As a woman, I wear many hats. Maybe you feel this way as well? I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a Christian.
I am a member of my community and my church. I am a volunteer.
I am an entrepreneur and the only employee in my business (yes, blogging is a business).
Also, I am myself, the sole person in charge of expressing and caring for my own needs.
Each hat comes with its own set of responsibilities. For instance, I eat fruits and vegetables. I pray. I read. I jog. I have deep, meaningful conversations. I prioritize sleep. I do laundry. I clean. I cook. I write.
But, it's like my friend always says, you can really only do one thing well at a time. I always choose your top priority for the moment, even when I'm not consciously doing it.
Just like I can't text someone and drive a car at the same time, I can't maintain a perfectly clean home and take time to get down and play with my son on the floor at the same time. It just isn't possible.
In the same way, I can't work long hours and have a regular date night with my spouse.
Choosing my top priority for the moment bleeds into every decision, even when I'm not aware that it's happening. If I'm eating well, I'm simultaneously struggling with exercising. If I'm sticking to the budget and monitoring every penny, I'm stress binging on Netflix at every given opportunity. If I'm exposing my son to lots of playdates and educational experiences, I'm simultaneously neglecting to clean out the fridge.
Life as a mom is a difficult balance, and perfection is not an option. Believe me, I've tried. There's a cost to every action. Sometimes the cost is small, but other times it is absolutely gigantic.
When it all boils down, I don't want to be wasting my life on maintaining house and home, or even cooking (which is a favorite creative outlet of mine). I want to be pouring my life into my people to the best of my ability.
I want to be the best woman I can be.
I want my husband and son to know exactly how much I love him, not a guess, but to actually know because I took the time to remind them every day.
I want to be the type of person to drop everything and just show up when someone needs me to.
I want my home to be a safe and welcome place. I want neighbors to feel comfortable knocking on my door.
I want to draw nearer to God, because I know He listens and draws nearer to me.
I want to savor the stuff in life that really matters and to just maintain the responsibilities that don't matter as much. I want lasting impact, not temporary impact.
I want to be present while my son plays in a patch of sunshine on the floor without guilt about what needs to be done.
Easier said than done, ha.
And I absolutely don't want to be spending my life doing the housework, cooking and cleaning... unless the heart and soul of doing it is to show how much I love and respect the people who live here too.
And, that last point is exactly where it gets a little fuzzy for me sometimes. I crave clarity on how to maintain a loving home, both relationally and physically.
I want to love my family in the best way possible. Sometimes that means doing chores. Sometimes, that means ignoring chores.
At any given moment, I have to choose my top priority.
And, for me, that also means that I have to have a system in place to maintain my lower priorities while I'm focusing on what's most important that moment.
Here are a few things that are rarely top priority for the day but still desperately need to be taken care of daily.
I've found that when I don't take a day off from these chores, I get behind on housework. Or even worse, I get too wrapped up in doing them perfectly.
By setting aside a day to rest and NOT DO CHORES (wooohooo!), I am more motivated to get them done throughout the week.
It doesn't always go perfectly smoothly, but that's ok. If the last week (or month) has been rough, I just try again the next week.
Meal planning is an established routine for me now, but that certainly wasn't always true.
There was a time early in my marriage when I would buy all the wrong things at the grocery store in an attempt to try new recipes and please my husband just to have those ingredients slowly go bad while I ran back to the store almost daily for quicker dinner options.
By the time my son was born seven years later, I was desperate to be able to maintain a healthy, frugal lifestyle without spending a lot of time shopping or cooking.
I've learned some of these kitchen and cooking tips the hard way, and I am still learning.
Maintaining the finances
A few years ago, my husband and I took a financial planning course together, and it was very eye opening for us.
We have found that it's best to make all of our financial decisions together. It takes time to write out a budget and to use a cash system, but it is well worth it.
We have time scheduled on the calendar and reminders on our phones set up ahead of time. It's good to have a system in place to keep this habit from falling to the wayside.
Feeding My Heart
Someone told me this over the cries of my screaming newborn: "everything about motherhood is spiritual." When you spend your days (and nights!) caring for littles, your own heart is filled and emptied and refilled moment by moment.
But, there are chapters in mom life that writing long entries into prayer journals and keeping up with a Bible reading plan is just not possible. And, that's ok. God put you in this exact place.
When doing more is just not possible, finding little cracks of time to reading a single verse is enough. Praying in your head while you put your child to bed is enough. Listening to worship music and letting the praise bleed into your actions is enough.
It helped me to have certain triggers to remind me to spend time with God. For instance, during the quiet of nursing during the night, I prayed and read. While in the car, I sang worship songs. A friend teaches Bible stories to her pre-schooler during bath time.
Life is always busy, but I've found that by pairing my time with God with a daily activity, it reminds me to be present and aware of His benevolence.
And, the Grace
After becoming a mom, I've learned that I have to allow myself to accept the same grace God extends to me.
Sometimes, I fail. Actually, it happens daily.
I choose wrong. I get wrapped up in a project and get resentful when nap time is suddenly over. I get impatient when people interrupt me while I'm trying to get things done, even if they're low priority. I forget God.
And in the midst of wrestling with pangs of guilt, I have to clean the slate and start that day anew. It's the only way to move forward.
Grace is key.
Are you struggling with clarity on how to maintain a loving home too?
Join me on this journey. We can navigate this together in tandem.
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Everything I send you will always have one thing in mind: to savor what matters.