II Corinthians 1:12 This is our [reason for] proud confidence: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world [in general], and especially toward you, with pure motives and godly sincerity, not in human wisdom, but in the grace of God [that is, His gracious lovingkindness that leads people to Christ and spiritual maturity].
It's been a full year for me as a Stay-At-Home-Mom. It was harder and easier than I thought it would be. I've made some friends, lost some friends, and learned more about myself this last year than I would think necessary. This coming year, God has been impressing on me the idea of Focusing my attention on what's in front of me. I love social media, but I've really noticed how much of my time it has soaked up, and honestly, I'm embarrassed now to see my kids' faces when I whip out my phone. They've been conditioned by my behaviors, too. So, this year, I'm making a concentrated effort to get the heck off of my phone when the kids are awake. I even deleted FB off of my phone completely, and I've got to tell ya.... It feels amazing.
But, Moms of the internet.... can we please all agree that somewhere in our lives, these New Year's Resolutions MUST be a part?
1) Stop feeding the drama that is Facebook.
Everyone has those issues that they are absolutely vehemently for or against. You are not going to change their minds any more than they can change yours. You are only going to spin yourself in circles, wasting your energy. Then, I see this all the time, you screenshot the conversation and take it to another group so that they can see what you're up against: ENOUGH.
If you see someone post about vaccines, or circumcision, or smoking, or whatever it may be... just keep scrolling.... just.... keep.... scrolling....
2) Make yourself a priority.
This is a tough one for a lot of us. I went without haircuts for almost 2 years because there were more things that were important (food, shelter, etc) or at least that's what I kept telling myself. I think for a lot of us, the idea that we're sacrificing something for our children makes us feel like a good parent. Maybe we think we have to be giving something up in order to be a good parent? I'm not sure. But seriously... You can be a good mom and get your nails done. You can be a good mom with nice hair. You can be a good mom that does yoga by herself.
Honestly, I'm resoluting to actually shower on a more regular basis. That's less disgusting than it sounds, actually. I
alwaysshower before I go anywhere, but rarely do I shower just to put on some nice lotion and feel human again. I've also made it sort of a tradition that on Sundays, while the family is napping, I get an hour or two to myself to go do... something. Or nothing. Sometimes, it's a haircut on Saturdays. Sometimes, it's a nap while the kids are napping. But it's something.
3) Cut yourself (and other parents) some slack.
I remember one day, I was in Wal-Mart with my mom. She was unusually vocal about other parents in the store that day, and was outwardly criticizing them. She'd remark about how one baby was crying pretty loud, and then look over at my son, and say something like, "See, you're not doing that. Your momma's a good momma." To which Jminator replied with something like, "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!" And leave my mom sitting in stunned silence. As we were leaving, this little girl didn't have a coat on and mom went a little (more) nutso and remarked about the coat. I reminded of another little girl who refused to wear coats regardless of the weather, and who would scream and toss said coat at the first opportunity. She then watched me try to stuff an octopus into a coat-shaped pillowcase for 10 minutes, only to have to take that same coat OFF of the octopus before putting him in the car. She shut up about it after that.
Save the 1% of the population that really shouldn't breed, Moms are truly doing the best that they know to do for their kids. Really. For each family that may look a little different. But before you pass judgment, give some encouragement instead. I've started actually looking for the mom whose kids are going bonkers somewhere, just so I can tell her she's a good mom and we've all been there.
4) Encourage, Encourage, Encourage
You know that saying, "If you don't have something nice to say, then shut your trap and sit down"? Make that a motto. I know this is hard for you to believe, but sarcasm comes naturally for me. For those of us with this witty burden, it can be unbelievably hard to keep quiet in particularly absurd situations. But seriously, either be positive and encouraging, or shut up.
5) Simplify and Say No
Are you the people-pleasing family? The ones that always seem to cater to what everyone else wants? Time to put a lid on that nonsense. Hubster and I had to have some interesting discussions this last year, and we've all but put a kabash on travel home. Why? In our case, our kids are
not goodterrible travelers. They hate being in a car seat, don't sleep well when they're not in their own beds/spaces, and they're highly dependent on routine. Instead, we've made the rule that our door and our inflatable mattresses are always open and available. Other than one of my MILs and my 88year-old grandfather, no one has taken us up on that offer. We basically had to put our foot down and say, "Look, if we're not a priority to you, that's totally fine. But we're not going to shell out hundreds of dollars we don't have to drive 300 miles with screaming children in the backseat so that you can feel like you're good family."
Maybe simplifying means that you have to say "No" to some commitments. Even when they're (gasp!) church-related. Maybe simplifying means you buy those (gasp!) frozen pizzas so you can have a night where everyone has fun at the dinner table and you're not cooking for an hour. Maybe you (gasp!) get rid of cable, or de-stash closets, or whatever. Having less chaos to look at and more of what brings you peace... Pretty awesome.
Look, all kidding aside, God has great things planned this year.