Learning how to shut out the ideas of everyone else and use my individual strengths can be really hard for me. Anyone else ever overwhelmed by the pictures of mothers picking apples or baking with their kids or all the activities their kids are involved in and feel a bit inadequate? Comparison has been a real struggle for me this year. And while I know that “comparison is the thief of joy,” I’ve really had to focus on finding joy by reminding myself that I am being intentional in my motherhood. Here’s a few ideas that might help you if you’re stuck in a rut as well.
Do What You Love
In my mind there’s nothing better you can give your kids than a happy and fulfilled mother. That happiness will ease into your motherhood. While I am strong proponent for putting our children first (they’re only little for so long!), everything in life needs balance, and putting them first 24/7 will lead to burnout. Carve out some time to do what you love.
I’ve had to find different ways to do this at various stages in my motherhood. But I have tried to be consistent about always doing something that inspires me, whether I’m working through quiet time, getting up early, or handing the kids over to my husband when he gets home from work. Right now, it’s pretty much a combination of all three of those, because life is kind of unpredictable like that. If you need some inspiration, consider how God can help you.
Share What You Love with Your Kids
One way I practice by intentional motherhood is by setting aside a couple hours most mornings to play with my kids and give them my undivided attention. During this time, I’ve learned that I’m likely to have more fun if I’m sharing something I love, instead of always just doing what they pick. While it can be good to engage in child-led play with kids, I’ve found that when I’m in a slump, it’s time for me to pick the activity. Sometimes this is an activity I usually enjoy alone, like painting. And we keep it to a more kid-friendly level. Often it’s an activity that I save for doing with my kids, like exploring nature.
Be Intentional with Your Choices
We can’t be great at everything. I’ve learned to start with what is most important to me and add from there. For example, it’s always been super important to me that my kids learn the gospel and who God is while they’re young, so I put most of my teaching energy into that.
This is how I see it: if our family is like a cake, no amount of frosting will cover up a completely broken cake. The foundational principles of our family have to be taken care of first-the cake. I can try to cover that up with as much frosting as I want, but at the end of the day, if we have a broken cake, it’s messy and it’s wounding our family.
By choosing what is foundational to our family and keeping that at the center, I am able to easily add frosting once the cake is strong enough. That doesn’t mean we don’t have cracks we go back to work on. We do that all the time. By the time we add the frosting, our family has the best foundation possible and the results are beautiful.
If you want lesson plans for some of the foundational principles we use in our family, you can sign up for my newsletter here. It’s been a labor of love to make these available to you and I hope they will help you consider what is important for your family. Intentional motherhood should be joyful.