“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Mother’s day is over and many of us likely did everything to make own moms feel special last Sunday. After all, they deserve it, being sacrifical and full of love.
But what do mothers need, really? A Pandora, perhaps? What about a staycation plus buffet vouchers? Flowers? Spa GC’s? An album of memories?
Now all those are amazing ideas. You may even have had better ones. But these will be nothing if we don’t get to the heart of it. At least we could do better by knowing, why do our or we moms need these things? Well simply because moms also need their love tanks filled. Because moms are like love accounts, where everyone in the home withdraws care and wisdom and guidance from, all of which are a form of love, whenever there is a need. Is it not that it takes love to design a home? It takes love to manage it. It takes love to think for the people who live with her in it. Like what the verse above says, everything we do in life flows from the heart. And if we don’t get to regularly ensure quality deposits are made into this account, then it will naturally go bankrupt.
WHAT GOES IN, ALSO GOES OUT: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander,” (Matthew 15:19); “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45); What do we put in there as mothers?
Which is why this series is called ordering the heart. That is, to put order in a mother’s heart and to order it to be in the right place. Because when everything else is spick and span on the outside — house is clean, husband is satisfied, kids are secure in their routines and breaks in a day, it may not necessarily mean that it is also the same on the inside. That is, many moms who seem so successful and accomplished at the daily mom life, may actually be chaotic and depleted on the inside. I don’t think anybody wants this. And really, maybe by a simple tweak in our lifestyle, we can actually overcome the hurdle of running on empty.
So for the next few days I will be sharing the 4 R’s to being a Whole Mom. It is a module I share at our Whole Mom workshops, now made available for all to work on with me through my blog.
A Mom Is?
Before I begin discussing the first R, maybe we can do a simple exercise. Why don’t you draw a big heart on a blank piece of paper (any paper will do!), and in it write all the things that describe you as a mother. You may use this question to prompt you, “A Mom is?” (Scroll up to go back to featured image and see it as an example!)
Now did you also list, more or less, the same things? I would think so. Being a mother can be pretty universal. We have different homes, husbands and kids, but almost the same goals and roles. We really are managers and masters of logistics, right? Also, financial managers and travel planners. Many times, even event stylists, coordinators, and the list goes on!
Now put keep that piece of paper away first, and we will go back to it on the fourth day. For now, let’s begin discussing the first R to being a Whole Mom, with the hopes that by the time that we get to the fourth R, you would already changed or added better things to your heart’s list!
This is Farah. She is one of my female hiking buddies. She is remarkably fast and swift on mountain ridges. When we went up Mount Kinabalu in 2013, she made it to the first stop in three hours, whereas I came five hours after her. But this is not the most shocking thing you’ll learn about her. Considering that she climbs terrains as though she has no knees and legs, and it seems she flies more than she walks, Farah is already well into her 50’s and has four children. Yes, Farah is not my age and has far more to care for in her stead than me.
I am sure that she has lots of concerns, too. Normal day to day ones like bills, transportation, safety, health, but when we are up on the mountains I see none of that. I don’t even see a mom, but I see Farah. Not to say that she becomes a single woman and forgets about her duties as a parent when she is up there, but more like I remember she is first Farah, a woman who has her own interests, joys, and person, which richly informs her role as a mother.
If you’re a mom and reading this today let me ask, who were you before you got married and/or had kids? What were the best parts about you? And have you forgotten them or buried them under your duties?
When I gave birth to Philip, I was stumped with the surmounting duties of a mom. I also felt like all I knew was not enough to do my best for the fragile human in my hands. As a result, I kept reading and reading about the best way to make him sleep, best way to make him eat, and hid my nose under a pile of books about babies, babies, and babies.
It is a good thing I realized soon enough that I was making my way to a burnout. So I stopped myself, put down my parenting book, and picked up a novel. For a brief second I was reminded that before Philip came along, I was Carla, a lover of poesy and literature. And I as I read a book that wasn’t related to parenting at all, I felt slowly rejuvenated, and recreated.
Moms, recreation is powerful. Even Dr. Winnicott, who first used the term ‘good enough parenting’, believed that “having a creative hobby is to adults what play is to children. A hobby provides a creative outlet and can help you formulate your feelings” (Lisl Fair, author of Good Enough Parenting).
As adults, we also need our “play time.” Not only because it refreshes us, but it helps us put our own feelings in order. That while there is fulfillment in meeting the demands of parenthood, there is also satisfaction in meeting the needs of the child inside of all of us. And I am a firm believer that we need this child-like play in our lives every once in a while because God does not want us to forget that even a parent is first a child, too!
- Pick another mommy friend you can do this manual with for the next few days, so you can discuss these points together!
- What is your form of recreation? Maybe you can talk about your hobby before becoming a wife and/or a parent, which you may have forgotten through the years of family routine. Do you want to resurrect it or pick up a new one? If you want to pick up a new one, suggest a class or workshop you can one day take together! (Calligraphy? Macramé making? Biking? Jogging? Reading time?)
Moms, it does not have to be one you do for long long hours. It can be something as simple as a 30-minute-walk, or crochet which you can start and leave and pick up again during your limited free minutes in the day, but just do something you love! And preferably, something not related to babies, children and mommy-hood! 🙂 Go, Mommies!