** reposted ** (because I don't know how to delete the ridiculous spam comments ... You'll notice I now moderate comments on posts older than 14 days ...)
Becoming a joyful mom is possible, though I believe a process. Contentment, joy and a general feeling of success can each elude me in their own time and way. I am learning though, that when I focus on my disappointments, shortfalls and failure, I remain discontented and continue to fail. However, if I focus instead on my successes, I will continue to fail (there is no changing that circumstance!), BUT I can be contented that I’m doing well at something and trying at the rest.
When have I experienced ‘success’ as a mom? Every time I decide to be flexible and giving - of my time, schedule, and expectations - I succeed in that moment. If we take our time and walk lazily along the sidewalk hand in hand, I'm more successful as a joyful mom than if I'm pulling them at a mad pace to get to our next destination. Every time I choose to play with them even if I don’t feel like it, and end up enjoying it after all. Every time I pull myself away from my computer to give them my time instead, I succeed.
Helpful advice I’ve received from friends:
1. Involve the Kids: - mop the floor together without a schedule. Bake, clean, garden ... it'll all take longer and be messy, but the point is not timely goal achievement, but joyful motherhood and by extension joyful childhood for your children.
2. Have A Schedule: kids like to know what to expect. In fact, so do I. There is a sense of security in knowing that mom gets just 10 minutes of phone time, and then it’s time to play together. (setting a timer may be helpful)
3. Give First: This universal, biblical principle applies to motherhood too. When I give my kids time and attention before I tend to my own tasks, they seem to be more happy, content, easy going. I notice when I put my own tasks first while shooing them away with a promise of playing ‘later’, they tend to whine and cling more. Let them know they’re more important than dishes. They really are.
I have been personally challenged and encouraged by several blog posts I’ve read recently. Specifically, at Jewelz Sightings, about who I am in Christ, and also here at Faith Imagined, in her post, "Imperfect Vessel".
I'd love to hear about your pursuit of joyful motherhood. What helpful advice have you received? What do your moments of success look like?
Thanks for reading and for sharing. As I’m learning more and more every year, we're in this together.