Thursday, December 09, 2010

Down with Martha!

There are several things that I have found help me regain my sanity. It's taken me 9 years of mothering to fully implement these, but maybe it will be a fresh of breath air for someone else out there.

Here are a few things I want to submit that will hopefully help moms find some freedom:

1. Find the things that stress you out during the day that can be dropped. These have to be rather inconsequential things that really don't matter in the big picture. Sorry, you can't just stop cooking or changing diapers. For us, it was pajamas. I couldn't organize the pajama world for 5 kids. Couldn't keep them clean. Couldn't keep them organized. So, the kids sleep in whatever they want.

2. Your kids don't have to bathe everyday. I know, this might seem really gross to some. But unless they are Pigpen type dirty, let it go for the day. They won't die. And nobody will talk about you behind your back. Well, they might, but ya know what...if it's not hygeine, they'll find other things to talk gossip about you. You just have to get over it.

3. Find the things that are non-moveables for you and your husband. Eating dinner together is one of those for us. We don't miss it unless one of us is out of town or there's an emergency. Every once in awhile we've got appointments, but we try not to miss dinner together. To help that, we've incorporated having people over for dinner. So, if people want to hang out, we invite them over to our house instead of going out. That way, the kids get to be a part of things and then we get adult coffee and dessert after the kids are down.

4. During the holidays, don't feel the pressure to do everything the Martha Stewart way. Find 3-4 things that you want as a family tradition. Drop the rest. Do a few things really well. Don't do the others. If making a 5 tiered princess cake for your daughter's birthday stresses you out and robs your joy, don't do it. Make ice cream sundaes and eat them for breakfast instead. Get creative and make the day special in a way that is fun for both you and your child. If making Christmas cards is about to cause a breakdown for you, skip them. Do July 15th cards instead. Life isn't usually crazy in July.

5. Chances are, your prodigy soccer player won't get a college scholarship and go on to be one of the 30 players that go on to play in the World Cup. Don't let extra curricular run your home's schedule. Simplify your schedule and enjoy your kids.

6. Don't worry about what other people are thinking. As women, we spend a significant amount of our brain space worrying about other people's opinions. You could be the perfect mom and there is someone who will think you are doing a horrible job. Pray lots. Ask tons of questions. And do the things that bring you and your family the most joy.

7. Your house shouldn't look like a catalog picture. Find our your husband's expectations for what 'clean' should look like. Do those things. Then, get on the floor with your kids, take out the paints and then legos and make a mess. If you have 5 kids and an immaculate house, something is very, very wrong. Keep it organized and tidy, but don't let it rule your day.

8. Protect your mind as you read blogs about other moms. They put their best foot forward. Maybe they are super crafters and you feel undue pressure to do the same. Understand that crafting is their passion. Find that outlet for you and your kids and do that. Don't be passionate about other people's passions. And certainly don't feel like a bad mom when you aren't doing other people's giftings and passions. Maybe yours is cooking, reading, nature walking, singing, dancing, making up plays or researching facts. Do those.

9. Find a good small devo book, a collection of Bible verses or hand held game to bring into the bathroom with you. This will force you to sit down for more than two seconds. Take a moment to inhale, read a verse or play a game, exhale and then walk out of the bathroom with your pants fully buttoned and ready to conquer the next spilled drink.

10. Trust in the sufficiency of the Lord. For every failing we offer our kids as a mom, the Lord will take care of them and fill them with His promises.

I hope this helps. As our family got bigger, these few things became more and more important for us.

***As a side note, remember that Martha Stewart has make-up artists, hair dressers, maintenance workers and 817 helpers to make things happen. Just givin' you perspective.
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