Our children and therefore our lives change day by day, the seasons changing gradually around us as the leaves slowly turn, drop and new buds form. Up we look and there are suddenly big changes that we can see in our children, circumstances and family atmosphere. Each stage comes with different joys, dynamics and challenges to work through. Within the bigger seasons of having babies and toddlers, preschoolers and school age children and teenagers come shorter, shifting seasons.
These are more obvious with babies- as they change from the sweet squashy bundles to learning how to roll, crawl and become more mobile. As little ones move into preschool or nursery we know that life has shifted a bit and can try to anticipate the change- but sometimes even the changing months alter our motherhood even if our children aren’t experiencing such vast developmental developments.
Whether I’m anticipating the beginning of an academic year as I am now, or look up and realise that life has shifted somewhat from what it was a few months ago- there are a few things which I’ve learned from trial and error that are helpful to think through. If you have a journal you’ll find pages or all of these things in the ‘season refresh’ section when you start a new season simply because I realised how much I needed to get everything straight by doing some or all of these things:
- Check in with self and family – reflecting back and really looking at where we are right now is helpful as our seasons change. Stop to pause and think about how you feel – whether you are able to work, rest and play. Are you living our best lives (or making the most of our current stage?). Filling in the heart check page in the season refresh in the mama book always sets my head straight and gives me chance to think about it all and get down any thoughts which helps me work through them. I love to write down what our children are like right now- even in one, two, five months they change.
- Count the joys- I’ve said it before and I will say it again because it changes our perspective on life. When we live though a perspective of focusing on the good and being grateful we set our motherhood up for more joy. This is something I have to remind myself of daily- it can be so easy to shift back to complaining mentally and making everything about me- but taking time to savour the joys is so so worth it. Looking at all the joys from the last few months is so great and will propel you forward to enjoy the next stage too.
- Define this new season – how old are your children and what are the majority of your days filled with? how long is life going to look this way an
d what big things are coming up? I often look forwards in 3 month chunks or so- often tying to the seasons or Christmas since we are now in a school year and its helpful to actually set aside a chunk of time and focus on it.
- Break it down– think and work through those weekly rhythms. Whether they are weekly appointments, school, work or just habits like Friday film nights- if we store it all in our minds it can crowd out more important information!
- Reflect on what to focus on – setting focuses and goals is often the difference between floating through day by day and surviving- and feeling purposeful and focused. It doesn’t mean that our actions change necessarily – our people focus may just being more aware of a certain friend or phoning family- but motherhood can feel like a conveyor belt sometimes and having some direction is really useful. And if you are the kind of person who wants to do all of the things right now it also helps break that down and pace yourself achievable. I break this into areas like home, teaching, mama time (what I do just for fun) and such. There are more prompts on the focus page in the season refresh pages in The Mama Book to help you think through these. Obviously these might change and that’s great- know that and look for that.
- Put it into action– it’s easy to have a focus but no plan and therefore no momentum. Try to set a simple action plan for each task- like meal plan – and then put it in your planner or reminders as appropriate.
- Embrace the fun– even a short list of fun things to do together can give me inspiration on those tired days and remind me of what I am focusing on. You can download a bucket list printable here and make sure you don’t forget all those memories you want to make and experiences you want to share together.
- Live it. These are ‘the good old days’- for us and for our children. If you’re harbouring guilt or regret from yesterday, throw it off and embrace loving today. It matters less what you do and more how you do it- loving them and connecting with them in how you do life together will impact them more than exactly how each day was structured. Let’s enjoy these days.
Some stages and seasons of motherhood will be naturally easier for us and others require an extra level of intentionality- whether that’s because of a large change in our lives or because of where we are at personally. I know that taking a little time to reflect, plan and focus is always worth it and stops the days from rolling into one big blur so easily.
So whether you are entering a new school year or navigating days which seem a bit different and you need to refresh- allowing yourself a bit of time to think through these things can help to give your days as a mama intentionality and joy as you live out this season the best way you can with your little ones.