An older woman once said that she talked out both sides of her mouth. She would say, “get up off the couch and get to work” at the same time that she was saying, “there’s grace for rest and recognition of limits.” But she explained that she was talking to both sides of the personality spectrum. There are some people who need all the extra prodding just to get up and get the basics done. And there are some people who will push, push, push until they are about to fall over from exhaustion.
It’s helpful to learn about yourself. Pay attention to what motivates you, take personality tests, find what works for you when it comes to planning and doing your work. Then you know how to talk to yourself.
I tend to to fall on the how many things can I cross off my list the fastest side. Usually this comes in handy, but as I’ve gotten deeper in motherhood, I’ve come to realize that’s not always the best method when you’re trying to nurture children and not just clean the house.
Know Where You Are
This fall, when I broke my ankle and couldn’t put weight on it while I was in the exhausting first trimester, I realized that I needed to adjust my expectations of myself. I simply wasn’t physically capable of performing all the tasks that I usually do. I took a quick glance at life and decided that if I was doing school with Micah and we were all eating (It didn’t matter if someone brought us food, or Justin picked up takeout, or I made something simple, food in everyone’s bellies was a win all the way around.), I was going to call each day a win. I wasn’t going to worry about the laundry piles or the dust or the vacuuming. And you know what? We survived.
That’s a sharp change from our normal pace, but it was practical and right for that season. When seasons change, it’s only reasonable that we adjust our expectations of ourselves. But often we forget. We get superwoman syndrome and think that we can do everything as a mom of four that we could before we had kids. Then we make ourselves and our families crazy trying to keep up.
- Are you struggling with an illness or injury?
- How many children do you have and how old are they?
- Are they at school or at home?
- Are you pregnant or caring for a newborn?
- Are you caring for an aging parent or grandparent?
- Are you under a lot of mental or emotional stress?
You’ll notice I didn’t once ask what your sister or best friend or Instagram inspiration is doing. That’s because it’s irrelevant. You aren’t supposed to run her race. You’re supposed to run yours- from where you are, not from where you think you should be. Maybe you need to quit a few things. Maybe you need to take a short break. Maybe you need to delegate or decide it simply isn’t the season for something.
Know Where You’re Going
We’re quickly coming up on 2017. It’s going to be a big year for us (I’ll turn 30! We’ll have our fourth baby! We’ll celebrate our tenth anniversary!). I’ve started thinking about what I would like work and home to look like next year as I set goals. I love goal-setting and when I first started setting goals I would think of the most amazing, impressive goals and I would set all of those. Learn a new language? Check. Take three classes online every month (while raising three kids)? On the list. But these “impressive” goals were getting me nowhere because I wasn’t setting goals with the end in mind.
Don’t set random, impressive-sounding goals, consider where you want to be. I took a class on goal-setting with Jess Connolly through The Influence Network last year and this one scenario has stuck with me since then.
Picture yourself grocery shopping in December 2017. Who are you? What do you wear? Who are you shopping for? What podcast did you listen to on the way there? What were you working on before you left for the store? Who do you want to be at the end of 2017?
Think about the person you want to be first. Who has God made you to be? What relationships has He put you in? Where do you need to grow? What’s a dream that you’ve not acted on because it seems scary?
Find the person and set the goals that point you in that direction. Maybe slower than you would like; God often interrupts our plans. Or maybe you can pick up the pace and say “yes” to something God is asking of you. But first evaluate where you are and where you are supposed to be going.
Do you have any goals set already for 2017? I’d love to hear about them!