Friday, September 20, 2013

Embracing Challenges as a Mom: Can You Prepare for It?

Last Friday, I had the wonderful opportunity to share with the moms at Shoreline MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) in Austin, TX.  Such a sweet group of gals!

My talk was about "Embracing Challenges", and while my talk was about 20 minutes or so, I thought I would share a portion of it here for you, as we all have to embrace challenges of different kids and different sizes, in all times of our mothering.

Because we are all going to face challenges, I gave some suggestions as to how we can take a look at what we are doing right now in order to make changes so that it is easier to embrace the challenges as they come:

Check your schedule for busyness.  Do you have a “full life” or are you just too busy?  Author Sue Augustine writes in her book, 5 Minute Retreats for Moms:  “When you say you are too busy, it implies that something or someone outside of yourself is influencing how you spend your time.”  So ask yourself – do I really need to do this? And why am I doing this?  As a mom of a preschooler, you already have enough on your plate just being the mom.  "A full schedule of parenting is definitely a challenge, but 'too busy' is completely draining." 

Challenge is different than busy.  Challenge is actually manageable, and that can be healthy.  Sue Augustine says: “Days that are filled, but with a balance of activity, rest and play are days filled with joy and meaning.  Temporary busyness – a deadline, a trip to the ER, is just that.  Temporary.”   

Busyness is purposeful over-scheduling.  Don’t feel pressured to accomplish so much in this season of your parenting.  You will only become depressed, irritable and even more tired than you are now.  You must keep the emotional, physical and spiritual as balanced as possible to ward off burn out and exhaustion. 

Renowned parenting expert Dr. James Dobson says in his book, Parenting Isn’t for Cowards:  “… use your physical resources carefully and wisely in the years ahead.  Raising children is not unlike a long-distance race in which the contestants must learn to pace themselves.  If you blast out of the blocks as though you were running a sprint, you will inevitably tire out.  You’ll gasp and stumble as the road winds endlessly before you --- a balanced life makes that possible! 

Rethink your family schedule to see if you have a challenging schedule, or a busy one.  Does your three year old really need to start soccer now?   Is it necessary to sign up one of your children for a tumbling class every week?  Should you be in charge of the Thanksgiving dinner this year for your entire family?

You can say NO.   As a mother of a preschooler, you are in the time of your life.  Really.  This time is so important, so challenging and yet so joyful and rewarding.  Can I make a suggestion?  Don’t take on so much and become so busy that you cannot enjoy your kids. Too busy with outside things will make them seem a burden instead of a blessing.  I can testify - the time will soon come in your life when you will be something more than a preschool mom.  You can be a room mom for your oldest child at school,  volunteer for the PTO or organize a charity drive.  Use your time now to concentrate on your family as a whole . . . . and take care of yourself.

Also be sure to take regular time with God and his word.  The one thing we will always want to do is go forward without asking God how we are to tackle the problem.  Psalms 37:7 reminds us:  “Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for him to act.”   He is waiting for you to come to Him with the challenges that you are facing!  Isaiah 58:11 encourages us by saying that “He will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry, and restoring your strength!”  He is already making provisions for you for the challenges ahead!


Throughout the Bible are words of encouragement and accounts of others who went through difficult challenges!  Read the stories of Ruth, Esther and Mary, the mother of Jesus.  They are just a few of the women who had difficult challenges to overcome and how they were victorious!


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