What does Mom-Success *actually* look like?
Updated: Aug 1, 2022
I need your help.
Do you have a definition for success in your motherhood?
Do we even have an answer for this question?
Think about it.
Successful motherhood is....
Maybe any meal at all?
Is it clean clothes?
Maybe folded laundry that *actually* gets put away?
A day with no yelling?
Lots of fun activities?
Or no fun activities so your kids are forced to be creative?
Clothed kids? Clean kids? - Dirty kids! (They’re having fun!)
Or maybe: No one died today and the house didn’t burn down. SUCCESS!!
What would success **actually** looks like for you?
Can you define success in YOUR motherhood?
I’ve been struggling with this definition for several months.
If I don’t know where I’m going, how on earth am I supposed to get there?
Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else”
I'm not actually a baseball person, and I don't think Berra was talking about mom life, but isn’t that a dreadfully accurate definition of motherhood?! - "If you don't know where you're going, you might wind up someplace else"
How often do we forget to plan where we will end up; and then just end up ‘someplace’. Can you imagine giving someone those directions?! “Just go wander around and see what happens. Bonus points if you stay fed and clothed." Sounds pretty true to mom-life some days.
Sometimes planning doesn’t feel important.
If you don’t plan what’s for dinner tonight, there’s always cereal or eggs or leftovers…but what about bigger decisions? What about life? Do we know where we are actually GOING?
Great intentionality is highly praised in planning other things in our lives - careers, weddings, college, etc. Great praise is given for accomplishing goals at work, school, etc...
But why not motherhood?
I recently talked to a bride-to-be who has been planning her wedding for a year. In a matter of 180 seconds, she was able to show me a mood board on her phone of her exact vision for her wedding. She has defined what "success" (dresses, flowers, romantic vibe) looks like and she’s been walking out that plan for a year.
What if we could do this with mom-life? What if you could whip out your phone and show me your mom-vision board and how you were going to get there?
Far too often, our mommy mood boards look like scrolling Instagram or Facebook and then just feeling overwhelmed that we’re not Joanna Gaines. The mom FOMO has mutated into FOMU (Fear of measuring up) - and we all feel it! Why does it matter so much what that other mom over there is doing?
If our mom-success isn't clearly defined, there will ALWAYS be someone who is doing something better (or different) and we will feel like we don’t measure up.
Don't believe me? I talked to a mom this week who regularly makes fresh, whole wheat bread for her family with freshly ground wheat berries. (Can I get a wowwwwza!)... Amazingly enough, she feels inadequate in this task because she sees the “next level” of health consciousness on Instagram and it makes her feel like she should be doing the next thing, even though what she’s doing is amazing! FOMU: Fear of measuring up. It’s a thing.
When we have daily access to thousands of mom-comparisons, we’re going to feel a pull to do them. No question. Because of that, we NEED to define what success looks like.
I asked a group of homeschool moms this week if there was one thing that could make their mom/school life easier for them to succeed and all of them, without exception, said mom life would be easier if they weren’t so busy.
When we’re running at a hundred miles an hour, why are we surprised that our kids are dragging behind? Or maybe you’re pushing your kids around to 10 activities at a hundred miles an hour. That sure feels fun...(said no mom ever).
I was knocked in the gut by a quote from a podcast this week: “love is incompatible with hurry.”
I’ve tried to wiggle out of that quote all week but it now lives on my fridge as a reminder that I can’t do both. I have to pick one or the other. I’m either rushing around my kids, or I’m loving them. (Yes… it feels yucky in my stomach to read that too.)
So what on earth is success then?!
Being slow? That sounds impossible (said every mom always)
Here’s where I’m starting…
Nothing has impacted my mom-life more than a series of 3 Christian parenting messages by Mike Fabarez. (If you listen, it takes him a bit to get going but it will melt your face off if you’re looking for a purposeful mom-life.) In these messages, Fabarez unpacks a question in Matthew that is the “mic-drop” to all mom questions. The question?
“What does it profit a man [woman/child] to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
In the parenting context, what does profit our kids to have the
activities, or the grades, or the achievements, or the job, or the college, or the friends, or the 4H, or the party, or the popularity, or anything else yet forfeit their soul?
Are ANY of those things bad? Absolutely not. However, at the end of my life, if my kid is a popular, straight A, basketball star but hasn’t a clue about where their soul is going, I have failed.
“Ok Blog lady…you’re officially crazy.” “Success is a GOOD thing and I want what’s best for my kid!”
YES - we all do!!
That’s why I’m asking how we define success in mom-life!!
The question is: what's the MOST important? Is academic success the MOST important? How about money? What gets to be at the top of the "most important" list for your kid?
If I know anything, I know that whatever we view as "MOST" important, will automatically make something else LESS important. Let's be exceedingly careful with what we're inadvertently making "less" important.
I’d like to say I have an easy 3 step “success” list that I’m working through right now but I’m not there yet. I’m working on it…. and I'm wondering if you would you like to go with me.
It is wildly obvious to me that FAR too many moms do life alone. We have this weird complex where we think that no-one is in the same boat as us; but we’re actually all in *very* similar boats in the same lake doing much the same thing.
I think we stand a better chance if we first realize we aren’t alone and then encourage each other from our boats.
To that end, I made a little brain-storming sheet because if we never take time to THINK about these things, they WILL get pushed aside.
On this sheet, I have 6 questions for you to chew on.
If we answer these 6, I think we will be 6 steps closer to defining mom-life success!
As we do this, I want to cheer for you!!!!
So let me just say: from my boat to yours - you can DO this!
We can fight for what matters and we can be successful moms…. We’ve just got to define it first ;)
If you're interested, here are the links to the parenting series **Hot tip** - Click on the gear icon at the bottom of the movie and click "Playback speed" to at least 1.25! - You're welcome ;)
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