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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Harris

Part 2: When You Feel Stuck as a Mama, Get a Game Plan!

In Part 1, I described my "mama breakdown moment" that occurred this past summer. This moment signified that I needed to re-assess what was working and what was not and live accordingly. Here is the game plan I put together that led to a much more fulfilled mama (and family!)

1. I CHANGED MY NARRATIVE: I decided right then and there to focus on changing my narrative. The stories we write in our head, the words that we use and the things we give the most attention to reinforce how we are thinking and feeling. I decided to shift my focus and language towards forward momentum, instead of focusing on my stuck-ness. For instance, instead of telling myself I was overwhelmed, I started telling myself that I was making positive change.

2. I MADE GRATITUDE A HABIT: I made the decision to focus on gratitude each day. Instead of focusing on the bigger picture (I’m thankful for my life, my friends, my family) I focused on the little things (I’m thankful for the uplifting text from my friend, I’m thankful my husband made me a warm cup of coffee, etc). Focusing on the details infused my days with more joy. Speaking of joy…

3. I DECIDED TO ENJOY MY KIDS: It is so easy to get lost in the repetitious rhythms of motherhood. Children are perceptive and they are highly sensitive to their environment. I made the choice to hustle for my joy instead of focusing on my never-ending to-do list. My kids can tell if I am enjoying them or enduring them. Of course, we all have hard moments. But I want my kids to know and to feel the joy I have for them.

4. I DECIDED TO STOP APOLOGIZING AND I DROPPED THE GUILT: I recognized that one big reason I felt stuck was because I was trying to live up to everyone else’s standards and expectations (many of which were self-imposed, not other-imposed as I quickly learned). I was apologizing with my words and my actions about my passions. Even worse, I was putting my passions on the backburner out of fear that others were judging me. But as one of my best friends likes to say “you can’t pay your bills with the opinions of others” and I will add that you can’t find fulfilling joy through people-pleasing. I’m called to live for the Lord, not for the praise of others. And if that means I pay for a baby-sitter once a week so I can pursue my passions or take time to have fun, I don’t need to apologize or justify this to other moms. They can choose to do this too!

5. I DECIDED THAT I AM AS MUCH OF A PRIORITY AS EVERY OTHER FAMILY MEMBER: Ladies, self-care is not selfish. It is stewardship. In our self-indulgent culture, this can be a hard balance to find as a believer. How do I steward my health well and deny myself, take up my cross and follow Him? How do I love and serve my family well? Here’s the deal. You can give abundantly from an over-flowing cup. But you can’t give from a cup that is running low, at least not without resentment, bitterness and burnout. The most important thing for me was to make sure I was obeying the Lord, seeking His glory, and going to Him for my fulfillment. I chose to carve out protected time to read my Bible, work on personal development, work my business, have regular girl’s night outs and date nights with my husband.

6. I CHOSE ONE GOAL TO CHASE AT A TIME: Due to the stress of the summer, my workout routine and at times my nutrition had not been ideal. If I’m not careful, I can make it until 4pm without eating. I focused on moving every day for 30 minutes while tracking my macronutrients and water intake. Three to four days a week that meant attending Crossfit (with some of my besties, even better!), while using other days for running, walking and lifting at home. I know my body was not made to be sedentary, it was built to move. I had to get myself to a healthier place so I had the energy I needed to serve the Lord and my family well.

7. I WROTE IT ALL DOWN: Research shows that when you write down goals and plans in your own hand-writing, you are more successful. I made it a priority to sit down on Sunday with my husband to plan out our week. It seems so common sense, but so often we neglect to make sure our time management reflects what we say our priorities are.

8. I GOT HELP: Why when we talk about the Proverbs 31 woman do we neglect to mention that she had help! She had hand-maidens. I decided to get a baby-sitter every Friday morning for 4 hours. This time block allowed me to run errands, workout, lay in bed and read, work, or meet friends for brunch. These four hours were a game-changer! I also started connecting every other week with friends who were like-minded so that we could hold one another accountable and encourage one another.

9. I CHOSE TO LET GO: I chose to let go, really let go, of situations that had caused hurt and disappointment. I chose to let go of expectations that I had placed on myself that were not congruent with how God has created and gifted me. I chose to let go of relationships that I had tried so hard to reconcile and recognize that I had done all I could do. I chose to walk in integrity regardless of the cost. I chose to let go of how my house looked. Okay, I still struggle with that one on the daily, but I’m working on it because if my attitude is dependent on how tidy my house is, it’s going to be a very long eighteen years!

10. I RE-AFFIRMED THAT MY IDENTITY AND MY TRUTH IS IN CHRIST: Lastly, but most importantly, I became more intentional about checking myself. I would ask, “Am I living out of my identity in Christ?” or “Am I getting distracted and trying to find my worth in the people and the things around me?” Ephesians 1 reminds me that I am accepted, blessed, and chosen in Christ (you are too!). Those truths are foundational. Am I living out what God says is true about me? I am not perfect, but I am doing my best. Am I giving Him my best through the gifts, blessings, and talents He has entrusted me with? Am I being the best steward I can be in every area of my life? That is my goal and I cannot accomplish it if my identity is misplaced.

So, there is my game-plan for forward momentum! Your game plan may need to look similar or it may look very different. It doesn’t matter as long as it glorifies God and honors how He created you. Take some time to sit down, reflect on what is working and what is not, and determine what needs to change. I highly encourage you to include your spouse, if possible! Your game plan should benefit and honor your marriage and family. This helped my husband and I function more effectively as a team in our own marriage! Make sure your time management as a couple truly reflects your priorities for your family. Don’t underestimate the power of making small adjustments. They can make a powerful difference. But remember, you are not alone, sweet sister. We are in this together. Let’s do our best in our current season and cheer one another on!

And if you have a game plan, I would love for you to share what works for you in the comments!

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