Golden

I celebrated my golden birthday last month (28 on the 28th). My husband asked me my thoughts about getting older, and I have been pondering it for a bit now. While I am not afraid of aging, I am actually OK with getting older. In a culture that fears age for vain reasons, I am looking forward to who I am becoming. Not only am I getting older, but I am getting better. I am a better mom. I am a better wife. I am a better friend. I am kinder to myself. Age has a way of teaching you things, even when you aren’t realizing it, and I feel like I am becoming who I am supposed to be.

The number keeps getting higher, but it’s only a number. That old adage that says you are only as old as you feel is so true for me. I don’t feel old, nor is 28 even considered old (just depends who is looking at it).  I have made fitness a priority in my life, so my body has treated me well. While my diet may not be the best or cleanest, I am strong. I have muscles. And you know what? My thighs touch. But you know what that means? I have strong legs to bounce my kids on and run to keep up with them. Fitness is a part of my life and will be forever. I don’t want to feel old because of how my body feels. I want to feel young. I want to get older.

I want to perfect that balance of taking care of myself and taking care of others. It is a delicate combination, because if I spend too much time caring for others and forsaking my own health, that isn’t good. If I spend too much time focusing on myself then I become selfish and vain, and can’t sufficiently care for others. Does that even make any sense? That is why I work out. I run, I lift weights, and I get enough sleep, I eat and drink in moderation. So there is a balance that I am trying to figure out, but it is important. Everything I do affects my body either negatively or positively, and I am in control.

I also am learning to be kinder to myself. My body has gone through a lot in the past five years, so I should be in awe of what my body has done instead of frustrated that I still haven’t lost that last bit of belly flub. I will never be the person who is proud of my stretch marks (thanks, Levi), but I won’t obsess over them. Do I want that flat stomach? Yes. I should probably eat less ice cream. Progress over perfection. I just really like ice cream 😉

I have more wrinkles this year, but that means that I have smiled and experienced more. I want the kind of friends where your heart warms just thinking about that person. I want less relationships, and the ones I have to be more genuine. I want to surround myself with people who will inspire me, support me, and make me better. I have pulled away from those relationships that were more draining and negative because I don’t need that in my life. I would rather have a few close friends than a bunch of mediocre ones. The phase of life I am in is very busy and demanding, so I have to choose how I spend my time wisely. I don’t want to spend my time with someone who isn’t making me a better version of myself.

If I have the privilege of getting older, that means I have more time to spend with my amazing husband. And that means I have more time to practice loving him and making him happy. I was blessed to find my partner early in life, and I am so thankful for that. We are approaching ten years as a couple, which I can’t quite wrap my head around how it has been that long! Ten years with a man as awesome and selfless as him, and I am just beginning to learn how to love and appreciate him the way he deserves. I am a lucky girl, and I don’t want to take him for granted.

I am learning to care less about what people think of me. For someone who is very sensitive by nature, this has been a big one for me. I can’t control what people think. I can’t make everyone like me, nor should I try. I can’t make everyone happy. I will stand up for what is right, but I won’t go out of my way to try and help someone who doesn’t want to change. If I am doing my best and loving others, then that is where I accept reality and move on.

Growing up also means pushing myself out of my comfort zone. That’s where the growth happens! I need to think less about what others will think and more about my goals in life and what I need to do to get me there. The reality is that I am my own harshest critic, and more than likely other people may not care as much as I think they will. A big part of that is this blog and forcing myself to be in front of the camera. I am not comfortable in front of the camera, and I’m not sure I ever will be. I am learning to share my voice and ideas, as awkward as I may feel. I am proving to myself that I can do things outside my comfort zone, and that is how I can make myself better.

 

I am learning not to make excuses, but also to know when to give myself a break. It really comes down to choices and priorities. I am the kind of person that needs to be busy. I went through a phase where I had so much planned, and now looking back I don’t think it was healthy for me or the kids. While a lot of what was on the schedule was kid-centered activities and playdates, there was too much structure. I am learning to relax. I am learning to prioritize what really needs to be done. Needs come before wants. Chores come before play. As a mom I am realizing how important it is to teach these theories to my kids, and I am learning just how much my kids learn from example. That means not being on my phone all day long, checking social medias and texts. That means teaching my kids to serve others before you serve yourself. It means always using your manners, and loving someone even when they are unlovable. The value of an apology goes a long way, and I am seeing that with my kids. I mess up, and I want my kids to see that I am human and make mistakes, and can swallow my pride and apologize when I need to. That is the whole picture of Jesus, right?

I want to embrace getting older. Every year I earn means I am acquiring more wisdom, understanding, and love. Age isn’t scary. I don’t want to look back on my life and be disappointed in who I was. I want to live a life that I am proud of and appreciate who I am becoming. I want to inspire others to do the same: be a better person. I want to set those goals. To take the risk. Be diligent. Don’t make excuses for myself. I know by God’s grace I am capable of whatever I set my mind to!

 

Fighting the Battle of Motherhood

I was joking around with my best friend’s husband a bit ago about how blessed I am to be able to stay at home with my kids. I don’t get that Sunday night pit-in-my-stomach thinking about going into “work” the next morning. I am so thankful for the freedom and ability to create my own days and spend all my time with my children. But there are moments, days, or even weeks that I struggle. And right now, I feel like life is a battle. Meals are a battle. Naptime is a battle. Getting buckled into the car is a battle. Fun activities are even a battle. I find myself just wishing for naptime and just plain worn out by the end of the day.

It is hard to keep my focus as a mom when the kids have been screaming all day long and I am just tapped out. But when I sit back and think about it, they are just kids with a sin nature (like me!), and it is my job to teach and to train them how to become responsible adults. What an overwhelming thought! When I get into a funk when I feel like I just can’t win, it is hard to get over it. What I have come to realize is that it is just as simple as my perspective.

Knowing myself, my first response to a tough situation would be to get mad, overwhelmed, frustrated, or anxious. I get down on myself because I need to be doing a better job. Instead of thinking those negative thoughts, I need to be proactive with the kids and find a way to counteract the whininess or attitudes. Instead of feeling defeated, I need to focus on the blessing it is to have these wonderful and unique children in my life. I need to reflect on the fact that I am so blessed to be able to stay home and spend my days with them. In those moments when I am wishing I had a job outside the home, I need to take a step back and thank God that I have the opportunity, no- privilege, to stay at home with my kids. (Not that there is anything wrong with working outside the home, I just know that right now I am called to be at home with my kids.)

I hope you know that you are not alone. You are not the only one that struggles or has bad days. Staying at home can feel isolating at times, even if we have a community built up around us for support. This phase of life is exhausting, overwhelming, and oftentimes thankless. Even if you work outside the home, it can be just as tiring. Do the best that you can; you are probably doing a better job than you think. You are fighting the good fight and it will be worth it. You are doing a great thing. God created you to be your children’s mother, not someone else. Keep at it. Keep fighting. We are all in this together.