Challenges in Motherhood

Motherhood is full of challenges.  That is quite an obvious statement, but sometimes the thought still catches me by surprise.

We know for many mothers a majority household responsibilities default to mothers: meals, laundry, schedules, child-related tasks.  For many of us the nurturing side comes naturally, snuggles, nursing owies, making calls to doctors, chiropractors, etc.  Yet not everything comes naturally or easily to us.

Let’s break these challenges down into two categories: internal & external. By internal, I mean the emotional and or spiritual side of mothering, the way we manage ourselves in our parenting.  External is more about the tasks, responsibilities we face as mothers.

My Internal Challenges in Motherhood

Regulating My Emotions

I have found regulating my own emotions to be a big challenge in my mothering as I’ve battled depression.  For me, all the negativity that sits under the surface brews over easily with 3 year old behavior.

It breaks my heart that my oldest daughter seems to have the key to setting off anger in me.  Recognizing that this is about ME and not her has been extremely beneficial.  Taking this responsibility  on myself has helped the damage that my anger does to her heart, when I sin against her I am embarrassed, but not afraid to apologize to her.  I’m willing to discuss with her my shortcomings and attempt to make amends with her.

Help for My Emotions

I have also found a few things that are helpful to my journey of working through this anger, parenting better and regulating my emotions.  Positive Parenting Solutions is one of them.  A few years ago a blogger I follow co-hosted a free webinar with Amy McCready, we ended up using some savings to purchase the GOLD membership.  I strongly recommend this program, in fact I have suggested it to so many people over the years, that I recently became and affiliate. This is not a 100% endorsement of every teaching in her program, as we prefer different approaches to bedtime and toilet learning.  We do support her theory and methods in general.

Amy McCready

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Montessori method of education was simply a type of school when I first was introduced to it.  As we decided that homeschooling was the right path for our family, I still felt drawn to the method.  I had to immerse myself in self-study and have found that the approach also aligns with our beliefs and parenting goals.  I am in several Facebook groups on the topic and I love that there is often discussion of working through our own “stuff” and not putting that on the child.  The Absorbent Mind by Dr. Maria Montessori is a book I am reading to help me learn more.

Dr. Maria Montessori

Mothering towards Christ

This has been really hard for me, because I tend to focus so hard on all the external responsibilities of mothering and leading a household.  Keeping in mind that my job is to disciple my children does NOT come naturally to me.  I tend to focus on winning the battle of ___________ versus winning their little hearts towards Christ.

It is so much easier to make sure stuff gets done, than sit down and get eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart with my children about what’s really fueling disobedience, defiance, whining, etc.  While in my head and in my heart I acknowledge that this is much more important than ANYTHING, it is very easy for me to forget in the moment.

Resources for Spiritual Mothering

Our finances are tight, so as much as I’d love to buy and read all the books I can’t always do that.  Sally Clarkson really speaks to my heart and I can never quite decide which book to invest in first (it seems few of her books are in our library system).  The Mission of Motherhood is one book I really hope to get this year, but on the free end of things I listed to her podcast weekly.  I have loved the encouragement from Sally and Kristin particularly their summer series 1o Gifts of Heart.

Podcasts are kind of my theme here as I can listen while doing laundry or dishes, but I also really like The Homemaking Foundations Podcast.  Jami’s heart is in the right place and I relate easily to the tendency to focus on ‘external’ stuff, so I appreciate her honesty.  I will say that while her content is top-notch, you may need to force yourself through the lengthy introductions to the show and description of her podcast sponsors.

My External Challenges in Motherhood

Throwing Routines & Schedules out of the Window

Sticking to routines is really hard for me, which seems funny when you think about that fact that I tend to worry more about external stuff.  A few things fuel this struggle: my personality, mommy guilt and recalling that the heart stuff matters more.

My personality thrives on change & unpredictability, I can’t remember my Myers-Briggs type and I don’t know my Enneagram number.  I bet some of you can identify mine just by reading this.

The guilt of being a working mom, often separated from her kids feeds into this.  Sometimes I just throw caution to the wind and say “let’s bake cookies!” even though it’s 7:45 p.m. Now, while I hope these memories warm my children’s hearts for years to come, it can mean very late bedtimes and tough mornings.

When I have been gone for work and feel disconnected, I’m very likely to throw daily responsibilities and schedules aside to do something fun together.

I’ve really found McKenzie Monroe’s Lovely Home School Course helpful in getting things going and setting up strong routines and plans for our days.  There will always be times when I say “forget it! let’s go to the zoo”  but at least I have a structure to fall back to.

Dishes or Laundry

I cannot do it all in a day. It seems either dishes or laundry pile up, every day.  Although both tasks are “A” priorities in my planner, one of them always falls to the wayside.  Podcasts do help here, but usually I am choosing between one or the other.  A funny little sidenote: I often have a conflict in my heart over using so much water, so I can’t bring myself to do both at the same time.

Family Budget

This has become surprisingly difficult to me as my children grow and we have started homeschooling.  It used to be *so* easy for me to say no to extracurriculars, but now it’s harder.

Being frugal is important to me, I want to manage my finances well for the Lord and for our future.  However, as they grow I’m finding certain things harder to say no to such as zoo and museum memberships, swimming lessons and school supplies (we Montessori so some of our supplies are more expensive than notebooks and pencils!).

We are graduates of Financial Peace University, we are debt free and still quite frugal.  However, it might be time to check out Financial Peace Revisited because sadly, someone stole all of our materials from church.  I do think our library has them too. I think my husband and I need to sit down again and re-assess our current values.  Since we are debt-free and have young kids we are different people than we were 6 years ago.

And you?

What are some of the internal and external challenges you face as a mother?  Please share some resources that help you!

One final word: There is literally no resource as valuable to me as God’s word and time spent with him.  All of the resources I have listed above are wonderful.  The Holy Spirit working in me is the best resource!

 

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