Saying No To 100 Things

We all want to be the best mom, wife, employee, PERSON, we can be.

We all struggle with who creates that criterion.  As we walk through this month together trying to find balance as busy moms, I wonder if we can talk about why we’re so busy.  Who or what dictates what makes us best?

Am I the best mom if I attend PTA meetings?  What if I am room mom?  Does homeschooling give me extra points?  How about team mom?  What if I keep score at the baseball games?  How about leading AWANA?  Driving carpool both ways every week gets me something, right?

Do the best wives make dinner every night?  Do they keep the house clean?   Are they always at home?  Do they listen well?  Does attending couples Bible study count?  How about reading Power of a Praying Wife and then actually praying?

Being on time and having a good attitude puts me in the running for employee of the year, doesn’t it?  What if I bring snacks once a week for everyone?  Oh, twice a week?  I bet remembering all coworker’s birthdays will make everyone like me, right?  And what about volunteering for the projects no one else wants to work on?

I know many of these questions go through my head and they just make me tired.

focusNot only do NONE of those things make us the best mom/wife/employee, etc, but focusing on so many things makes us tired.  And spread thin.

Are we allowing God to tell us what makes us best or are we letting our society dictate what’s expected?

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8

Steve Jobs gave a talk when he came back to Apple and turned their prospects around.  What he said can apply just as much to mothers as entrepreneurs:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.

Our first order of business:  what is our focus?  Please hear me:  not every woman will have the same focus.

Some mothers have small babies, some have older children and need to think about schooling them at home or sending them to school.  Some families have all of their needs me by one income, but some women need to work – outside the home or from home.  Some children have special needs, bringing up a whole new focus for Mom.  Some families value athletics while some value academics.  The list is long and varied, so please understand that

your focus might not be the same as someone else’s, and that’s okay.

Here are some ideas for focuses:

  • God
  • family
  • work
  • home
  • church
  • children’s sports and activities
  • involvement at school
  • sleep
  • health
  • fitness
  • outdoor family time
  • indoor family time

Once we choose the focuses that matter to us, we start saying “no” to the things that get in our way.  Just because something sounds good, doesn’t mean it will help us attain what we’re focusing on.

Tell me, what things are getting in the way of your focus?  What should you start saying “no” to?

Ultimately, what makes me the best mom/wife/employee I can be is Jesus.  His guidance, His love, and His acceptance.

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts!

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

5 “Date” Ideas for You and Your Child

I have some special friends I connect with almost daily via a mobile app.  A couple of the girls work full-time, one of us homeschools and works from home, another mom juggles grad school and motherhood.

All of us battle mom-guilt.  All of us secretly think we’re not doing as much as other moms.  All of us want to spend quality time with our kids and wonder if we’re doing enough.

5-Ideas-for-Kid-DatesOne-on-one time with our kids is a great time to get to know them and show them how important they are.  It can also be a very overwhelming task.  If I let myself look at other moms, especially those with less children, I quickly feel like a failure.  I have to keep my eyes focused on Jesus and my mind open to ideas in order to move forward.

As a mother of five, it is increasingly difficult to get one-on-one time with each of my children.  I am learning to seize any moment that I can to get to know each child a little better.  Here are a few things I’ve come up with (and a few my husband has come up with – he’s very good at this.)

1.  Involve your kids in your exercise time

I remember reading a mom’s idea to have early morning tea time with individual children.  I thought that was a fantastic idea…and I also knew I would never do it.  Ever.  I immediately felt doomed to failure.

exercise-with-kidsThen one Saturday morning I was lacing up for a run.  I remembered how much my five-year-old had once loved to ride in his jogging stroller.  I threw his bike in the van and we headed to the beach for a special early morning workout.  What fun!  Just the right thing for this mom.  Since then each child old enough to ride a bike has been able to join me on a run – and they have each looked forward to that time.

If you work out, is there a way to bring your child with you?  Is there something else you enjoy doing that your child might love doing alongside you?

2.  Date night once a month

I have friends who are able to do dates with their kids once a week or go out with each child once a month.  That’s not something we can currently work into our schedules, but I can plan on one date each month.

As of January this year, each child gets a month and a dinner date with Mom!  They’re thrilled – that’s three extra special dates a year with Mom.  (So far, the top dinner choice in the 10 and under crowd is Dennys!)

1796414_10152340668023714_1479805409_n3.  Do something special at home

Once in a while my daughter and I find ourselves at home while the older boys are out and about with Dad.  I find that I can make this an extra-special time just by offering to paint her nails and read books together.

What special things might your little ones like to do when you’re home together?

4.  Bake together

Often my older children have friends over while my little ones are napping.  That leaves a lonely five year old following his brothers around trying to fit in.  While learning to include him is good for my older boys, I also like to give them time with their friends.

I love to use this time to bake with my little guy.  He loves having treats to offer as the others come inside or the babies wake up, and I enjoy that special time.

5.  Make a list with your children.

My husband does this periodically with the kids.

time-with-kidsWhat are your favorite things to do with Dad?  And they write or draw their lists.  This gives my husband insight into what each child enjoys, and shows the child that we really want to know them and meet their needs.  As we can snatch time with each child, we know the type of thing they’d like to do.

Brainstorm a little by yourself or with your husband and don’t feel pressured to make time alone the most amazing event ever – our children just want time with us.  One of my son’s thought the greatest alone time was when I took him to Walmart to buy a birthday gift for his brother – then we got a McDonald’s ice cream.  We’re not trying to win awards, we’re just trying to get to know our kids!

