If Mama Ain't Happy, Nobodies Happy! And let me tell you, a few years ago, this mama was not happy. In fact, I was downright miserable. I had committed myself to things beyond what I could handle. I was helping raise two toddlers through foster care, had my then preteen and was homeschooling her, volunteered at a women's center, did bookkeeping on the side, was a wife, tried helping my friends through problems, and tried to run a house smoothly, and I was failing! And the worst part, I was miserable and my mood trickled down to everyone else in the household.
The more stressed I got, the more stressed everyone else was. Fortunately, even though I put myself in a situation beyond what I could personally handle, many stepped up to help me through it, but it wasn't until I humbled myself and began asking for help. My parents were great help babysitting and just being with me when things felt overwhelming. I hired a cleaning lady to help with the stuff that got forgotten because I was too busy picking up toys and keeping up with my other demands. Then of course, my ever patient husband gave me the grace to not feel like the utter failure I felt like I was. I noticed a great thing, the more I humbled myself, the more my mood improved, then so did my daughters, so did my foster children, so did my husbands. My pride got in the way of bringing peace into my home.
Because I am a slow learner, again the past couple months I have found myself getting grumpy yet again. And again, my stress brought everyone else down. I knew I could not do this to my family again. I knew something had to change. This mama was not happy, and she was bringing everyone else down with her.
Now first I should clarify something. I believe happiness is a temporal thing and should never be a person's goal in life. Happiness is based on circumstances and can change from one moment to the next, and let's face it, sometimes life sucks! This post is actually not about happiness at all, it's really about setting the mood for the house.
Over the past few years, I have realized that whether I like it or not, it is my responsibility to set the mood for the house. No I am not discounting the role father's responsibility in this or their impact on the mood of the house, but I am not a dad, I am a mom. I can only speak to my own experience. If one is a dad, they may need to take this message to heart as well. Yet, I am a mom, so I speak to you moms.
For me I needed to have a heart change. I needed to let go of my pride and ask for help. I needed to be content with my circumstances and stop wishing for a different life. I needed to seek wisdom.
My life was not going to change, but my outlook could.
Often I hear people talk about how us as mothers need to nurture ourselves, get a massage, spend time with friends, get a manicure, care for ourselves. Although that may be good stress relievers, too often, we may feel recharged for the moment, but when we get back to the children and reality happens again, we find the same pull toward insanity and can even feel more overwhelmed than before we left for that massage.
Just as happiness is temporal, these stress relievers are just a temporary fix. What we need more than stress relief is a heart change. The bible says that what is in our heart will overflow through our mouth (Luke 6:45) and our actions (Proverbs 4:23).
This is not something we can do overnight, nor is it something that is just going to happen. We need to make a conscious effort to change our thoughts, for it is our thoughts that soon enter our hearts, that soon exit through our actions and words.
When you find yourself losing it, because you stepped on that toy you asked your child three times before to take care of, you need to stop and ask yourself, is my heart where it needs to be?
Yes, you do need to talk to your child about being obedient, but do you need to yell using words known ever too well to sailors?
Then when you do lose it and threaten the safety of your child, do you need to beat yourself up for failing yet again at being that perfect mother you imagine yourself being?
We, as mothers, assume we should be able to handle everything life throws at us and do it with grace. Then we beat ourselves up for failing yet again when we don't. We are never going to be perfect as long as we live on this earth, but what we can do is decide to grow from our experiences, work on our hearts, control our thoughts, and decide to do better next time. Our kids are watching us. They are going to mimic us, and not just in actions, but our moods too. So be the change you want to see in your kids. If you want them to be more patient, be more patient. If you want them to be calmer, then be calmer. It may not always work, but at least you are not adding to the problem that already exists, and when you do add to the problem, learn from it and move on.
So there you go, my random ramblings from a mother who too often fails, but is always learning.
After six years of infertility, she was blessed with the adoption of her oldest daughter who now is a teenager. Six years later, she finally became a mother a second time, this time with a baby through a donated egg and ivf. Throughout that time, she fostered nine babies and toddlers, met wonderful women who helped her grow, and learned to rely on Jesus. She started this blog with the hope that she could share her joy, experience, and willingness to grow with others, whether they battle infertility, toddlers, or teens.