So I have thinking a little bit lately about what it means to be a good mom and a wife, and how my views have changed over the years.
My oldest is 15 and I was 25 when he was born. I had several notions of what kind of mom I would be, what kind of kid he would be, and what kind of life we would have. It looked a lot like the inside of a snow globe – perfect.
It’s New Year’s Eve, and even though this isn’t your typical New Year post, I am in a spirit of reflection and gratitude. This happens this time of year, especially because my birthday is 11 days away. These 11 days become introspective, and the older I get, the sweeter they are.
See, when I was younger, I wasn’t very kind to myself. I guess I had something to prove. I wanted to prove I was good: a good mom, a good wife, a good cook, a good housekeeper, a good decorator, and good everything. Being imperfect at anything wasn’t even an option. And sometimes what it took to be good cost me so much.
I went through a Martha Stewart phase. I tried to make gifts and my own wrapping paper, make baby food, breastfeed, send Christmas cards, turn the house into the mall scene from Elf, and attempt to have friends, a job, and be a good lover to my then husband.
But I wasn’t centered on God. I thought I was at times because I talked to him, especially when my marriage was an absolute wreck or when I wanted him to fix my life. But everything I did was centered on receiving approval from my kids, my husband, and from the world. I was window dressing, but I was failing.
I am not saying that if you put a lot of effort into any of these things, that you are insecure and desperate for approval. Many guys and women truly enjoy the things they do, but if you don’t, may I suggest you simply STOP?
For example, instead of making a fancy appetizer platter for you friend’s party you are attending tonight, run to Publix and get a pre-made party tray. You will be surprised at how no one cares. Cheese blocks cut into cubes or into roses still taste like cheese.
Here are a few more ways to be kind to yourself:
- Teach your kids how to make their own breakfast or do their own laundry.
- Eat out on holidays when you just want to skip the shopping, cooking and two hour clean up process, sore feet, and exhaustion.
- Skip holiday cards. Well you are probably thinking, now you tell me? If you forgot to do them, who cares? I love getting them, but I get about three a year now because I don’t reciprocate, but weirdly I still have friends.
- Let your house be a little messy. Ask the kids or hubby for help. Hire someone to help out once or twice a month. Stop looking at the pictures from Southern Living Magazine and trying to live up to that. They have a whole staff. You don’t.
- Go easy on Pinterest y’all. It’s fun, but it’s like being in a library for me: it’s overwhelming because I know I can never read all those books, and I am probably never going to even complete one Pinterest project. It’s just not that important.
- Stop comparing yourself to your friends. We are all struggling and comparison makes the crazy go ‘round. So your friend had the best maternity pics that made her look like the Virgin Mary glowing in the blue lagoon and you just keep taking pics in those same ratty sweatpants. Big deal. Rock those sweatpants.
- Set realistic standards with your relationships. You can’t be everything to everyone so use your time in the car to check on the friends who really matter to you. Don’t over promise your time. Don’t be afraid to say NO THANK YOU to an invitation when you just aren’t up to it.
- Stop setting so many goals. Pray about what you really need to work on for your health and spiritual wellness. Goals can seem very appealing on the front end, but you might be focusing on the wrong things with all these goals. One or two goals in a year are usually more than enough.
- Ask yourself why? Why are you doing it? If it is out of guilt, obligation, fear of upsetting someone, desire for approval or advancement, just don’t even bother. You are wasting your precious energy. If you truly want to do it, GO FOR IT! Do it with reckless abandon, thanking God for the opportunity, but you still don’t have to be perfect. No one expects that of you, except maybe you.
Most importantly, take care of yourself. Nap if you need to, work out if you want to, eat chips in your closet if you feel like it. Protect your sanity and your health. It’s a must.
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church (Eph. 5:29)
This verse relates to marriage, but let’s think about it. Can you be good in any relationship if you are not good to yourself?
I pray for you to be kind to yourself today, and everyday in the upcoming year. Be gentle and loving. Be patient and forgiving. Offer grace and unconditional love.
This is how to be a good mom and wife. Be a good to you.