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Posts tagged ‘Being a mom’

6 Tips to Reduce Stress for the Working Mom

SOURCE:  Lisa Lakey/FamilyLife Ministry

When my youngest started preschool, I took my first job outside the home in nearly 10 years. I was frazzled, guilt-ridden, and late everywhere I went.

I was in the school drop-off line one morning when the license plate of the car in front of me caught my eye. “L8AGAIN” it read. My first thought was, That should be mine. Those seven characters summed up most of my days as a working mom.

When my youngest started preschool, I took my first job outside the home in nearly 10 years. I was frazzled, guilt-ridden, and late everywhere I went. (Okay, maybe I’m still working on all three of those.) After spotting a shirt in a local boutique with the phrase “World’s Okayest Mom” emblazoned on the front, I joked with my kids and husband that that was me. The best mom ever at just getting by.

But behind the laughter of the moment, there was something else. Fear, doubt, and a hefty dose of self-pity overwhelmed me. I didn’t really want to be an “okay” mom. I wanted to be the absolute best mom. You know her. The mom who has it all together—perfect hair, perfect smile, perfect kids. She probably only feeds her family made-from-scratch, organic, non-GMO meals. She would hate to know how often I drive through Chick-fil-A. I can’t even remember what GMO stands for right now.

To be honest, I just want my kids to get the best of me, although that isn’t always what happens. But I have learned that trying to be the perfect mom will always backfire. I might not always be the best mom, but I am always the mom my kids need—me.

Thanks to some loving reminders from other working moms, I have picked up a few helpful tips along the way:

1. Plan, plan, plan.

I am a terribly late person. Punctuality is not my strong point. So naturally, one of my greatest struggles as a working mom is getting myself and everyone else where they need to be on time.

I’ve had to extend myself a bit of grace in this area more than a few times and completely reevaluate my routines. I take a planner with me everywhere I go, and I jot down appointments, parties, deadlines, etc. as soon as I can. I plan a week’s worth of meals at a time (usually) and thank God for the stores in town that offer online grocery ordering.

2. Let go of the excess guilt.

Forgot to send your daughter to school in red for spirit day? Toss that guilt to the curb. Shamed over sending a bag of cookies and juice boxes for your son’s snack day at preschool? Let yourself enjoy the fact that for one brief moment you were just a tad cooler than Luke’s mom who always sends organic carrot sticks and overpriced bottled water.

My point is, there will always be moments where our best inner mom just doesn’t shine through. We’ll mess up, make our kids mad, forget stuff, and so on. But we’ll also get so much right.

Like loving our kids. Moms, we are great at that. So don’t let the less-shiny moments bring you down. Learn from the moment if you can, then shake that guilt off, pick up your “Supermom” cape and move on. Just be intentional in the moment you’re in.

3. Ask for help.

Yep, I feel you. This tends to be a hard one for us moms. We like to sport our bedazzled capes and fool only ourselves into thinking we can do it all. But the hard truth is that we can’t. We weren’t meant to.

So don’t feel any shame asking for a little help when you need it. Ask your husband for help getting the kids to bed. See if another mom could give your daughter a ride to dance. In a culture that has all but destroyed the proverbial “village” it was supposed to take to raise our children, it’s time to rebuild it.

4. Find a working mom friend.

I adore all of my friends—working in or out of the home, kids or no kids. No matter what your life stage is, the following will always be true: We need someone who gets where we are and who won’t judge our struggles.

I need close connections with other working moms who are struggling with the dilemma of taking off for sick days and field trips. Those who can understand the horror you feel coming home to a meal you intended to slow cook all day, only to discover you didn’t plug the darn thing in. No judgment, ladies. Back to Chick-fil-A we go.

5. Stop with all the comparisons.

You can’t be Luke’s mom, so get over it. You weren’t supposed to be. I tell my daughter all the time she was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). I don’t want her to think she has to be anyone other than the amazing girl God created her to be. So why should I?

God made you with a purpose, mom. He knew just what your future kids would need when He created you. Trust that He knows what He is doing. Just be you.

