I was stuck. I couldn’t remember ever being this stuck before. I was on the verge of depression, I could feel it. I was lacking purpose and productivity in my days at home with my kids, my husband was working a ton of hours, I felt alone, my drive to live well had disappeared, I was unhappy, yelling a lot, and not at all the mother I wanted to be. I didn’t even have the energy to get dressed during the day. I felt so far from God; it was physically painful how lost I was.
One night, my sweet husband, Brian, who had noticed I was low, brought home a bottle of wine and asked me what I felt I needed to pull out of this slump. I had no idea. I didn’t want to do anything. He prayed with me and God moved in him instead of me, probably because I had made myself nearly unreachable with my little pity party. He gave Brian the idea to come up with habits, six of them specifically (which is funny because I always thought God was fond of the number seven), that I would agree to stick to, and keep it that simple. Only six things, and not even every day. I agreed to force that out of myself if I had to, and asked what the six things would be. Through thought and a little more prayer, God brought us a list.
The The 6 Healthy Habits That Make Me A Better Mom:
1. Every day that Brian works (5 days a week), I will get on the treadmill for 30 minutes some time before 9am.
This habit took away my tendency to overreach and set unrealistic fitness and weight loss goals for myself. I needed to lose weight and have more energy, so this was the perfect start.
2. Clean up the house and prepare for the next day every night.
I just had a very bad habit of putting my kids to bed and collapsing on the couch in front of the TV, understandably. But it was causing me to start out my mornings with a mess that was always followed by discouragement and an unproductive day.
3. Spend time with God every day.
This is such a basic, and it was always making it on lists I made myself in hopes of changing in the past. But I would try to wake up before the kids to no avail- my light sleeper and super-early-riser would always either beat me to it (I’m talking 5am on some days, people) or hear me, no matter how quiet I was. This would always discourage me and keep me from forming a habit. So this time, I decided that I would wake up at my usual time before Brian leaves for work, make everyone breakfast and see him out the door, then sit down with my coffee and devotional, and read, with the kids right there in kitchen. I figured that even if I got interrupted and the house was loud, at least I am setting a habit and they are seeing me in the Word every single morning. That is an excellent thing for them to remember when they are grown. I also decided that I would take 30 minutes of their naptime to revisit the Word and have some talk time with the Lord. This is when I will get my fill of His voice, and have my spirit truly refreshed.
4. I will remove myself when I feel the urge to yell at my kids.
I have such a bad habit of yelling at my children! Let me clarify- I am a realist and I honestly don’t believe one can be the stay-at-home mother of three children under five and never raise her voice. There are many times throughout the day when it is totally necessary for me to raise my voice to a higher decibel and get my kids’ attention. They’re loud. I can’t be quiet all the time. The problem lies in me yelling at them. The difference is anger and unmet expectations that I shouldn’t have had in the first place.
5. Once a week, we will have a family fun night.
We had gotten into a place where actually enjoying our family and having a good time together wasn’t really happening. Isn’t that the whole point?! This really needed to change.
6. Once a week, Brian and I will have a weekly meeting, where we will discuss all things pertaining to our family and life together.
This one bothered me just a bit. It seemed too formal and maybe a little unrealistic. But the fact is that we are a team and we are raising three kids- we need to be united and staying on the same page with each other. The problem for us is his intense work schedule. It is exhausting and takes up the entire day when he works, so scheduling the basics has become mandatory for us to function well.
Let me honestly tell you that practicing these six habits has not been easy all the time. It has actually been quite a process, and a difficult one. But, since I know you’re wondering, practicing these things did pull me out of my slump. Exercising during the week provided me so much more energy and focus! Not going to sleep until I have the house picked up, dishwasher running, and workout clothes laid out for the next day has made me feel inspired, on top of things, and like superwoman. It’s really very simple, but so helpful and empowering!
My little morning devotionals are working out great, and having detailed quiet time during the kids’ naps when I can always refreshes my spirit. I am still working on the yelling thing, but having a rule about it has kept me in check. All I need to do is get out of the habit of going to yelling right away. Our family fun nights have had the biggest impact on our little clan. Our oldest, Bella, is especially benefiting from this new habit. God knew what He was doing when He gave us that one! Brian and I have been very good about sticking to our weekly meetings. This is the one I wasn’t sure would stick, but it ended up being my favorite. It doesn’t count as date night, and we don’t allow it to be on one of his nights off, so it’s very nice to sit down with him after a long work day for both of us, and talk about our children and whatever each of them is going through, finances, our relationship, and anything else we feel the need to get on the same page with and pray about. We have become a power team for Christ since we started having these meetings.
I shared my six healthy habits with you because I want you to know that I have been at embarrassing lows, and this practical advice given to my hubby by God really saved me from further heartache and depression. I know how life as a homemaker can drain you, and it’s okay. What’s not okay is allowing it to take over and keep you from your purpose.
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.