One of my daughters is a week into her journey into motherhood. With still a nine-year-old and a 16-year-old at home, I am doing the mid-life mothering. I am often the oldest mother in the crowd. Being the only mom in the crowd who HAS to hide the gray hair and conceal the dark circles has its advantages. I’ve walked the journey long enough to etch a beaten path down the middle of the maternity road with one side of the path bearing my mommy trials and the other side the triumphs. Whenever I meet a mom who feels besieged by the demands of motherhood, I gladly share the survival tips I collected along the way.
Schedule Your Day
Paul Minors who blogs around the corner at Productivityist asserts, “if you want to be productive, you must embrace the power of scheduling your tasks. You have two main tools that help you do this: your to-do list and your calendar.”
As moms, we need to be intentional about establishing a method to manage our home in much the same way managers in the work force. Think for a minute, if your husband ambled into work for a project meeting with his boss with no plan or timeline for projects. Not only is there no project timeline but his employer’s office is disheveled and chaotic. Much like the professional world without a schedule, the home-world cannot function with success without a schedule. Teri Maxwell, the author of the powerful scheduling tool, Managers of Their Homes, intimates “Scheduling is a powerful tool in the hands of a home manager, just as it is for an office manager.”
The stress and discouragement that often accompanies the demands of motherhood will be reduced by constructing a daily schedule.
Develop a Devotional Life
As I organized the list of “helps” in this post, I placed schedule your day first, intentionally. Moms care for the nest, and the needs of our nests tend to scramble our priorities (unloading the dishwasher, checking email, etc). It’s not shameful to admit that we need to schedule a time for our devotions. Otherwise, before you know it, those well-intentioned tasks will take precedence and devotions are lost in the long list of “things I wish I had done.”
A devotional life that is intentional and rich is as necessary to a mother as feeding your body with nutritious food. For too long, I conducted my devotional life like one meanders haphazardly down a buffet line, spooning servings of random bible readings on my plate. A well-planned day builds in time for devotions that can be intentional.
If you don’t take away anything from this list of “helps,” I want you to grab this next nugget with as much zeal as you would if I offered you free tickets to Disney:
Think of your devotional time exceedingly BETTER than free front row seats to study and learn from your favorite Christian speaker/writer…because right there in the quiet of your family room you are the captive audience in fellowship with the Trinity.
Build in a time of prayer during your devotions. Jen Wilkin bestows this insight in her book Women of the Word, “Without prayer, our study is nothing but an intellectual pursuit. With prayer, it is a means of communing with the Lord.”
Implement a Parenting Strategy
Your kid will sin; that is no surprise to you. They will make wrong choices just like you. When, not if, the day arrives that you face disobedience in your child, be ready with a strategy. What will you do to address the infraction (sin)? I’ve poured many cups of coffee and sat at my kitchen table as frazzled moms shared their need to create a structured yet grace-filled, loving atmosphere. Get help in developing a strategy that works from toddler to teen.
Set Realistic Goals For You and Your Kids
Our family has driven several times to the mid-west. The success of that trip depends on mapping out the best route. Let’s be real. That’s when most of us rely on the GPS coupled with a little directional common sense to get us where we need to go. Setting realistic goals for you and your kids is a bit like mapping out a route on a GPS. As you work towards that goal, you might need to tweak it and devise an alternate route.
When writing goals, separate them into categories like spiritual, academic, financial, then write two to three measurable goals within each category. Depending on the ages of your children, you might solicit their input when establishing their goals. I’ve included an Academic Goals printable.
Once you’ve written a few realistic goals, invite a friend, mentor, or accountability partner over and spend some reviewing your goals.
Reduce YOUR Busyness
What I am about to tell you will probably take some of over the edge of the cliff. A few years ago, when our kids were younger, I got so busy with activities that my husband did me a favor and took away my car keys and parked my car in our barn. For an entire month, we functioned as a one car household. Of course, he took the one car to work each day, which left me carless. That whole experience forced me to kick the habit of impulsively jumping in my car and making unnecessary trips.
Reduce Your KIDS’ Busyness
Overscheduled kids have reached an epidemic level in this country. Slow down your life and enjoy the quiet moments with your children. Dare to be the anti-soccer mom! Resist the trap of jetting your kids back and forth to multiple sports fields season on end.
Find an Accountability Partner or Meet with a Mentor
When motherhood and all that is required to fulfill that role seems like a daunting task, seek an accountability partner or mentor who has the time to teach you how to apply just one or two of the suggestions offered in this post.
Meal planning is not my strength, but I force myself to plan and during the week I am, oh, so glad I did. When you meal plan, considering using real food ingredients, which will enrich your family’s diet with nutrient dense foods.