Happy New Year Mamas! I hope your Christmas was Merry, full of family and you've found a place for the Toys R us explosion that happened under your tree. I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a Brave Mama and as 2016 wraps up and were going into a new year I thought I'd compile a short list of the ways I want to do motherhood bravely in 2017. So here's peek into some new year goals...brave mama style!
1. Protect your peace.
Ok, so this is a blog post all on it's own but I will hit the main points. Mama's we need to fiercely protect peace in our homes. Everything in this world is constantly working against our peace. Identify what's stealing peace in your life and home. Maybe its a schedule that's been too hectic or a child's behavior that you've left unchecked. Change what you can and what you can't, take it before the Lord and ask for His heart for the situation. His word promises us peace that surpasses all understanding. I can't tell you how many times I can track the downward spiral of a day back to my choice to not partner with peace. You set the mood in your home, for the good or the bad. This year I want to stay super intentional about the atmosphere I am creating in my home.
2. Water your own garden.
As mama's we do our best to try and take care of everyone. The last person on that list is usually ourselves. Honestly, that's ok most of the time. Let's face it, we didn't become mothers for the "me time." We became mother's to be a part of something bigger and greater than ourselves, and self sacrificing comes with the territory. However, there is a difference between living sacrificially and neglecting ourselves. Its important to take the time to tend your own garden...your mind, your health, relationships and most importantly your relationship with the Lord. If our own garden's are left unattended and are not producing fruit then we have nothing to give to those around us who need us.
3. Have a battle plan.
Motherhood, parenting, running a home..it can all get very overwhelming. I have some amazing mamas in my tribe, and I often store away gems of wisdom I glean from them. One bit of advice I remind myself of regularly was given to me in a particularly overwhelming parenting season. Don't get bogged down by trying to "fix" every area your kids are struggling with at one time. Sit down with your husband and prioritize a list of what's most important in your family. For us, there was a season where I had to just stop potty training my oldest so we could instead focus on some heart training. My striving to potty train a very unwilling 3 year old was making me crazy and worse, stealing my peace. So as the New Year starts, pick one, maybe two areas you want to focus on and try not to stress about the rest. You will get to it. For us, kindness is always priority. Its more important to me to pour my energy into cultivating a kind little heart then, for example, stressing about the state of their room right now. I will address that eventually, but I'm approaching it like a Dave Ramsey Debt snowball...major parenting first, minor parenting after.
4. Love strategically.
This one is more of a reminder than a suggestion. No new revelation, but if you have multiple kids, you know how no two are alike. They come out of the womb fiercely individual. Heck, even in my womb my boys were different. Just how there's no such thing as "one size fits all" parenting, there's also not a formula to how you should communicate love to your kids. Be a student of your kids, notice what moves their little hearts. For my oldest, its quality time. Which honestly is the hardest for a busy mom to give, but I see the impact a moment of my undivided attention has on him (as well as his behavior.) My middle dude is our teddy bear. He requires a lot of cuddling. No complaints from this mama! One of our daily routines is to cuddle on the couch for about 15 min after nap. Its a non negotiable. Because let me tell you, no cuddling turns teddy bear into a grizzly. The jury is still out on our 4 month old. I don't think milk is one of the 5 love languages. I know how I pursue my kids will evolve as they grow, but regardless how big they are (even if they're shaving)...they won't ever out grow my love. So regardless of where you are in motherhood, even if you're now loving on your grandbabies, don't forget to be a student of your children. If you don't feel like you're speaking the same language as your kids, I would challenge you to ask the Lord to give you wisdom. He is the best heart translator.
5. Join the army.
Obviously I am not suggesting you start wearing combat boots... unless its the cute ankle kind with some tastefully cuffed skinny jeans. I digress. I am suggesting however that you join an army of moms that you trust and can do life with. Sure you can do it alone but you are going to feel very lonely and isolated. I don't know what I would do without my tribe. I have a lot of amazing mom friends but there is handful of mama's that I know have my back and will be there when I'm having a pregnant meltdown in the target diaper aisle over whether I should by organic diapers or not (true story.) We just really need each other. We will thrive in motherhood if we can open ourselves up and be real and vulnerable. There's a lot of mom judging and shaming out there but the reality is we are all in this kid raising business together. It's messy and honestly a lot less glamorous than our Instagram feeds would reveal. Let's be brave in 2017 by being "bravely real" in our hot mess and be intentional about finding those mom's that can be our "iron sharpens iron relationship."
There are many things I could add to this list but bottom line is that I want to do life and motherhood bravely this year. I'd love to hear your dreams and aspirations for this 2017. How do you want to grow as Mama? What Brave steps are you taking?