stories as well about adjustment.
Though motherhood is NOT a season of life as I underlined above, motherhood has its seasons. You have to adjust to the actual season you are in. Set your goals for THAT season, work to reach those goals and forget about the rest.
To become the mom you want to be is a process
None of us was born to be a perfect mom.We have to LEARN to be the mom we always wanted to be. Keep the process in your hand (get proactive) and work hard to reach your goal!
An action plan
So here is a little help for you:
Write a parenting creed for yourself! If possible do this with your husband! Put into words all your primary believes and principles as parents.
Describe the mom you want to be!
Rephrase it into goals!
What season are you in as a mother?
How can you be proactive in that season?
How can you take care of yourself?
If you want to share, I’d be happy to read about you. Feel free to send me your thoughts or questions in the comment section, or in e-mail (kamilla @ fighting4goals.com – without space.)
Grab this Freebie!
If you can use some encouragement, here is a collection of 32 quotes and thoughts about being a mom on designed cards. To grab the digital download fill out this form, then check your inbox or junk folder. Within minutes you can print it and use it.
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I'm a wife to a wonderful man and mother of 9, soon-to-be-10 amazing kids. I'm constantly working on to be the mom I always wanted to be, and to make our house to be my dream-home finally. My goal is to help and encourage you to be the best mom you can be.