It is so easy to slip back into helicopter mommying! The elusive balance of time and energy that moms continually struggle to find IS POSSIBLE! Check out a critical TOOL I share here for gaining more balance in your home and life!
I want to tell you a little story from the classic Little Women. You’re probably familiar with this classic by Louisa May Alcott. It’s about a family of sisters that grow up together and all the things that happen to them. Meg, one of the sisters, has married a man named John and they have a couple children. Of course, all the girls really love and respect their mom. They look up to her and they always want to obey her and seek her advice. Meg is now in a situation where she is pretty frustrated and out of ideas. She turns to her mom for help. Meg’s maternal instinct was very strong and she was entirely absorbed by her children to the exclusion of all else. By the time she had her second baby, she looked worn and nervous and was feeling overwhelmed and frazzled.
John, her husband, put up with this for a little while. He tried to be patient with her getting used to having two kids and everything. But as time went by, she kept telling him to get out of the nursery, not to bother them, to hush and be quiet so the babies could sleep. Of course, he became more and more frustrated. Finally, after about six months he decided, “I’m just going to go over to my friends house and give her some space and see if she can work that out.” He’s still kind to his wife and doesn’t blame her but he starts spending his evenings with friends. By now, she basically never sees him and she’s “worn out with watching and worry.”
At this point, Meg looks in the mirror and says to herself, “Yes, I’m getting old and ugly. John doesn’t find me interesting any longer so he leaves his faded wife and goes to see his pretty neighbor who has no encumbrances. Well, the babies love me. They don’t care if I’m thin and pale and haven’t had time to crimp my hair. They’re my comfort and someday John will see that I’d gladly sacrifice for them.”
Now she’s blaming her husband for how she feels and the way her life is going. She’s also justifying her own behavior toward herself and others by talking about her motherly sacrifices. Of course, she knows she’s doing something good. She knows she’s sacrificing for one of the most important things in life –for her children–to be there, to watch them grow, to nurse them and to be there for them every minute. But, she’s not happy with her situation. She’s tired. She’s getting kind of down, depressed, worried and anxious. She never sees her husband and she doesn’t know how to bring him home. She doesn’t know what to say to him or how to solve the problem.
Finally one day, her mom is visiting and she decides to ask her mother’s advice.
Meg explains, “John is away all day and at night when I want to see him. He’s continually going over to the Scott’s. Men are very selfish, even the best of them.”
Her mom comes back with, “And so our women. Don’t blame John until you see where you were wrong yourself.”
Meg responds, “But it can’t be right for him to neglect me.”
To which her mom replies, “Well, don’t you neglect him?”
To her credit, Meg is very teachable and humble. She really listens to her mom. She’s willing to be honest about the fact that she might be doing something wrong. She says she can’t ever leave the babies to which her mom responds, “I think you’re in the wrong and I’m going to tell you why I think you’re in the wrong. You have only made the mistake that most young wives make – forgotten your duty to your husband in your love for your children. A very natural and forgivable mistake, Meg but one that had better be remedied before you take to different ways.”
They’ve only been married a few years. They have two children and, this is the time, her mom says when they should be bonding and growing closer. This is the time when Meg and John should be enjoying their children and making their own way as a family. But instead, they’re becoming split apart and they’re getting more and more distant.
I’m going to read you what what her mother tells her to do about this situation because it’s what you and I need to do and this is timeless counsel for all mothers everywhere. “If I were you I’d let John have more to do with the management of Demi, [that’s their little boy] for the boy needs training and it’s none too soon to begin. Then I’d do what I have often proposed and let Hannah come and help you. She is a capital nurse and you may trust the precious babies to her while you do your housework. You need the exercise Meg, and Hannah would enjoy the rest, and John would find his wife again. Go out more. Keep cheerful as well as busy for you are the sunshine-maker of the family and if you get dismal there is no fair weather. Then I’d try to take an interest in whatever John likes. Talk to him. Let him read to you. Exchange ideas and help each other in that way. Don’t shut yourself up in a bandbox because you’re a woman but understand what is going on. Educate yourself and take your part in the world’s work for it all affects you and others.”
I just absolutely love that counsel because it’s what we need to remember when we start going into helicopter mommy mod. You know, where it’s all about the kids, their needs and their wants. We forget that we have needs, that our husbands have needs, that the world has needs and that we need to live. Look at what she said–get more exercise, go out more, educate yourself, connect with your husband. Those are all those 4 Foundational Laws of Life Mission and she’s encouraging Meg to have more balance in her life; to let her children be babysat sometimes by someone else. I know people who have waited years and their children have still never been put to bed or fed by anybody besides them. I also know couples who have have not gone on a weekend in twelve or more years – ever since they had children. This is something that we don’t want to have happen.
How do we do it? How do we fit it all in? How do we start making time for ourselves in the midst of motherhood?
I’m going to give you just a really short snapshot of something that you can do to start yourself on the path to being better at meeting your own needs, putting your life in better perspective and not be frazzled and worn out all the time. This tool that I’m going to give you really quickly is something that I talked about a little more extensively and a Facebook live training that I did in The Mission Driven Mom Facebook Mastermind Group a month or two ago. If you join that Mastermind Group then you can watch the whole thing and get all the information that I shared there. But I’ll give you a quick little snapshot of what I told the moms to do.
MOMMY TIME PRESCRIPTION:
- Get out a piece of paper and take some time alone. Write down every single thing that you’re doing right now–I mean every single activity that you feel responsible for or that you do on a day-to-day basis.
- Then go back through that list and circle every activity that only you can do. For example, you’re not the only one that can change a diaper. You’re not the only one that can make dinner. You’re not the only one that can clean the bathroom. You’re not the only one that can drive somebody somewhere. There are things that other people in your world, in your community, in your home, can do.
- Then go to work delegating. There’s a handful of ways that you can do this. Meet with your husband, meet with your children, give older children more responsibilities in the home, swap with a friend, pay for the help that you need. Whatever resources you have available to you to free up your time.
GOAL: Make some space for yourself so that you can pursue, in a few hours a week, something of interest to you. That way, you can get yourself on the path to mission so that you can educate yourself in the love of humanity. You can learn those true principles by learning to love truth better and getting your own house in order. You can be that example of womanhood and motherhood that you really want your children to see–a woman who puts motherhood first, but is also on that mission path. A mother who is making time for herself and space to develop herself so that she can have an impact in the community, as well as her home. Bring your children along on that journey.
Remember, if you will prepare yourself, if you will live those 4 Foundational Laws of Life Mission, God does have a mission for you! He will help you to recognize and fulfill it if you’ll prepare yourself.