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Let me set the record straight really quick… I realize that it’s tough with blogs and social media and all that to filter through what is reality and what is just put on social media and all that… but don’t ever, for even a moment, think I have it all together. Especially when it comes to motherhood.
Here’s the two things I know to be fact about my own journey as a mother:
1) I love my kids so much, at times, I feel like my heart is exploding outside of my chest.
2) Parenting is trial and error
Motherhood is hard, y’all. It is amazing. But it is hard. SO. so. so. so hard.
I wrote a few months back about my struggle with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety after Amos was born. It wasn’t something I ever expected would happen to me and it knocked me down in so many ways. While it’s still something I’m working through in a lot of ways, I realized towards the end of this year that I was going to no longer let PPD / PPA steal my joy and my time with my kids.
Because it did.
2016 was a really hard year for me as a mom. Again, please don’t think for a second that I don’t love my kids. I hope that is abundantly clear. But there were days when I truly wanted to just escape the crying and the whining and the nursing and the diapers and the tantrums and all of it. I was so overwhelmed.
I’m blessed that I had a great support system, but there were days when I felt (and sometimes still do) lonely. So lonely.
As I thought back to the past year, I felt so many tinges of regret. Regret for time not spent enjoying my kids. Time not spent playing with my kids. The times I yelled or snapped at Lilly when I shouldn’t have. Yes, I yelled. A lot. #realtalk
I just felt like I’ve really been missing out on so much because I let circumstances affect me in ways I shouldn’t have let them.
But I guess it’s one of those things where you just do the best you can with what you have at the time.
I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, but I do love to set goals. So, I thought for this year as we enter into 2017, that I’d share a few of my motherhood goals for the year.
I don’t want to look back at the end of 2017 and have similar regrets to what I felt in 2016… (these are in no particular order)
1. This year I will be more present with my kids.
There are so many distractions and so many things fighting for my attention… but my kids need me… and I know that this is something I have to work on. It’s not about giving them ALL the attention… but it is about balance and showing them that I am there for them there when they need me.
2. I will make dating my husband a priority.
You might be wondering what this one has to do with parenting… well, John and I (admittedly) have not done a great job with making date night a priority. We just got our first PAID babysitter this December. Lilly is almost 3 and a half. That’s 3 and a half years of never having gotten a paid babysitter. You know, outside of parents or a friend watching our kids.
Anyway, showing our kids that mom and dad make each other a priority is so important.
3. I will pray for and over my kids.
Prayer has always been something that has, quite honestly, ebbed and flowed for me. I got through phases where I am super consistent and then phases where I’m not. I want to work on prayer overall for 2017, but I especially want to work on really praying for and over my kids. Praying for their health, wellness, well-being, spiritual growth, relationships, etc.
4. I will show them grace.
Of course I love my kids. Of course I tell them I love them over and over and over again. Of course I smother them with kisses. But sometimes, I forget to show them grace. At this point, I’m mainly talking about Lilly because well, Amos is a baby. With Lilly, I know that this is something I’ve got to work on. Three is a tough age and there are days where I really think I might be going crazy. But I have to remember that she’s little and she’s learning and she is looking to me for how to behave and respond and interact with the world…
And so often, she shows ME grace before I’ve shown her grace.
Man, whoda thunk that a three-year-old would teach me so much about myself.
5. I will show myself grace.
I am my own worst critic. Especially when it comes to motherhood. There are so many days when I think back to all the mistakes I made that day and how I could have done things differently. But I have to remind myself… I, too, am just learning. I’m still figuring out this whole motherhood thing and I have to realize that I’m doing the best I can. Yes, I make mistakes. That’s okay. I’m not perfect and I have to show myself grace.
This is easier said than done.
6. The no-phones before bed rule
John and I are implementing something where our phones are put in “jail” from the time he gets home from work until the kids are in bed. We just really want to do a better job about being FULLY present and distraction free around the kids. Having phones put away is a huge part of that…
7. Have more one-on-one time with each kid
I miss my one-on-one time with Lilly. I love my one-on-one time with Amos. It’s easy to fall into a trap of not giving each kid their needed time of undivided attention. That time for bonding is so important and I don’t do that enough… I’m not saying it’s going to be all the time… but mommy-daughter dates or mommy-son time is so important! And same goes for John with the kids…
8. I will take time for me and do things for me
It can be really easy to sacrifice everything (to my own detriment) for the kids. I’ve given up a lot of things that I used to do and, while that’s not always bad, I think it can sometimes hurt my kids to define myself and my identity only in them. Please hear my heart on this… motherhood is about sacrifice, motherhood is hard, motherhood is about giving up a lot… BUT, at the same time, it should not be about completely losing yourself as a person.
There are things I love and things I’m passionate about and things I want to pursue that will SHOW my kids that I’m also ME and I have things that I love and do outside of motherhood…
Those are just a few of my motherhood goals for 2017… what about you? Do you have goals for 2017? What are they? Are you more of a resolutions kind of person?