Much Love,

Christy   OneFunMom

One Word About Grouchiness

Once upon a time I had a vision of motherhood.

It involved hilltops and harmony, sort of like The Sound of Music.

There was daily structure and soft sacrifices, like Ma from the Little House books.

And for some reason, I envisioned lying on green grass, making cloud shapes with my little ones.
My ideals of motherhood did NOT involve grouchiness.  Caroline Ingalls was never grouchy, Julie Andrews was never grouchy, and I certainly would not be grouchy either!

One Word About Grouchiness: Surrender

When I envisioned myself as a mother, I never envisioned God as part of my plan.  I didn’t need God in my plan.  I was already put together!
Except I’m not.
I am grouchy.  More often than I want to be.

And all too often I decide I’m going to fix my grouchiness.  I’m going to pull myself together.  I’m going to give it one more try.

Except I can’t.

Motherhood has a way of bringing us to the feet of Jesus like nothing else.  Motherhood brings us to the end of ourselves and pushes us one….tiny….bit….further.

If we don’t learn to surrender to Jesus, if we don’t learn to stop trying and start resting, this motherhood business will chew us up and spit us out.

We need to bring God back into our mothering.  He needs to come before our homemaking binders and DIY improvement projects and fancy schedules.  These things will not help us with our failings.  We cannot do it on our own.

These words are on my heart like no other.  I have lived in the valley of trying.  I have prayed and sought God on the surface, but deep down relied on myself.  I know the futility of our attempts at control first-hand.

To begin to release our anger and grouchiness, we must release ourselves to God.

Surrender.  That’s my one word about grouchiness.

And the most beautiful thing is, that’s all God asks of us.  He is waiting.

Revelations 3:20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  Revelations 3:20

Blessings,

Christy  One Fun Mom

This post is part of the month-long challenge From Grouchy…To Great.  Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

From Grouchy to Great

4 Steps To Tame Red-Faced Mama Anger

I’ve been angry.

I’ve been angry about broken dishes.

I’ve been angry over noisy kids.

I’ve been angry over incessant bickering in the car.

I’ve been angry.

4 Steps To Tame Red-Faced Mama AngerI’m not proud of it, but I want you to know that if you’ve yelled or fumed or slammed or maybe spanked too hard…you’re not alone.  My cheeks flush to admit it.  But I’ve been angry.

What can us mamas who battle real anger do?

Five years ago I was called to the table on my anger.  I knew I struggled.  I knew the guilt of sitting by my children’s beds at night crying and praying for change.

Crying and praying only get us so far.

We need to act if things are out of control.

I started seeking out resources.  I prayed about finding a counselor we could afford.  I began attending *blush* a {free} ministry called Celebrate Recovery.

And I fell at the feet of Jesus.

The very first step for me was casting everything I had been carrying on Him.

Finances.  Children’s behavior.  Marriage.  Household duties.  Schedule.  Outside relationships.  Past hurts.  Family dynamics.  Children’s personalities.  My inadequacies.  Work.  These are all factors that can play into our anger.

Likewise, if we have hurts and habits that we have not dealt with, those can manifest in anger.

If you really struggle with anger, here are few choices you can take right now.

4 Steps To Tame Red-Faced Mama Anger

1.  Let go.

Let go of the denial.  Denial won’t heal you.  Let go of the hiding.  Satan lives in dark places and tells us lies when we insist on hiding.  Let go of “tomorrow I will change.”  Change today.  Let go of blame.  No matter how awful we may think our children are, or how terribly we’ve been treated by others, or how badly our life is going – acting out of anger is our fault and we need to deal with it.

2.  Realize anger itself isn’t wrong.

No, it’s not wrong to feel angry.  God gave us our emotions and feelings and it’s not wrong to experience them.  What is wrong is acting out in anger - yelling, screaming, hurting, hitting, throwing, even talking with that super irritated tone in our voice.  We need to learn to experience our anger without hurting others {or ourselves}.

3.  Find one help today.

The first thing I did was start looking online.  Some of the following are affiliate links for books and CDs I listened to.  You can also start by reading the series I wrote on anger a while back.

4.  Seriously, start praying and seeking help.

I mention I found myself at a Celebrate Recovery meeting.  I was scared and nervous and honestly didn’t even realize I was there for me.  I thought I was helping out someone else.  When I got there and everyone was broken and genuine and seeking God without their Sunday masks on I was hooked.  It felt like real church.

Maybe Celebrate Recovery (CR) isn’t for you.  I’ve heard that Beth Moore has a great study called Breaking Free that goes through a lot of similar things to CR.  Or maybe you can form a group with other moms and go through the Anger Workbook mentioned above.  Perhaps you will call your church and the perfect counselor or pastor will be available to meet with you.

Just do something. Make a move to start working through the anger.  Today.

I will be the first to say that I don’t have this all figured out.  As I write this I think I should probably go back and start re-reading some of these books again.  I’m okay with that.  I know that I’ve made amazing progress from five years ago.  I am not perfect. At stressful times, anger and patience can be a bigger struggle than at other times – but I continue to seek healing and Jesus.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

Please, my friends, know you are not alone.  If you’d like prayer or someone to share with feel free to email me:  {christy at onefunmom dot com}, I’ve been there and want to encourage you. 

Much love,

Christy  OneFunMom

This post is part of the month-long challenge From Grouchy…To Great.  Please check the series page for posts from the other awesome contributors on this topic.

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