After the summer we have had (which included a sick child in hospital, a car breaking down on our way to Florida, altered vacation plans, increased expenses, and a general necessity to rely on God and be flexible), I've been reflecting a lot on what it means to be a good wife and mother.
Because there are so many days where I feel like I am absolutely failing at both.
There are days when I scream. Where I nag. Where I am less than gracious. Where I honestly feel like giving up.
And then I take a page out of my own book. Literally- I comb through past blog posts where I discuss struggle and what it looks like when you come out of it and I am reminded there is always a new day. There is always a do-over. And to quote the lovely Cat and Nat from Social Commons, having a bad day as a mom doesn't mean you are a bad mom- you just had a bad day being a mom.
So for today's post I am re-posting an excerpt from a past post. If you feel like you're having a bad day as a wife and mom this one's for you.
Last weekend, my husband had a work conference in Montreal- so the kids and I decided to tag along for the ride. Smoked meat and poutine, cuddles in big comfy hotel beds and quality time after working like a maniac- so needed! I am so thankful for the weekend we had. I am most thankful for the time to recalibrate and be reminded of what my most important job is.
I put in a lot of time developing myself professionally. Recently I was in Colorado for The Platform Conference, yearly I invest in business coaching of some kind, and I am pretty obsessed with reading and gathering info on social media strategies, good business practices and becoming a better interior designer and communicator in general.
But how much time do I invest in being a good wife and a good mother? The honest answer is not very much. So in Montreal I brainstormed a few concrete ways I could invest in being a better wife and mom. Here they are in no particular order:
1. Do more the night before.
This has proved to be pretty awesome for our morning routine, and therefore all of our moods heading out the door for school. And for those of you in Toronto or anywhere north of the equator it seems, you know how much more effort it was this week with snowpants, boots, mitts, hats, etc. etc. etc. So I am disciplining myself to attempt to lay things out the night before. School bags with letters / forms already filled in get laid out by the door, and lunches mostly packed saved for the things that are perishable and are pre wrapped in bags in the fridge. I have to work on getting them to lay out their clothes the night before- hoping to instill that habit in them (and myself!) too.
2. Turn my phone off for uninterrupted, aimless time.
Or at least put it away out of reach. I think I need to make a "sacred time", where the phone is away. In this time I want to invest in just being present and aimless. Ask my kids questions, be present to my husband in conversation, be available in an undistracted manner. I need to work on this. Update: since writing this post I did a 30-day social media fast which was life changing.
3. Be more grateful, and verbalize my gratitude.
This one is simple. I need to be more grateful for my spouse and my kids and let them know that. If I had a jar and I had to put a dollar in for the number of times I got irritated in a day with everyone, vs. the times I spoke grateful words to them it would be pretty sad to see how full that jar would be.
4. Be more romantic.
As a mom of small kids, romantic gestures of any kind are admittedly quite neglected at the end of a day full of demands. The relationship I have with my spouse supports the rest of the relationships in our house, and establishes a culture of care and kindness. My kids learn about love by watching the way I relate with Josh. I best treat him with some fondness ; )
In the fast pace of our life with 4 kids (update: now almost 6!) and busy work schedules, there are days that we feel like we barely survive. But there are also days that we thrive. I want more of the latter, and experience has shown me that if I put into practice some of the goals I set out above, like being more organized and more attentive and less distracted, we really do feel great. At mass last Sunday at the gorgeous and historic St. Patrick's in Montreal, this was read in the first reading: "Her children stand up and proclaim her blessed, her husband, too, sings her praises" (Proverbs 31:28). I hope to live up to this both for my own personal standard and for them.
How do you invest in your job as parents and spouse? Love to know your best practices in the comments below.