By Annette T. Durfee, Momivate's Cultivate Leader
Have you ever noticed the oddities of life?
...like how the birthday cake you’re making never looks like the one in the picture?
Never mind comparing it to the picture – which is actually a cake made of four layers, so that means you actually have to use TWO cake mixes... but the picture won’t tell you that.
Pay no attention to the fact that the sad crack in your attempt at the cake will NOT stay “glued” together, no matter how much frosting you use to cement it together.
And don’t even notice the huge crumbs that are adhering to the once-white frosting (maybe some sprinkles will hide them!!). Perhaps, you conclude, the sides look better unfrosted anyway!
OR - Does it ever seem that the most meaningful conversation you get to have with your spouse is:
-- at the end of the day,
-- at the bathroom sink
-- while you are foaming at the mouth with an electric toothbrush wildly sputtering, unable in the least to utter a sensible word?
So, you play the game of charades or better yet – an impromptu sign language which you try to decipher without splattering toothpaste blobs on the mirror as you laugh through the hilarity of it all?
OR - Do you find yourself seething at the injustice of finding that there are always at least 3 diapers left in the package that absolutely WILL NOT fit your baby before they transfer to the next size up?
AND - Have you tried to mathematically explain why, with so few people in the family, every single cup in the house gets dirtied – including the measuring cups?
I’m probably not the only one who has had more than her share of Pinterest fails and foibles. But if my Better Crocker skills don’t take the cake at least my attitude will. If you’re like me, and even one of these scenarios rings true for you, this might be a good time to take a look at a happy principle that can help every mother and homemaker: realistic expectations. Yes, with a little reality check, you can take anything that comes with ease.
Did you know that some things are supposed to be imperfect?
Mismatched socks... scuffs on your best running shoes... sticky fingerprints on the fridge door handle... Almost imperceptibly, flabby bellies, burnt toast, and layers of dust just happen. Life happens!
There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with your family. It is what it is.
And it’s not only OK for it to be this way, it is supposed to be that way!
Take the coffee table for example – an innocent enough piece of furniture wouldn’t you say? But in a house full of children, is it really going to stay a focal piece impressively set with elegant table top décor? Of course not! You and I both know that even the best homes aren’t picture perfect.
We can expect that homes with children have their fair share of crumbs, smelly socks, broken figurines, lost items, scattered toys, ripped pages in books, smears on the sliding glass door, and on and on. It helps when I know that some things will inevitably happen, because it allows me a great deal of sanity for when the unexpected happens and things don’t work out perfectly.
In fact, if you can look at it with a smile in your heart, you might just find it so ludicrous that it provides a moment of laughter that you look back on with fondness.
While mothering my Littles, I frequently found peace of mind through a quote often attributed to Marjorie Pay Hinckley to help me remember that my priorities were just where they should be:
I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here, and that I really lived.
Expecting reality doesn’t mean admitting defeat!
I can expect, for example, that my children will make endless messes (and I will too), but that doesn’t stop us from cleaning it up at the appropriate time.
My communication with my spouse may be spotty at times, but that doesn’t mean we neglect our relationship. We regularly and consistently schedule time to be with one another to just TALK (most times without a dental implement in hand).
We are gloriously imperfect in each and every way, but we set goals, and give assignments. And we put our plan into action with a little elbow grease. We do it, remembering the WHY of it all – not to satisfy some plausible guest who never seems to stop by, nor even to catch up to the Jones family (although we admit that they ARE a nice bunch!) - but because we like it that way. In fact, we even enjoy it!
I am enough.
I can be happy without being Pinterest Perfect. While the Internet world of “reality” sometimes creates a facade of perfectly clean homes, the Gerber baby who never cries, and homes decorated to a “T,” I can be happy with what we have and who we are becoming. I may also (heaven forbid) go without some of the niceties of the luxury homes in order to allow myself to spend more time concentrating my efforts more closely on building a strong home and family. We can also give ourselves credit for being creative, even if it means that we make a mess for a while. We are, after all, learning, growing, and developing together. In fact, we are a living, breathing work of art! I suppose the casual passerby may judge me and my efforts (or seemingly lack of them), but that judge won’t be me. I will give myself grace allowing me and my family space to be real humans. We ARE indeed “good enough.” We can have strength and self - confidence to do and be and achieve in real albeit imperfect ways.
By Momivate's "Energy" CouncilMom, Ericka Moore
I can be changed by what happens to me.
To say that we have experienced change these past few years is an understatement. Covid has impacted every marker of stability we have relied upon. Some of us have handled this change better than others and have become sources of inspiration to those who need it. Families have struggled to continue normalcy and children sensed this interruption. As mothers, we are sensitive to the needs of our children and this global impact brought out the need to protect and screen our children from its harsh realities. At times, shielding our children is necessary, but sometimes, during moments of change, it is good to teach.
Change is certain to occur and the way we respond can be the difference between learning a tough but difficult lesson or sowing seeds of anger and bitterness. I believe it is the key to navigating and overcoming any mountain. Oxford Dictionary defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Toughness.” It takes fortitude to continue a journey when met with obstacles. In order for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, it must struggle against the cocoon shell, then push its fluids down its wings so that the wings are strengthened to fly. That is the perfect picture of growth through resilience!
Listed below are five principles to improve resilience during moments of change. I am not a life coach, but I offer these principles as possible suggestions:
1) Understand you cannot control everything.
Control means safety and the lack of it can mean chaos. However, it is impossible to dictate and manage every detail of every situation in your life and the lives of those you love. It is okay to let go and prioritize the situations that need management. All situations do not need your influence.
2) Recognize that yours is not the only path.
Your knowledge and experiences impact the path you take in decision making. However, it may not be the correct path for another. Your way is not the only way. Do not be afraid to see another point of view.
3) Seek wisdom. (Accept that you may not know the answers.)
We like to think we know it all but we do not. There is no harm in seeking wise counsel. Speaking to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor is smart. It may save you time, money, and heartache.
4) Remember, this is only temporary.
Change is awkward and does not always happen on a schedule. It does not stay awkward forever. Eventually, change becomes routine, and routines bond families and help children feel safe.
5) Take care of your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical body.
It is vital to address mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical arenas in your life. Getting plenty of sleep, eating well, addressing stress, and nurturing your relationship with God is important. You are no good to anyone else if you are not being good to yourself. Remember to facilitate this for your children, also.
Growth and maturity are what keep us from becoming stagnant, and every experience teaches us more about the world and ourselves. Though some changes are forced on us, we can become stronger through them and see them as a chrysalis, enabling us to find new wings.
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