6. Find time in your busy schedule to connect with God.

When I neglect to set aside time to read Scripture or pray, all of the above points are harder. If I don’t go to God in prayer, I try to carry all my burdens myself—every ounce of guilt, all the comparisons I hold myself to, all the ways I will never measure up.

Connecting with God is the most important thing I can do not just for my family, but for myself. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,” He tells us in Matthew 11:28, “and I will give you rest.”

One day not long ago, I was fishing through my purse for my keys before leaving the office. I found an M&M, an earring I thought I had lost, and something sticky that I didn’t waste time on identifying (it’s probably for the best).

But amid these small pieces of my life, there it was. Attached to a tangle of keys was a purple butterfly my daughter had given me—“#1 Mom,” it read. I’ll take that over “World’s Okayest Mom” any day.

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What Kids Need From A Mom

SOURCE:  Life, Love and Family Daily Fact Sheet/Dr. Tim Clinton

“Mothers”

  • 3 Ingredients for Good Parenting (Clinton & Hawkins, 2009):
    • Love—children need hugs, physical contact, words of encouragement and affirmation, and quality time—all of these communicate love. Love also helps break down barriers and walls that we can’t see with our eyes. As a mom, you are to love your children even when it is undeserved. This does not mean that you accept everything that they do. It does mean that you remind them that you love them even when you disagree with or are heartbroken by their actions.
    • Discipline—discipline, unlike punishment, always envisions a better future for the child. As a mom, you must discipline and train your children.
    • Guidance—as a parent, it is your job to teach your children about life, guiding them in all areas, especially in God’s Word (Deut. 6:4-9). Guiding your children may also mean allowing them to make mistakes.
  • Special Time: Helping Your Child Feel Loved and Cared for (Clinton & Sibcy, 2006):
    • Before more structured behavioral techniques are used to help a child, the parent-child relationship must first improve.
    • If a child is angry or feels unloved or uncared for, no parenting technique can make him behave.
    • Special Time is playtime that parents intentionally invest in their child, and it is totally command free.
    • During Special Time, parents are not allowed to give their child any commands or suggestions.
    • Special Time should last for twenty to thirty minutes at a time and parents should allow their child to pick the activity they’d like to do together.
    • Connection begins by starting with something your child actually likes. Avoid agenda-centered conversations. Enter your child’sworld. Be present and available to him or her without any other obligations competing for your time.
  • Quotes:
    • “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”—Abraham Lincoln
    • “A mother is the one to whom you hurry when you are troubled.”—Emily Dickinson
    • “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”—George Washington
    • “Perhaps it takes courage to raise children.”—John Steinbeck
    • “Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother.”—Billy Graham
    • “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”—Agatha Christie
    • “A mother understands what a child does not say.”—Jewish Proverb
    • “You are not making memories with your children; you are the memory!”—Josh McDowell
  • Key Thoughts (Morgan & Kuykendall, 2001)
    • Mothers face the challenge of investing their time and energy in the lives of their children. The culture, however, confronts them with two messages: “Mothering is not a job,” and “Mothering is not a skill.”
    • It can be difficult for women to value their major investment in life—mothering—when their culture judges that investment as having no value.
    • Similarly, mothering skills, where time and energy are invested in the lives of those who can’t do for themselves, are undervalued.
    • Mothers need to understand the value of their mothering from God’s perspective.
    • Mothering is highly esteemed in God’s Word. Children are declared to be precious gifts from God (Ps. 127:3). Proverbs 31, the chapter describing the “virtuous woman,” pictures a mother who diligently cares for her household.
    • Mothering cannot be defined by a paycheck or a promotion, but in the peace of mind that comes from being there for children.
  • Verses:
    • “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.”—Proverbs 31:26-27
    • “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”—Exodus 20:12
    • “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”—Psalm 127:3
    • “Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying, ‘Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”—Proverbs 31:28-30
    • “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”—Proverbs 22:6
    • “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”—Ephesians 6:4

Endnotes

Clinton, T. & Hawkins, R. (2009). The quick-reference guide for biblical counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Clinton, T. & Sibcy, G. (2006). Why you do the things you do: The secret to healthy relationships. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Morgan, E. & Kuykendall, C. (2001). “Does mothering matter?” The Bible for Hope. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

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