Last week, I went to Atlanta and watched my nieces and nephew. They are 4, 2 and 10 months. You guys. I forgot. Well actually, I’ve never had 3 kids under 4 – so that was a new experience.
I am still wiped out. And PS – I had my mom, my girls and a random Australian roommate that was in and out helping. All of you with littles – and many littles – you need a back massage and a nap.
It reminded me of the good ole days of chaos when Ella and Larson were little. I remember feeling like I had no purpose – no actual goals – just to survive. To make it through another day. To not hurt anyone and to keep people alive.
It felt exciting and and sweet and sometimes… actually depressing. It was the same thing every.day. And then some days were like a dream. But most days – it was hard to feel like you were making a difference. I KNOW someone has mentioned this phrase and you likely wanted to punch them – “the days are long but the years are short.” I heard it from Sandra Stanley.
And it’s true. Here’s a few areas I want to encourage you today!
Five Ways To Reclaim Purpose in Motherhood
1 PLAY:: I remember at some point realizing they don’t actually know how to play. And I really wanted creative children that could sit with toys and use their imagination and I didn’t want to be their sole entertainment for years. I also didn’t want them to rely on technology to engage them. So, it took some time- but I got some purpose in my soul – when I got motivated around PLAY. I didn’t always LOVE it- but I sure found it more meaningful when I saw how important it was. I found ways to get them outside and found little boxes of toys that got their attention. And also found MUCH joy in bringing back some old school things that I loved to play. What are some games you liked as a kid? Or a doll you still have? Is there something you loved that you can teach them? Kids are kids only once – teach them to make something out of nothing. To play nice with a sister or brother. To share. To sit and their room and make believe they are in a another world. The more they play – the more you will see the wonder unleashed.
2. PRAISE: I also remember some REALLY HARD yet motivating parenting moments… at the side of the diving board or in the water with a knee board or at the top of slide or after something hard at school. My role became clear – to PRAISE. Sure, every kid needs boundaries and correction and discipline. But the world is really good at ripping their confidence to shreds. As their mom – they need me to tell them OVER and OVER again – they are strong, brave, capable and they can do it! Keep telling where they are doing it well and right and then tell them again. I found (and still find) great fulfillment in the chaotic days of motherhood when I realize my kids need me in this area. I am their only mom. Play ideas here.
3. PLAN: After each year kept flying by – I mean RACING by – I started to make note that we would only get X Spring Breaks and X summers and X birthdays – and I started to PLAN. I started to find purpose in being the planner with a purpose. I knew I couldn’t do everything – but I knew I wanted a few things to count in their lives and be memories we enjoyed together. Sure, some things are spontaneous – but most of the things we love and cherish – are the moments we plan and wait for and plan for. We know every year – we are meeting their cousins for quality time in the summer. We know every year – we will celebrate on the last day of school. We know every year – we will take a trip with just us four – no one else invited. What are the traditions you want to guard? What are some places you dream of going? And start planning for it. And remember kids don’t require much. They just love being with you.
4 PRAY: I also find it super motivating to get involved in their spiritual walk. And over the years- I have slowly learned to back up and let God take the lead. For too long, i tried to play God. My sweet friend Jeannie Cunnion has an AWESOME study #MomSetFree that encourages us all – to get free from this pressure to do it all. She says – that we are significant but God is sovereign. I LOVE guding my kids in their faith – but I also love more than that – standing back and watching God show up in only a way that He can. Faith/Virtues ideas here.
5. SERVE: This one doesn’t start with P -shoot. But it really matters to me. I wanted them from an early early age getting out there making a difference seeing how GREAT it feels to serve. That love and kindness isn’t a “have to” – it’s a “get to” and it’s a honor to love others like Jesus does. And an adventure. As their mom – it gives me great purpose and motivation to find sneaky ways to make that apart of our normal routine. Some ideas? Start with Light Em Up Acts.
I hope this encourages some mommas out there. You are doing AWESOME. Your job is so much more important that you ever know.And remember – we are just like everyone else. We have days of homework, take out, netflix and nothing spectacular. But if I get in a down mood – I get back to perspective. Back to purpose and the HIGH calling of this job.
One more side note…
I cleaned out Caroline’s drawers and sorted things while she was away. And her look on her face was half excitement and half embarrassment. I’m here to tell you – that I didn’t have one organized drawer until lately. Mine are 8 and 11. Do the best that you can – survive and enjoy it. Just remember that you are so so significant and these days are NOT wasted one minute. These kids are crazy about you. Sitting in your lap for hours is doing something really profound in their lives.