Choosing to Be Intentional About What Parts of Being A Mom We Choose to Embrace

Choosing to Be Intentional About What Parts of Being A Mom We Choose to Embrace

I made a promise to my daughter the day she was born.

As I gazed into my baby girl’s eyes for the very first time, I silently assured her:

I’m going to meet your every need.

In that sacred moment, it felt right to make such a vow. She was so tiny, and I was overwhelmed by a protective instinct so strong, I felt like a combination of Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk.

But if I could go back twenty-seven years and whisper a few words to my new mom self, here’s what I’d say:

No you won’t.

You won’t even come close.

Trying Hard

We went home from the hospital the day after Annemarie was born, and oh, how I tried to honor my promise: I’m going to meet your every need.

When she was bored, I tried to be Fun Mom.

When she was sad, I tried to be Nurturing Mom.

When she broke things, I tried to be Fix-It-Fast Mom.

When she couldn’t find things, I tried to be Organized Mom.

If she needed it, I tried hard to be it.

I did a wonderful job of meeting her every need.

But then she turned two days old, and everything went haywire.

Feeling Overwhelmed

The second day after we got home from the hospital, Annemarie was fussy. I fed her. I burped her. I changed her.

Nothing worked.

I tried singing to her, but that only seemed to make her cry harder.

Finally, exhausted, I handed her over to my mother, expecting (and secretly hoping) that there would be no change.

But the transformation was both instantaneous and dramatic.

Not only did Annemarie stop crying, but as her Nana began to sing, she started to smile.

“It’s just gas,” I said, stunned and a little hurt that my child had calmed right down with someone other than me.

Now, I would love to tell you that this was the moment I recognized that my promise I’m going to meet your every need was unrealistic, foolish, and impossible to fulfill.

Unfortunately, I took it as a challenge.

And I determined to try all the harder to be the one to meet my daughter’s every need.

For the next quarter-of-a-century, I muddled through motherhood, constantly overwhelmed by self-inflicted feelings of colossal failure.

Comparing Myself

Flash forward 25 years to Annemarie’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Solo Exhibition. She’s drawn large portraits of the twenty key people in her life, each one titled with a single word that defines their connection to her.

I quickly scan the gallery walls for my portrait so I can see what label she gave me. But before I can find mine, I see Aunt Karen’s:

Nurturer

It takes all my willpower not to run to the restroom and burst into tears.

I didn’t get Nurturer.

Which means I didn’t meet my daughter’s need for nurturing.

I tried, by golly, I tried.

But I didn’t even come close.

I’m just not made out of nurturing stuff.

I’m made out of …

I find my portrait and read my label.

… evidently, I’m made out of Writer stuff.

Whatever that even means.

Clearly, Aunt Karen succeeded where I failed.

Gaining Perspective

But what if that’s okay?

The unexpected thought crashes my pity party.

What if she didn’t need me to meet her every need?

I look at my daughter, laughing with guests who are here for her grand opening. She’s all grown up into someone I am so proud to know, let alone share genes with.

What if she just needed me to be me?

I look at the titles of the other portraits:

MentorPhilosopherListenerChallenger …

And suddenly, I am overwhelmed with gratitude toward Aunt Karen and and all the other people who have poured into to my daughter’s life, meeting needs that I never could.

The truth begins to settle into my heart:

She really didn’t need me to meet her every need.

Accepting the Truth

So if you’re a mom who feels like she’s constantly falling short? letting her kids down? never even coming close to meeting all their needs?

Lean in close, and let me whisper this truth to you:

That’s okay.

They don’t need you to meet their every need.

They just need you to be you.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.” Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and Overwhelmed.
Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.
Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.

 

 

 

Parents Guide to Decluttering: Stage One – Before the Baby

Parents Guide to Decluttering: Stage One – Before the Baby

Day1-Before-Baby-BlogA Series by Paula Tobey

When was the last time you had an urge to clean out all of your closets and you were not pregnant? There is something about ‘nesting time’ that I believe we just need to take advantage of because, let’s face it, when you have them crawling all around under foot, you don’t have the urge whatsoever to declutter your closets, so…. Let’s go! It’s time…

[Tweet “Parents Guide to #Decluttering: Stage One – Before the Baby #pregnancy”]

Areas to Declutter Before the Baby Arrives

In the kitchen-

You will want to have enough space to have bottles, or cereal bowls, some baby food jars and teething crackers. (Those items take up the most space so I won’t list everything you could put here). So if you are currently lacking one shelf’s worth of space, it’s time to decide what needs to go.  What have you not used in the last year? Is it that food dehydrator you got from Aunt Mary or is it a set of dishes that are so fancy you won’t even use them on Christmas? Whatever the item is, determine this – Do I Love it or Do I Let it Go? Really you have to love it. If you love it, it is worth keeping. It makes your life easier, faster or its just soooo pretty! J If you don’t… it’s time to part ways and BLESS another mom! You basically want enough room to get you through six-nine months’ worth of changes because, truth be told, you do not want to do this over and over!

In the laundry room

You will be spending quite a bit of time here. For some reason the littler the person, the more laundry they create! LUCKILY their stuff is so small and you can fit more in! It’s most important to have a laundry room stocked with only what you need. It should not be a store-all closet. You, your belly and the hamper need to be able to fit in there and it can be a huge challenge if your laundry room looks like a bomb went off! If it’s time to clear off “Mount Washaton” then do so, so you have a clear surface to put down that darn basket! One basic principle to live by when in the laundry room is this: Keep

In the Linen closet-

Keep it Simple Silly! Seriously, just keep the basics, find other places or throw away the objects that don’t need to be in there! In the Linen closet or baby closet, make sure that you have sheets, towels and bedding in a very convenient place because you will be in here all of the time! It’s mind boggling to me how fast diaper changing pads and spit up cloths are needed so often, but they are. Declutter your linen closet to ONLY the sheets and towels you have to have! For real. You don’t want to do more laundry than you need to.

Clutter Free

When living by the love it or let it go philosophy you will create a much happier home environment for your whole family. Clutter equals stress and with a new baby and little sleep, who needs that in the equation?! Not you! Keep that Elsa song playing in your head and declutter your way to a (slightly) more peaceful home!

RELATED RESOURCES

Want even more ways to get rid of the clutter and start living the life you were designed to live? Get Kathi’s book Clutter Free Quick and Easy Steps to Simplify Your Space!

Paula TobeyWhat are your best decluttering tips for before baby? Tell us in the comments below and we will randomly pick one commenter to receive “21 Ways to Connect with Your Kids” by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory.

Do you want more great information to make your family the best it can be? Subscribe to Paula’s blog and get weekly posts and encouragement to help you on your parenting journey. http://phemomenallife.com/

Paula Tobey is founder of PheMOMenal Life Ministries a community for women to go get encouraged and equipped to be the best mom’s they can be to their children by living a healthy balanced life and by becoming all that God created them to be. 

Join the You Don't Have to Try So Hard Book Club

We'll be conducting the book club through Kathi's Private Facebook Group, Clutter Free Academy. Join the book club to get access to the private facebook group. You'll receive an email with instructions once you submit this form. 

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