October 12, 2016
What can we do to be a better mom? Sheesh, probably a million things right? That's what you're thinking. That's what I would be thinking. I want to challenge you today to think about your priorities. And pick FIVE. Only five. These are your 5 priorities for this week. You get these 5 done before you do anything else. And actually, you probably won't get to anything else, and that's okay. Before you start thinking of your 5, let me elaborate... read on...
Moms, we are overstretched!!! We commit to 9 million things and we don't have the time for 9 million things! And most those things, we put before our kids... I'm guilty. I have a hard time saying "no." to other people and to myself, but it's easy to say "no" to my kids.
Check out this excerpt from the eBook "Mom Enough."
"Years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law. Children rank way below college. Below world travel. Below nightlife. Below physical tness. Below a career. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing...Motherhood is not a hobby, it’s a calling. You do not collect children because you nd them cuter than stamps. You do not raise children if you can squeeze the time in. Motherhood is what God gave you time for."
OUCH!!!! What have you put before your kids?
"Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.
Our culture is afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, and that your freedom will die. Abortion tries to escape that death by running into the arms of death.
But Christians should have a different paradigm. We should run to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have by yourself. Lay them all down.
Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is a resurrection life, a life that cannot be contained by death, a life only possible when you have been to the cross and back.
The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loves them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord.
We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.
The Question Is How
The question here is not if you are representing the gospel, but how you are representing it. Do you give your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally everything you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gives it to us—freely?
It isn’t enough to pretend, though you might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car. Children know the difference between a mother who is saving her face to a stranger and a mother who is defending her children’s lives with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.
Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.
Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone." Again, this is an excerpt from the book Mom Enough, and you can find the entire article here
Do you see what I mean about priorities now? Your priorities are probably going to be more focused on PEOPLE, and less focused on TASKS. There are some things we are going to have to let go. Maybe you buy store bought cupcakes instead of spending hours baking them yourself. They are just going to get eaten anyways! How important is it? Now, this is just an example, if baking them yourself is something that makes you a more joyful parent, and your kids love it, by all means. But think about other things that you might need to let go of, or say no to...
So, my 5:
That's it. What's your 5? How about an exercise to apply this concept to real life... cause we all know we are busier than 5 things...
Think about something with me... the last time you snapped at your child, what were you doing?
The last time you felt completely down as a mother, what were you doing?
The last day when you struggled to be joyful, what was going on?
I'm going to argue that we are just too darn busy. When I snap at my child, I'm distracted. I'm focusing on something else and she is getting in the way. She has "annoyed" me in that moment. Eeek. That's harsh. But yes, I'm reading something, I'm scrolling through Facebook, I'm cooking dinner, I'm tending to my other children, I'm BUSY on something and she's tugging at me. Snap!
And THAT makes me feel completely down as a mother. I've let her down. I've let myself down. I just treated my child as an annoyance. I suck. The voice in my head is fierce! Mama, give yourself a break first off... second, how can we ensure this doesn't happen?
So for me... The last day I struggled to be joyful, I was feeling overwhelmed!! It's hard to be joyful when you're inundated with your to do list!
But if I can put her in my top 5, I mean REALLY put her in my top 5, not just say "yea my kid is my number 1 priority..." be honest with myself and really put her at the top, it helps me to feel more fulfilled as a mother. She's taken care of! So I feel more successful.
Check out this blog post... https://mom.me/kids/32518-only-thing-i-didnt-give-my-kids-one-thing-they-needed-most/
Could it be your child asking "are you even happy to be a mom?"
My take away message from it: The truth is, the one thing that I had been forgetting to give my children all this time was a mother who genuinely enjoyed just being a mom.
I've got my Priority Planner here for you to download if you want to try my system!
When you are doing this exercise, think of 3 ways you can show your top 5 that they are a priority. And I know what you're thinking... a clean house, you going to work, you cooking dinner, these are things that you do for your children, husband, family. And yep, you're right. But if you asked your child how she knows mommy loves her, I'll bet she won't say "cause our house is clean!" So when you're choosing the 3 things that you can do to show love to your kids, think of the things that you do that make THEM feel loved, comforted. I know you're taking care of your children by cooking them dinner, but shoot, my kid doesn't even like dinner! She sure as heck wouldn't say that's how she knows her mom loves and prioritizes her. What would she say? Mom plays with me. Mom spends time with me. Mom buys me toys. Those are things that are important to HER. So when I'm thinking of ways to make her feel comforted, I've gotta add at least something to the list that makes HER feel good. My older son, he likes his band program. He enjoys playing music, he enjoys being with his friends. So I have to make sure that I'm getting him to and from where he needs to be! He struggles with homework, I gotta help him out so he isn't feeling so discouraged. His love language, words of affirmation. I gotta make sure I'm praising him for the things he's doing! That's how he feels loved. My husband, acts of service dude. How do I make him feel loved? Home cooked meal, clean house, ask him if he needs help with school, his lunch, do his laundry, etc. and being intimate. That's important to my guy. So when I'm making my bucket list of priorities for my husband, I've gotta make sure I'm speaking his language. Not doing things that I think he needs, doing things that HE thinks he needs. If you don't know anything about the 5 Love Languages, check it out!! You can figure out your husband's (fiancé, sig other) and your children's. Knowing what makes them tick, what makes them feel love, what makes them fulfilled is only going to help you. You don't have to be spinning your wheels trying to figure out how to prioritize them, just know what language they speak.
So, how does this create joy in my home? When my family feels comforted and loved, guess what, it takes those awful days down a notch! It lightens my sassy 5 year old's attitude, it removes conflict with my teen over grades and his schedule, it removes conflict with my husband because he feels like he's a priority to me. And the joyfulness, it follows along... less bad days, more joyful mom.
Repeat this prayer for today "Lord, unrush me."