Friday, October 21, 2011

Moms Finding Balance // Mary Beth

Finding balance in my life as a mom (business, aside) has been quite the journey for me over the past 6 months! I'm proud of the progress I've made, but I daily see areas I need to grow in! Reading the posts from the others moms has both challenged me and confirmed that I'm on the right track!

When I first started trying to figure out what balance looks like for me, I was entering the new stage of mothering a toddler and trying to adjust my life to his new schedule. Up until this spring, Titus was taking two long naps everyday. I was able to work on business in the morning, take naps and do housework in the afternoon, with plenty of me-time when I needed it! But all that changed when Titus entered toddlerhood. He stopped taking naps about the time that I got pregnant and simultaneously began preparing for our first craft show. And he wasn't content to play quietly five feet in front of me! He wanted my full attention, and would whine practically my whole working morning! I had lists of things that needed to be done and I had my schedule figured out of how that could happen... but Titus being around and my new exhaustion (due to pregnancy) was really throwing a kink into things! I would be frazzled and frustrated everyday trying to spend time with him and be a good mom, but still get everything done that I needed to!

 I wish someone would've told me then that you have to hold onto your schedule lightly, because every new stage your child enters requires an adjustment of your current way of doing things...

After our craft show was over, I took some time to pray and regroup about everything in my life and how I was supposed to balance it all. I felt like I wasn't being the mom I needed to be, and I knew that I needed to change some things. The Lord brought some blog posts across my path to challenge my whole perspective of mothering!

The first post was from Rachel Jankovic, author of "Loving the Little Years". Although I was loving being a mom, I realized I was struggling to give up myself and my wants and my to-do list to my child! I read Rachel's book and was hugely challenged by the incredible way she loves and parents her 5 kids, all 5 and under! I realized how short these "little years" are and how important it is to pour yourself into your little one for this time! I'm the type of person that likes to do things with purpose- I don't want to have any regrets from these little years!

I also read a moving post from Little Miss Momma who shared her "aha!" moment as a mom! She quotes another mom and it struck a chord with me. Talking about her child, she says,

"After my daughter was born, I was trying so hard to have the life I had before.
I was trying to fit her into my schedule, instead of fitting my schedule to hers."

And that's when I realized that that's what my problem with balance was- I'm trying to have as much of the same life now as I did before Titus was born. And the older he gets, the harder it is! And it's wrong! You'll realize in my previous paragraph how often I used the word, "my." That was my mindset! I would get up in the morning and plan all the things I needed to get done! Of course, Titus was always in mind- either accompanying me, or otherwise occupied/entertained (hopefully!)

 I wasn't neglecting my child or despising my role as a mom, I was just doing too much!

After that reality check, I started to begin my day with a list of things to do, but I would allow myself to be interrupted! I expected the interruptions now and even welcomed them as opportunities to show love to my husband and child! I now devote my mornings to my son! I do get some things accomplished, but that isn't my main ambition! We read books, play and laugh... Then we have lunch with Daddy, and then comes naptime. Naptime has made time more precious to me, and has made me use my time more wisely!

My husband has helped me prioritize my life, and keeps me focused on the most important things in my life, as well as to let go of things that may be good, but are stealing me away from the most important things! That's been huge for me!

I also know now that every couple months, my life and schedule will change as my kids grow and develop. At this point in life, it's inevitable. I'm learning to hold loosely, and to also be more giving of myself to the most important things in life- my husband and children!

A well-known verse that God has made real to me in a fresh way through this journey has been:
No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13

Being a mother is how I'm living this verse out! I'm choosing daily to lay down my life for my family... this is the greatest love!

Business advice (from one mom's lessons learned...)
1. maintain your priorities
2. re-evaluate your schedule often
3. have support from the important people in your life
4. learn to let go of things
5. schedule a time to be creative...
Let me expound upon that last point! It's so easy with my current schedule to get discouraged that I don't get very much done for the business, for my creativity, or even for myself! That's way I think it's important to sit down with my husband and with his support, set a time for me to have some time to "give into" my inspirations and creativity! He may take Titus out, or give me permission to work the day/night away. Then I can work (or play!) without feeling guilty because I have his blessing!

I've truly learned to embrace my calling, and give of myself. And God has given me joy in that!