Meeting Mindfulness in the Midst of Crazy
I know firsthand how hard it can be to remember this season of littles "only lasts for a short time" and to "cherish it while it lasts" while holding a screaming baby, balancing another wrapped around your ankle, all while cooking dinner. Let's be honest, in those crazy overwhelming moments we aren't overjoyed at our children's dependency on us. "Go do something else!" I find myself saying. While we have a responsibility as moms to love our children in the midst of crazy, I just want to say, it's okay to feel like you're not thriving, or even just barely surviving.
These are a couple of things that I try to do throughout my day to make it a better space for me and my kids to grow, learn, and love.
Remember That Today Has A Purpose
Whether you're a stay at home mom, working from home because of COVID, or work outside of the home, it's so important to wake up & remember that this day you're about to live has a purpose. You and and each member of your family were given specific talents and passions that make each of you, you! It's so hard to remember in the mundane tasks of dishes, tidying up, cleaning the freaking stove for the 25th time, or dragging your kids out the door for the 100th time, that what you're doing - serving your home & your family - is actually a purpose in and of itself.
You are molding lives and creating a place of warmth, comfort, and knowing for your family to hold onto for the rest of their lives. The foundation you provide in your home is one of the most important things you could ever give your family. However, does that mean everything has to be perfect all the time? NO!
First of all, perfection is overrated. If you could see my house 75% of the time, it looks like an actual tornado just whipped its way through my kitchen. The never-ending list of things that need to be done in your home will always be there. To not get caught up in the tasks of the day but instead focus on the day's God-given purpose is the most important thing you can do.
There will ALWAYS be one more thing you could have done, but more importantly, you will never get the day that just passed back. When you have little ones it seems like each day starts to become a milestone. Rory's first smile, laugh, steps, words, the first time he played with Rhett, it's all ZOOMING by. It's so important to remember that these days are full of purpose and to live with that intentional knowledge each day.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:10
Set Down The Phone/Computer and Play
Okay, how many of us have heard our kids say:
"Mommy, can you play with me?"
"Mommy, can we go outside"
or the worst one... "Mommy, can you get off your phone?"
When I was a new mom, I thought to myself, "I won't be the kind of mom who "didn't have time" to play with my kids." And then, I became a mom of two. Then we moved into our house. A whole house is a lot to manage, okay. I find myself responding:
"Just a minute, Mommy has to finish the dishes."
"Honey, I can't right now, I need to finish cleaning up."
"Okay, I can take a short break to play, but then I have to finish up."
Now, when you think about the fact that what your child is actually saying is:
"Mommy, will you pay attention to me?"
"Mommy, is playing with me as much fun as your phone?"
... it's actually heartbreaking. There's a saying "Your child won't stop growing up just because you're busy." Now, I'm not saying that every single second your child asks you to play, you must stop everything and sit. What I am saying is, what if you did once or twice a day? What if you delighted them in stopping your chores or use of technology and chose them instead? And what if you did that daily? Yes, less laundry might get done. Yes, the dishes might sit in the sink a little longer. But your child will feel all the more special in that moment.
I also find that I feel so much better after spending time with my sons and giving them my undivided attention. It's true, what you give is what you get. And your children are always worth investing that time in.
Shower Your Kids With Love & Grace
In those moments where you want to pull your hair out because your kids won't stop whining or complaining, remember this: Our job as mothers is to love because He first loved us. We are these tiny little humans everything, and when we show selflessness with no expectations in return, we are mirroring Christ's image.
Honestly, sometimes I have to take a few deep breaths to remind myself to not react with my first reaction (which would be to yell, send to time-out, give a spanking) and give my children GRACE. Grace for being little, grace for not fully understanding, grace for wanting my constant attention.
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9
The curious, energized, always asking "why?" personality of our children is what God crafted them to be. It's a sign of a healthy child, and sometimes it takes us remembering that this is the way God intended little ones to be & that Jesus actually tells us to act like little children to enter the Kingdom of God. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from our children.
"People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them." - Mark 10:13-16
Start a Load of Laundry Early in the Morning
Yes, this one is a little different than the others, but it's a trick I've been doing for a while now, and for some reason it helps me to feel less like I need to be doing more during the day. After I complete my morning quiet time, I go start a load of laundry before my kids wake up. I find that if I get a chore like that started early enough, I am able to keep it going throughout the day. And if I'm not able to get another load in because the day became too busy, 7 PM Alessandra has 7 AM Alessandra to thank for getting 1 load done!
What do you do to keep yourself mindful and sane during the day with your little ones?