Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mothering With a Heart of Peace

We all want to be the best mothers possible.  We worry about how our words and actions affect the small, developing minds and bodies of our children.  Our children are much more in tune with our emotions (no matter how much we try to hide them) than we give them credit for.  They might not understand the circumstances but a child can tell when mom is upset. 

I wanted to write today about mothering with a heart of peace. 

I'm sure we've all had experience with days where we were mothering with anything BUT a heart of peace.  Worries, anger, unkind thoughts and feelings, anxiety and guilt can all take up valuable space in our minds and even decrease the number of productive minutes in our day. 

I remember when Rob was looking for a job at the end of dental school.  The anxiety of the job search had me on the computer all the time, looking for jobs, researching cities and towns, looking at homes and so forth.  I don't remember many specifics about that time except for THE SEARCH, but I'm sure my mothering suffered.  How could it not?  I was no longer living in the present, and that is what a peaceful heart allows you to do.

We are at our best as mothers when we try to be fully alive in the present with an eye of hope towards the future.  Many things can try to destroy our peace; family struggles, the news, co-dependency, past hurts or offenses, and especially worries that we our not doing a good enough job as mothers.

Family Struggles/Changes - Sometimes these can be financial, job-related, or marital.  It can be hard to try and maintain a peaceful heart during these times.  How do you banish these constant worries and thoughts from your mind?  As much as possible try and talk about these issues with your spouse in private.  During the day, instead of stewing with worry and calling every five minutes to discuss a new idea or worry, write your thoughts down and try to leave that worry on the paper until you can discuss it further.  Focus on what you CAN do to help alleviate a situation instead of feeling helpless about all the things that are out of your control. 

Take some deep breaths, and pray, pray, pray.  Then start making a list of all of your blessings and pray again in gratitude.

The news - It is a rare occasion when there is good news on.  Bad news sells, and it can make one start to feel like the whole world is falling apart.  It makes us forget how much good there is in the world.  Sometimes I just have to turn the news off.  I don't want to parent with anger in my heart because of some politician.  If I think about it too much, I find myself weighed down to despair over how much pain and heartache is in the world. 

If you struggle with these issues, I once again echo some of the same advice.  Focus on what you CAN do, and then leave your unpeaceful feelings with that.  Can you send money to a relief organization?  Maybe you can organize a donation drive.  Write a letter to said politician.  Or if you can do none of these things to help the situation, simply hug your family close and thank the Lord for the time you get to spend with them. 

Maybe you can contain your news reading/watching time to after the kids are in bed so as to keep a peaceful heart during the day.

Codependency - Codependency is depending on other people's opinions of you to determine your own sense of self worth and acting for the approval of others.  It never brings peace, no matter how good of a show you put on.  You have to decide what is best for you and your family.  It may not be what other people do, and that is ok.  We are all different, with different beliefs and priorities.  Stop comparing yourself to what some anonymous poster says on the internet or what some thoughtless person has said about you.  You know your situation.  A few years ago I wrote a statement down to help me get centered when I realized that I was letting other people's thoughts weigh too heavily on my mind. 

It went something to the effect of "I know what I am doing is good.  I will not let the thoughts and opinions of people who do not even know me to affect my feelings about myself or my mothering.  I know why I made the decisions I did, and can not live my life for others."  Do you need to write down your own centering statement? 

Past hurts and offenses - It is hard to truly be in the present when you are harboring anger or guilt over the past.  Some things can be very hurtful, and somethings may require counseling.  But one of the best things you can do is work to rid these feelings from your heart.  Maybe you need to call someone and apologize.  Maybe you need to forgive someone who will never apologize.  I promise that the Lord can help you forgive if you pray sincerely.  We may need to forgive someone over and over, but the struggle to forgive feels far better than the gnawing in your heart of anger.  Just think of the burden that will be released.

Mommy Guilt - As mothers, we are often too hard on ourselves.  Sometimes though, we feel bad because we know we could do better.  If you are feeling bad about your mothering get off the blogs, get off facebook and pinterest, and spend some good face time with the real, flesh and blood people in your life.  If there is something specific in your mothering, read some books on that subject.  Wise use of time and a sincere effort to always learn and improve will leave us with a feeling of peace about our motherhood.

Sometimes just having children in our house makes us feel like our home is anything but peaceful.  However, your heart still can be.  For the little things that come up every day, turn on some peaceful music, go on a walk, take some deep breaths, smile, pray and be grateful.  Carve out some peaceful time for yourself everyday, perhaps in the morning before everyone else is awake.  You can use this time to pray, read, meditate, plan out your day, watch the sunrise, or dream about the future. 

I hope we will all do what it takes to mother with a heart of peace.

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