Friday, March 11, 2011

there's nothing more precious...

...than the sound of baby giggles, and seeing your kids love each other.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

if mama ain't happy...

You know that saying we joke about "if mama ain't happy, nobody's happy"? The one that Dan likes to use around here (mostly joking) is "Happy Wife, Happy Life". We joke about it and I kinda roll my eyes when I hear it, but I've realized that there's some truth to those statements, sadly!

I have noticed in my own home that my mood plays a HUGE roll in the moods of my kids and my husband. There was one week in particular where Jax & I seemed to clash. The first day I think it was a combination of him waking up on the wrong side of the bed, and me letting his disobedience get the best of me. The next day, I was still a little grouchy from the day before and Jaxon was having another bad day as well. Or so I thought. After I realized that I needed to get a grip and make the decision to change my attitude, I saw Jaxon's attitude change dramatically as well. I think the only reason he was being bad that second day is because I was being snappy and he was feeding off of that. It actually made me sad!

The scary thing is that moms/wives have a huge amount of influence on the mood of the whole household. Apparently, we set the tone. This article said it well:

"...The truth is that Mom does set the tone for the home, and we have tremendous influence over the moods, actions and lives of everyone who enters our door. And that influence is a fact we cannot change - no matter how much the pop culture tries. In fact, in national surveys of teens, when asked who has the greatest influence on them, the majority of teens say, "my parents". This, even though many kids are now consuming up to eight hours of media a day..."

"You have no choice about whether or not you are an influence - the choice is what type of influence you will be. Your actions and words will either shape your children for good or for bad. And your silence also speaks volumes: when you are too busy or too tired to take the time to talk to your children, the message that comes through loud and clear is that they are not important..."

(Never Underestimate the Power of a Mother - Rebecca Hagelin)

On that note...I have recently learned some ways to being a less easily annoyed, more patient, more fun, more creative, more intentional, and more loving mom. I am NOWHERE near being perfect at it, but I'm realizing what makes it a bit easier.

These are a few things that help me to be a happier mamma :)

1. Go to bed on time - I find this to be a hard one. My evenings are my "responsibility-free" time that I get to do whatever I want, and spend time with just Dan. I often procrastinate going to bed on time (10:00 is my goal). But I can tell you (and so can Dan, lol) that I NEED my sleep. Lack of sleep makes me irrational and moody.

2. Give myself enough time before going places that I don't have to be rushed . I'm a bad mom when I'm in a rush. There's no reason why my toddler should be scolded for observing a "neat" piece of gravel from the driveway on our way to the car.

3. Ditch my "to-do" lists. Having things on my to-do list that are un-done makes me crazy. I feel like I have to get them done ASAP and then I get grouchy when I feel like I don't have the time in my day to get them done. Then I also rush getting the routine things done with the kids and I hate that. Now, I'm not saying that I'm ditching to-do lists all together. Goodness, if I didn't have lists I wouldn't remember anything. I just have to stop being so busy with {good} but not priority stuff. Before Christmas I put way too much stuff on my plate, and my to-do list drove me crazy. Before I make something a priority I am trying to ask myself whether it's really that impotant or not.

4. Don't count on getting a nap. Or "me" time in the day. If I count on it, I will be frustrated if it doesn't happen. And again, I'll be rushing the routine things so that I will have time to fit it in.

5. Spend more time playing with my kids, even if I'm in the middle of something. I have to keep reminding myself that these days of Jaxon WANTING to play with his mommy are not going to last forever. These are the days where our relationship is being built. His brain is registering whether the things that matter to him matter to his mom. I think the way I respond to him now are going to impact how he responds to me when he's a teenager.

Most times when Jaxon wants me to "play guitar" with him, or sit down and play cars, or help me cook in the kitchen, my first thought is to tell him I can't because I'm busy doing something. But the times that I do actually drop what I'm doing and play with him I am SO glad that I did. It is rewarding to spend that quality time with my kids doing what they want to do.

6. Go out on regular dates with Dan (and dates by myself!). It makes me feel refreshed and have more mental energy to deal with the everyday things I have to do. We've started budgeting for a date night every-other week. And sometimes I'll just go out by myself for an hour after the kids are in bed. Do you remember how nice it is to go shopping by yourself!!?

7. Step outside the picture. When I step back and look at my life and realize how fast my kids are growing, I realize how good I have it right now and that these REALLY ARE some of the best days of my life. I do not want to be 60 and look back regretting that I didn't make more out of these years.

After realizing these things about myself, and trying to follow through with the solutions, I'm finding myself ENJOYING my children even more than ever. It really is too easy for the joy of motherhood to be stripped away.

I'd love to hear your ideas on how you set a positive tone in your house. What is God teaching you?

(I apologize for the scatterbrained-ness of this post...I'm feeling some real "mommy brain" in the communication department lately.)