I was the perfect wife and mother…until I got married and had kids!
If you read my original post, My Unexpected Journey, you’ll see that I had big plans about how life would go. I also had plans about my plans and back up plans for all these plans. Every eventuality was covered.
It must be understood that these plans hinged on the fact that my children would be perfect angels…because I would be the perfect mother. This I failed to have a back up plan for, since there was just no scenario I could dream up that would include normal kids.
Eight years into marriage and six and a half of those being a mother tell a different story. It must be understood that much of my current state of being is hinged on the fact that I’m tired!
By the time my first baby started sleeping through the night, I was one month away from baby number two so my nights were constantly being interrupted by third trimester pregnancy stuff. By the time he started sleeping through the night I was well on my way to baby number three. Baby number three has only recently started sleeping through the night – just in time for number two to have not infrequent interruptions to his sleep.
I’m not trying to make anyone feel sorry for me, just
making excuses, stating a fact.
So here’s how my standards for perfection have taken an unexpected twist.
- Fifteen Minutes per Week
That’s how long my house is clean to the standard that I’d allow my mom in with her white gloves. In a previous post, Meaningful Minimalism, I mentioned that I have one day set aside for full house cleaning. I find that on a good week I have roughly a 15 minute window to survey all I see and be impressed with myself.
The ever so important lesson I have learned in this is that for the other 10065 minutes that my house is, uh, less than stellar, it’s okay. That doesn’t mean that I like the way it looks most days – but that I have come to understand that a messy house doesn’t make me a bad person.
2. Quiet Time – It’s not just for babies anymore
I am an introvert. I need time by myself to recharge. This is not easily accomplished with a husband, 3 children and a part-time job. Did I mention that I home school? So said children are never “off at school”.
My older 2 children get some quiet time in the afternoon while the youngest naps. This is also my quiet time. I either read, watch a “mommy show” on Netflix or call/message friends – guilt free of any household task. I have learned that my oldest also benefits from this time on her own and it makes for a much smoother afternoon for all of us.
So many of my organizational ideas have come from Pinterest! Crafts or activities for the kids, home school ideas, recipes and “Life Hacks” that I use originate here as well.
4. Kids are washable
This is a lesson that my husband has had to teach me, and continues to remind me of. I don’t need to hover over the children constantly to keep them in pristine condition. The grime they get on themselves will come off. Although, my youngest is learning that the grease from daddy’s tractor often takes a harder scrubbing or an extra day or two!
5. I don’t reinvent the wheel
Many wives and mothers have gone before me and I love to glean from their knowledge and experience!
I adore mentorship and make a point to partake of these types of relationships whenever possible. I have had official mentors in my life – the kind where I ask her if she is willing to take on a project as complex as me, and I have had relationships with women who I just learn from.
I listen to their stories with intent of learning and applying wisdom to my own situation and admire them for being real with me.
As I struggled to potty train my son, I would think back to a story I was told roughly 15 years ago by a mother who had struggled in a similar way with one of her sons.
As I delve into year 2 of homeschooling, I seek out every homeschooling mother I know (or simply know of) to pepper with questions. The list could go on and on.
The mentoring relationship isn’t always advice based, however. There are women whom I trust that I learn all types of life lessons from. A dear friend and I were having coffee awhile ago and I took the opportunity to invite her to speak into my life. To offer loving correction when she sees me mess up and to tough love me when I may be feeling a little sorry for myself.
If you have never thought of being mentored, I urge you to consider it! Find someone who you respect, have similar values to and are able to spend time with on a somewhat regular basis. Then be really brave and tell this person that they are allowed to point you in the right direction when your compass may be a little off. I can promise you that you will be better for it! And perhaps someday you can be that person to someone else.
So offering myself grace has made a world of difference to my whole family. When mama’s relaxed, the whole family is relaxed! Of course there are times when things just need to get done and fun has to fall by the wayside, but my goal is to make those times the exception rather than the rule.
What has life taught you?