Motherhood is one of the noblest and hardest roles given to mothers. “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” In this sacred role, mothers become the heart and soul of the family. It is often an overlooked, unappreciated and often difficult role to fill. Mothers can feel overwhelmed, unworthy and insignificant while dealing with daily demands of the day.
I was asked recently by another mother, that I seemed to have it together with managing my time and wanted to know the secret to how I can accomplish all that I do. I have to be perfectly honest, when I read her kind words, I laughed. Not that I wasn’t grateful for her kind remarks, but because I always feel like I miss the “mark.” One of her concerns was with all the many responsibilities and lists that she has to do daily and how she feels unable to get everything done.
My response took sometime to ponder on. I don’t have all the answers but I thought I’d share just a couple ideas.
Making a List: I know this might shock some of you or you will totally disagree which is just fine, but when it comes to me and lists well, we just don’t get along! My mind is wired a bit different then some and a list will just be like a billboard with bright lights flashing at me to show all of the many things I can’t get done. I tend to only make lists when I am going grocery shopping or preparing to go on a trip!
A Full Bucket: Sometimes our plates are full with all the good things we want to do and it gets overwhelming like right now when my housekeeping skills are not at its best. I dream of everything in my home being organized and then staying that way. Although it may not be important to be cleaning the house all the time and everything tidy, for me the clutter can be overwhelming and can actually keep me from being productive. I came across a fantastic website called “Becoming Minimalist.” The author’s philosophies ring true with me and I have slowly taken steps to own less so their is less “stuff” in my bucket. This is a great thought provoking statement about why those buckets of stuff get so full when Joshua from Becoming Minimalist said, “Discerning the difference between needs and wants has become almost a full-time job in our society. Advertisers routinely market items of comfort and luxury as items of need. I never knew I needed so much until somebody told me I did.” There are so many more hidden gems found on his website. I would encourage you to take a look at some of his ideas to help you unload some of what’s in your bucket.
Getting Rid of Distractions: One of the biggest distractions for me and many other moms is media in all forms whether it is the controlor in your hands that turns on the tv or phone that can keep you constantly connected with the world during every second of the day. My husband and I made a decision almost 10 years ago to not have a tv any more. At the time we did it to save money each month and use it for other things we thought were more important at the time. I think it was one of the best decisions we have ever made as a couple. I know that might sound a little nuts for most families but for us it has been a game changer. The biggest distraction for me is the internet. Facebook, instagram, pinterest and all the other many social networks are both a blessing and a curse. I find that I must put the most important things first which don’t appear on a screen of any sort and participate in other aspects of life like my family. Here is one simple tip you can use today. Go through your Facebook friends and start to filter through them. You don’t need to unfriend everyone, but you can “unfollow” them with just a click. This means you will not get their posts in your Newsfeed constantly. This has drastically decreased my facebook screen time.
Start Your Day Strong: The last idea I want to share comes from an audio podcast that I heard a few weeks ago. You can listen to the full 12 minute audio conversation here. One of the most important things to me that was shared is something I have always believed in but I seemed to always fall short in accomplishing. This concept is also found in scripture that says, “retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.” The morning hour for me is key to my daily attempt at success. When the children are still sleeping, I can get the most important personal things accomplished. I have found that no matter how the rest of the day turns out, I, at least, started it out on the right foot. Here is what I do that I thought might give you ideas on how you can “start your day strong.”
I go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 6am (usually that gets interrupted each night with a hungry baby). I brush my teeth, make the bed, say my prayers, grab a quart size mason jar of water, throw a load of laundry in the washer and sit down to study the scriptures. Almost the entire time is spent studying and pondering. I’ll share some tips on how to get the most out of your studies in a future post. By 6:55am, I start stretching and putting on my tennis shoes. I start to jog around the neighborhood at 7am. I only jog for 10 minutes since I need to get my children ready for school, but even just 10 minutes a day has made a huge difference. For me to even jog, is a feat I never thought I would tackle. I detest running. I remember in high school during volleyball practice, whenever we ran, I would always cut the corners. I would hear my coach holler with exasperation saying “Basso!” I would just chuckle and keep going.
By the end of the first hour of the day, I have fed my mind, body and spirit. The jury is still out since it has only been two weeks, but so far it feels right.
Finally, whether you watch tv or not, participate on facebook or not, the greatest blessing being a mother is that you have the freedom to make choices everyday, so if my suggestions are not right for you that’s okay. Pray and ponder how you can find the greatest happiness today. Thomas S. Monson recently said, “The choices we make determine our destiny.”
One of the greatest lessons all mothers need to realize is that we are all so different and we can each receive insight on how to help our own families achieve the happiness we desire. No two mothers or families are alike. We tend to be too hard on ourselves and each other. May we all lift one another as we journey through this life we call “motherhood.”