When you stop to think about it, motherhood is a lot of things- beautiful and overwhelming, crazy and wonderful. But how often are we taking time to reflect whilst we are in the middle of normal, everyday motherhood? The obvious times that prompt us to consider our roles are occasions like Mother’s Day and perhaps birthdays, when we can crave affirmation and recognition for our work. Perhaps on a child’s birthday, reflecting on their start in life and maybe your own first days of motherhood often leaves us nostalgic and grateful for how much they have grown and changed in the time that has passed. We have these momentous pauses which society reminds us of, helping us in the midst of those celebrations and expectations to see how life has changed and how another year has passed. However, in the everyday trenches of motherhood and life, do we take much time to think about what motherhood means to us right in that moment? In the day filled with uneventful tasks, in the challenges, in the dance parties and the giggles?
In the passing of everyday life, as spring blends into summer, passing into another golden autumn- I know that time goes really fast and I want to be able to take time to stop and reflect on this life, this wonderful responsibility of being mama. Life never seems to pause, gathering momentum the older they get, but beyond the to-do list and the appointments, I want to be able to plan our days around the things that matter the most to us as a family. Days seem to go by slowly at times, but then I blink and another week has passed, a month seems shorter than ever and the year just keeps going and going.
How do we take time to reflect on motherhood?
For me reflecting on motherhood used to happen when I happened to be looking through old photos, sometimes on those special occasions or when I was feeling frustrated about something (my reflections normally being that motherhood is hard in that circumstance!). Now I’ve built up habits of reflecting on the day (usually with my mama book just before I go to bed) but also taking time to step back further and reflect every month and in each new season.
Taking this time means we can remember the things that really matter to our families, to count the joys and build those connections with our little ones. We can reflect on challenges from the week, month, or whatever stage we are in, and have some peace of mind to think through them. Being able to stop and process our everyday lives means that we can make better judgments about how we use our time as a family in the future, and make plans that allow us to have joyful, intentional lives with our children.
How do we plan in the right things- the things that really matter?
Look at the big picture
Remembering the big picture is so essential in allowing us to make decisions that reflect our real priorities. Life has a habit of jumping out with lots of things that could, should, or need to be done. There are appointments to meet, people to feed, washing to put in and phone calls to make. When it comes to planning our seasons, months or weeks- remembering the big priorities in our lives helps us to distinguish between things which are urgent, important or in reality not either.
So before we get out our diaries, calendars or planners- we need to remind ourselves of our priorities and our purpose. (You can download a free priorities list and mama mission worksheet here in the resource library, or flip back through your mama book big picture pages.) Remembering our overall goals and purpose allows us to make smaller decisions that build on them instead of working away from them.
Readjust every so often
As a mama I find that our everyday life shifts every few months and so I have to keep refreshing my expectations of what our days will look like. These little ones are changing fast and we often have to adapt and grow as fast as they do. Take time weekly, monthly, just to think about whether your everyday actions are still working with your priorities as a family or whether you need to readjust. It is fine to change the plan, to be flexible and to shift things around a bit.
How do we make sure we take time to plan ahead?
Quite simply- do it. We need to be disciplined in order to build up the habit, so just pick a time and stick with it. I have struggled with this- I often forget entirely and launch into a new week or season without taking time to think ahead and prepare myself. Sunday nights, new months and new school terms can be good reminders to take stock and have a look at whether we are spending time in the ways that really matter. Find some slot in your week to look forward, some slot in your month to reflect- find a way that works. It can be trial and error, but that is fine as long as we keep trying. If you need to plan in planning time- do that. If you need to put off the washing up one night – do that. It will take time, but only a little, and the benefits of reflecting and then applying that reflection to our coming days are great.