I am an idealist. This probably is not a revelation to people who know me. The Oxford Dictionary says that an idealist is a person who is guided more by ideals than by practical considerations. Synonyms include, wishful thinker, daydreamer, & impractical or unrealistic person.
This is me… and for this reason, I can easily become discouraged or overwhelmed. I even find my idealism pouring over into my parenting. I want to be a great mom. Really! I want my kids to have the most wonderful mom ever!
I want to look into their eyes when they talk to me, I want to know their hearts, I want to play with them and create wonderful memories for them, and NEVER lose my patience! But so often, I get so caught up in my own thoughts …worries….to do lists, that I tune out! I really want everything to be perfect, but in reality, it seems to all fall apart!
You see, I have such grand ideas of how I want my family to function and the kinds of activities and quality time that we should be doing! But in reality, my energy and drive is only a small fraction of what I feel like I need in order to accomplish that ideal! So often, I just don’t. do. anything.
The picture I have in my mind of how everything should be paralyzes me into doing nothing! So I end up not trying. Often, I don’t even make an effort to make memories with my kids or have family dinners, because I want perfection! And, perfection is just TOO HARD.
But just the other day, it has dawned on me! “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!” I know that the reality of life with 4 little ones is not perfect, but often the imperfect makes the best memories!
And I don’t want to live my life always thinking, “when I get xyz done, I can be a better mom”, or “when I have more energy, I will play outiside with my kids”.
I want to choose to be the mom that I want to be…. today! I won’t be a perfect mom. It won’t be the ideal that I always had in my mind, but I’ll be a better version of the mom that I was yesterday, (and likely, more like the mom that God actually intended me to be)!
I work with a club of preteen girls, and I am always telling them, “each choice you make moves you either closer to, or further away from your goals”. And isn’t that true for us too?
We likely won’t make a 180 degree turn, but we can start taking small steps toward the life, family and home that we want to have for ourselves, and our children!
Where to Begin…
So, where do we start? First, decide what is important to you and to your children. Maybe you know that your son’s love language is quality time? Find a way to include him in something you are doing, or take him with you on an errand and talk to him about his friends and school.
Also, I think you should start with something that you can be successful at! Maybe you know that you will never sit down and read the entire Lion, Witch & the Wardrobe to your kids, but you can commit to read for 10 minutes before bedtime!
Or maybe, you can plan to spend 10 minutes talking to your kids right before bed! Check out my Resource Library for a set of free printable Bedtime Questions to get the conversation started.
One thing that I always think about doing, but have yet to follow thru with is Mother-Son date night. I have three boys and it’s always so hard to take only one of them to do something special without the others getting jealous!
So maybe, I could take one of my sons at a time out for ice cream or to the Farmer’s Market with me on Saturdays?
Take Care of Yourself Too!
Take a little time for yourself without guilt! I know you’ve heard it before, but you can’t pour out of an empty pitcher! If you aren’t refilling occasionally, you can’t be the happy, fun loving mom that you want to be!
So, give yourself permission to give yourself a break today, so that you can be a better mom in the long run! Check out my post here for more self-care ideas!
Meet With The One Who Can REALLY Restore You
God wants for us to parent with intention for His glory! After all, we are likely the first people that will ever teach our children about the Lord!
So putting putting Him first in our hearts and lives will help us set our priorities! Self-care, while important, alone won’t ever fill us up, remember He is our real pitcher filler! The psalmist said “restore unto me the joy of thy salvation”! God is a a God of restoration! He can give us back our joy in our mothering or our marriage, or in Him… He will meet us where we are!
Push Yourself A Little
As always, there is room for grace, but there are also so many reasons that we should push ourselves out of our comfort zone (or maybe if you’re like me, out of your overwhelm) and start creating what you want. You might be playing with your kids in the yard, and realize that you are actually having fun! And maybe, when you start seeing how your kids respond to your efforts to connect with and enjoy them,, you will get energized!
Be Willing To Set Aside Your Agenda… At Least At Times
This may be the hardest thing for me, and it always has been! If I have something on my to-do list, it’s hard for me to stop and do something else during the time that I feel I should be working on my project! This can lead me to viewing my children as distractions to my “important work”! I have to remember that my children are my important work!!!
This doesn’t mean that we can never say wait, or no, to our children, but we need to evaluate what is going on and make wise decisions with our children’s hearts in mind! For me, that sometimes means, I have to build in a little extra break time into my normal work time! But if our kids feel like they are our priority, not just the tasks that I have to do! (In truth, I have a way to go with this!).
Give Yourself Grace
Yes, push yourself! However understand that you don’t have to be rigid and check off a set of boxes! Just do your best and just keep putting an effort out! No one ever moves constantly forward, always progressing! But as long as you are progressing as a mom more than regressing, you are inching toward to life you want as a mom!
Your future is created by what you do today, not tommorrow!
More Ideas to Be A Better Mom Starting Today
- Sit with your kids while they eat breakfast or even read them a book or story while they are eating!
- Have family dinner questions that you ask each person during dinner each night.
- Have a book that the whole family enjoys that you can read together at least once or twice a week
- Go on a family walk after supper, right as the sunsets, during that beautiful golden hour of daylight!
- Keep Perspective! Choose to laugh at spilled milk or broken items. (This will be much easier if you are taking care of yourself & you are not at your breaking point already). Remember you probably won’t even remember it at the end of the day, and you sure won’t remember it next year!
- Sing songs while you drive to school! Ok, so this may just be me, but sometimes when I’m feeling like I’m not doing the best job as a mom, I start singing fun motion songs from VBS or turn on Veggietales music while we drive! It makes my kids laugh and lightens up the mood! (We love to play Billy Joe McGuffey on the first day of school!).
- If you are REALLY struggling with depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor! Don’t overthink it, just talk to someone!!!
If you are looking for some other great ideas for being a better mom, check out this list of ways to connect with your child at The Better Mom!
There are so many things that we can do to be the kind of mom that we want our kids to have. We can be a better mom than we were when we woke up this morning! Now, all we have to do is just take that first step!
Do you have any other ideas to help you to be a better mom? Please share them with us in the comments below!
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