We all have them and we’ve all laughed at all those mom goal memes. But what about real, substantial, thought-out mom goals?
Earlier this summer, my husband and I had one of those arguments. You know the kind. Sitting in a parked car at Wal-Mart when you had a couple of kid-free hours and instead of doing something romantic, you chose to go buy toilet paper in peace? And on the way to purchase said toiletries, you casually brought up one of those complex conversations that often turn heated because dang it, you can never address anything at home with children yelling, “I need more crackers!”.
And eventually the argument turned to my attitude. Then he unleashed it.
“Are you even happy? Do you even like staying at home with the kids?”
I won’t tell you the words that followed because, well, you can imagine. Tears flowed and the argument eventually ended with hugs and kisses and apologies. And yet, the question has lingered in my mind for the past several months. It has been stewing there waiting for me to figure it out.
I have always wanted to be a mom. And I always wanted the opportunity to stay at home with my kids. I am literally doing the very thing I always wanted to do. My husband’s question left me offended, annoyed, sad and most of all – challenged.
Why did I seem unhappy? Why did I seem like I didn’t enjoy the very thing I wanted to do?
Staying at home is exhausting and sometimes lonely. All the energy and investment I pour into my children doesn’t always come back to me with immediate results. There’s a lot of poop involved. And all the tasks that come along with being a stay at home mom don’t necessarily come naturally to me.
Admitting that to myself was hard. I am a firstborn, type A personality who wants all the stars and A’s. Admitting that the job I wanted most is a job I don’t necessarily succeed at is tough. My husband asked if I would rather go back to work. He said we could figure it out. But, I already knew the answer.
I knew life at home needed a change and I needed to actually sit down and think up a plan. In all of my previous jobs, I have been required to complete an annual self-evaluation – to grade my past performance and set goals. So, I set out to do just that. When I self-evaluated, I realized that the “doing” part of my job is pretty okay. I play with, feed, clothe, bathe and guide my children. But my attitude about everything pretty much stinks. So here are my action steps to help remind me that staying at home is an opportunity instead of a burden. I’m probably going to fail every day at some point, but here’s what I’m aiming for.
Approach each day knowing that although I may not ever get the A+ on the SAHM exam, I’m choosing to joyfully sacrifice my time and energy to pour into my children when they need it most. Because for me, that’s what I am choosing. I could choose a multitude of other options or scenarios in raising my children. And many moms do. And many moms would choose to stay home, but can’t afford to. What I do need to do is own my choice and remind myself why I chose it!
Goals help me focus my attitude when life seems chaotic. I asked myself (and my husband too).
What do I want my children to remember about their time growing up in our home? What do I want my children to remember about the way I mothered?
My husband and I had different answers to this question as I think everyone will. For me, I decided to focus on two to three goals (I’m purposely not telling you because we don’t need to compare – think of what matters most to you). This mom’s article over at Collin County Moms Blog inspired a couple of my goals. I’m going to write my goals out and stick them somewhere visible.
Try My Best & Forget the Rest
When I miss the mark at home, no one is going to fire me or dock my pay. And I know I’m not doing such a terrible job that I’m scarring my children for life (hopefully they won’t disagree with me when they are adults!) Just as I give my children and husband grace when they miss the mark, I too can extend that grace to myself.