Breakfast… snack… lunch… snack… dinner… bedtime routine… crash.
The beautiful, important, life of a mother.
Motherhood of younger children is a short but hugely important season. It is one where we have to sacrifice many of our own wants and desires for the needs of our family. This is good and right and necessary.
However, we mothers are in danger of one thing in this season: losing sight of the important, but not urgent things of life. In our efforts to survive our tiring days, we can find ourselves lost in a sea of tasks, projects, and “yes” commitments we didn’t really want to do.
Instead of drifting from one playdate to another, there is something it’s so important each mother does for the benefit of our own future and that of her family.
What each mom needs for her family’s future
I recently read an amazing book called Living Forward, and highly recommend it!
Moms need a plan
The book Living Forward suggests each person create a life plan. More simply, what you want to do with your life. You create this plan so you know where you want yourself and your family to end up.
This can involve your finances, your service in the church or community, your health and fitness, friendships, career, or anything else you value. Without a plan of where you want yourself and your family to arrive, you are unlikely to get where you want to be.
You’ll spend all your time focused on the “urgent” and rarely get to the “important.”
A plan that states her priorities
The way the book suggests you create your plan is to figure out what your priorities are. What do you want your faith to look like in 5 years?
Do you want to have read through the Bible once every year or do you want your family to start serving local outreach organizations?
For your health, do you want to lose the final 15 pounds of baby weight from 5 years ago and feel energized and healthy? Do you want to create a habit of exercise?
Do you want to start eating less processed foods and take vitamins and supplements regularly as needed? What is it you want your future to look like in these areas.
A plan that has present goals
The life plan (the book has its own templates you can fill in for ease) is created to help you make good decisions now to benefit the future you’d like to give your family. Because of that, you create present goals in your key priority areas to help you reach it.
The goals can be very small, manageable, and attainable. Nothing earth shattering. Tiny consistent steps get your to your goals and are easier to maintain.
For example, some of my present goals were to read the Bible each morning, exercise regularly at least 4 times a week, spend more individual time with the kids, and plan at least one family vacation for the year.
Nothing flashy, but these will help me get to where I’d like to be in the future.
A plan that has future goals
Living Forward suggests you write your life plan in an interesting way. They want you to write about how you want your future to be in the present. So, for example, for Health.
You’d say, “I am healthy and exercise regularly. I am not self-conscious of my weight and have the energy to play with the kids and live an active lifestyle.” This helps you envision what life could be like in the future and work towards it.
Mothers are so focused on the day to day minute to minute operation of the home and parenting we often forego our larger goals for the “now.”
At some point, if we want to steer our own life’s direction and not be steered by the whim of the moment, that has to stop.
A plan she keeps and refers to
I printed my life plan to keep in my household binder. The goal is to refer to it when we are feeling fuzzy, out of control, and have a lot of decisions to make. In fact, the reason we create it is to help us make decisions.
Got a job offer in another city for a big increase in pay but more working hours? Refer to the life plan. Is this a career goal? Is family time more important than a pay increase? Was paying off debt one of your top priorities?
A plan that keeps her from drifting
If you are like me (and I hope you aren’t for your own sake) then new shiny adventurous things are very novel. Not physical things, but opportunities.
If you find it hard to say “no” to people or opportunities, Living Forward will really help clarify things. When in doubt, refer to your life plan and priorities. It’s so much easier to give a “yes” or a “no” to others when we are clear on our own desires.
A plan that allows for “life” to happen
Now, before you say that there needs to be some flexibility, I want to say yes! I agree. The life plan is not a “5-year plan” as such. It is more a guiding document you can use to help you align your life with your true priorities.
You may be tempted to spend every evening on Netflix (hello!), but in 5 years you won’t be happy you did that. You won’t be glad you avoided the harder things.
If you are already overwhelmed…
You might be interested in creating a life plan, but feel overwhelmed and weary from life right now. Before you start thinking and dreaming about the future, you fear, you need to get the present under control.
I’ve created an Overcoming Overwhelm Guide for this exact reason. I hope you find blessing, direction, and focus in these next few months, mama.