I have officially been a stay at home mom for two months. If things had gone how I had them all planned out in my notebook my entire house would be reorganized and completely cleaned. I would never be behind on laundry. I would have meals cooked for my husband at least 4-5 days a week. And I would have kids that were better behaved than ever. But surprise, surprise… that is not how things have gone.
The first four weeks were pretty rough. But the other night, I was laying in bed thinking about how much better the last few weeks have been with my kids. Things really seemed to have taken a turn. As I reflected on what it was that made things so different I realized there had been a shift in me. I had finally started getting up at 6:00 AM, like I kept telling myself I would. [Well, that is when the alarm goes off but I have consistently been out of bed by 6:15!] I am getting some alone time with my cup of coffee, my Bible, and a book I am currently reading by Andrew Womack (it is called The Believer’s Authority and I highly recommend it). I can’t believe the difference this time is making in my day. I am so refreshed and ready to start the day, rather than feeling drug out of bed by my kids and struggling to get any motivation or energy. It has also been interesting to see how the difference in me from starting my day off this way, has had a huge effect on my kids. When we fill ourselves with Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to invade us, the fruits of the Spirit can come pouring out of us during our day. I have shown more patience, more love, more understanding as I have started my day by being filled with the Spirit. And because of this, my interactions with my kids have been a lot better.
My stay at home mom-ness did not get off to that great of a start though. The first four weeks were pretty rough. I was going back and forth between my house and my parent’s house while my husband was doing our kitchen remodel, and the realization that I had left my career really started to set in. I didn’t regret leaving, I was still excited and happy that I had been given this opportunity. But it was still a loss. A loss of independence. A loss of the praise I was used to getting at work. The loss of having employees, who for the most part respected me. Just the loss of a big part of my life, that I worked very hard to get to.
The more I focused on that, the more I felt that. You see, what we think about and focus on is what we produce. How can I produce a loving and peaceful environment for my kids when I am focusing on these negative feelings of loss and allowing myself to slip into what felt like a depression. No one is praising me for how good I wash the dishes. No one is thanking me for keeping the kids alive. No one is telling me that I have what it takes to get a promotion one day. [A promotion to what, I am not sure, but that’s beside the point!] So these negative feelings and emotions are creating a negative environment for my family. I am not saying that I shouldn’t allow myself to grieve and feel that loss, because the healthy thing is to do that. To process it, and feel it, but not get stuck in it. Not set up a tent and camp out for a while. Process, heal, and move on.
As soon as I chose to start waking up early in the morning, and put my focus on Christ… that is when this shift happened. That is when my days with the kids were noticeably better. Does that mean that today finally came? You know the today where I do everything right all day, with the perfectly put together house, and wonderful warm dinner for my husband? No. Definitely not. I still have not caught up on my house. I still do not cook nightly meals for my husband. I still do not parent perfectly, or even close to perfectly. It is definitely a process. But my attitude and my focus are not on the negative things but on Christ, and because of that I am able to have a positive outlook on life. And it has created a wonderful, positive environment for the kids to just…be.
Don’t forget, take time for you, which may very well look different from how I am taking time for me. Take time to ensure your cup is being filled so that you have what it takes to parent, or to adult, or to do whatever it is you need to do.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.