Thursday, January 31, 2008

Adjustable Goals

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 8:45 PM 1 comments
Your goals may look very different from mine. Your areas of responsibilities may look very different from mine. The helpful thing is to look at your priorities and responsibilities and how you can balance them. What can be let go. Some women may be freaking out that I only clean my house completely once a month. I like to keep my house what I call “clean enough.” It’s not spotless, but it’s not a danger to my children’s health either. For me, it’s more important to go on a date with my husband and work on my children’s scrapbooks (which is therapeutic for me) than have a perfect house.
It’s important to realize that goals are not a “have to.” A goal list is meant to help you maintain balance, not drive you insane trying to check everything off of the list. One year I planned to take a bath once a week. It soon became obvious that I relaxed in other ways and this was a goal I wasn’t going to meet. It was replaced the next year, and that was okay. When I had a newborn I most certainly did not exercise 4 times a week, and that was okay. Just because I didn’t meet a goal, had to adjust it, or alter it for a while didn’t make me want to quit. I realized that I needed to either reevaluate my goals or make adjustments in how I was spending my time.
Because I’m a list person, my annual goals are generally broken down into weekly goals, or to do lists. I have found that I am much more productive when I can see and check off items on a list. And because each week can bring new challenges, responsibilities, and events we often need to make adjustments in what we focus on. For instance, if I’m planning on hosting a function I’m going to focus more on housework. But the next week I may focus on spending more quality time with my children and husband because we were extra busy the week before. Many people may not find having a list helpful, but a list helps keep me accountable. On the days and weeks where I don’t consciously pay attention to what I have to do, I get much less done, feel unproductive, and often overwhelmed because things are still piling up.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Balance and goals

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 9:53 PM 1 comments
So how do we maintain balance between all of our responsibilities, including our responsibility to ourselves. For me, I’m a list person. I am constantly evaluating where I am, where I want to be and how I’m going to get there. I’ve found it very helpful to make a list of goals and objectives. One is short term and the other is long term but it doesn’t really matter what you call it, as long as you pay attention to your priorities and whether you’re working towards something.
Several years ago I started making an annual goal list. On this list are different areas which, by no coincidence, are the responsibilities in my life that are the most important. They include: spiritual goals, health goals, personal goals, husband goals, children goals, housekeeping goals, financial goals and professional goals. Under each area I list short term and long term goals. My goals don’t change drastically from year to year and I don’t always meet all of my goals. It’s not a rigid, must do for me, but a way to keep myself accountable to putting my time, energy and effort into people and things that I say are my top priorities. Below is a sample listing of my annual goals.
Spiritual Goals: read scripture every day; pray continuously
Health Goals: exercise a minimum of 4 days a week; eat proper servings at most meals
Personal Goals: give generously; waste less time; catch up on scrapbooks
Husband Goals: go on a monthly date; spend quality time every week
Children Goals: spend time playing with children every day; read to children every day
Housekeeping Goals: keep clutter to a minimum; clean house completely once a month
Financial Goals: keep credit cards paid off; give 10% to church
Professional Goals: write consistently, get one book finished

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

beginning to answer the big questions

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 2:41 PM 0 comments
So, how do we embrace motherhood to most effectively raise our children and maintain value outside of motherhood? Such a question, of course, does not have a simple answer. But it does have an answer. One of the main parts of the answer is balance. We need to work like a thermostat. We’d like to keep life at a comfortable 73 degrees. Outside influences have a major impact on the temperature, so we are constantly having to work at regaining balance. When it’s hot, we have to turn the air conditioning on. When we have a newborn, we have to give up time doing other things (almost everything else) for a time to take care of the baby. A newborn has you working like it’s over a hundred degrees outside. As we adjust to being a mom and the baby grows, we don’t have to work as hard. When it’s cold, we have to turn the heat on. When we start a new job, or are planning a big event, we have to get help taking care of our children. And sometimes the unit breaks down. There’s a family crisis, illness, or other event that erupts everything. We call in help until the unit is back functioning properly.
Most of these events occur infrequently, with the mean temperature not being far off from our goal. But sometimes it seems more difficult to maintain balance on a daily basis. With responsibilities including housekeeping, taking care of our children, maintaining a relationship with our husband, sometimes work outside of the home, community and/or church involvement, and other family responsibilities it’s easy to see how we get lost. But, if we don’t do regular maintenance to the unit (take care of ourselves) we’re more likely to break down – more frequently and more devastatingly. Most of us have heard the saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” which testifies to the effect that we moms have on our family. What we also need to realize is that if momma ain’t well, she can’t take care of everyone else to keep them well. However, we usually end up wearing ourselves out fulfilling our multitude of responsibilities.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Big Questions

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 8:10 PM 0 comments
What is my main job as a mom? How do make the best choices as a mom? How do I know if I’m doing a good job as a mom? How do I know when I’m successful as a mom? How do I keep from losing myself and my sanity as a mom?
These questions are ones that most mothers ponder, if not obsess over. There are other questions that we ask ourselves, the questions I call decision questions. Those are questions like: Do I work or stay home, or work at home? Do I breastfeed or formula feed? Where will my child sleep, with me or in her own room? Should I send my child to public school, private school, or homeschool? These are the questions that we often see asked, and supposedly answered, in most parenting magazines. These questions will be addressed, because they’re big aspects of motherhood, but my belief is that we can answer every one of these decision questions to our family’s satisfaction and for their best interest and still be a discontent mom.
Although many of us moms get our sense of purpose and affirmation from answering these questions the best way possible, and various resources try to tell us that our worth as a mother can come from making the right decisions on these issues, I don’t believe that is true. Sure, we get some sense of satisfaction from seeing our children healthy and developing on target, but if we don’t answer the big questions from the first paragraph, we will most likely end up feeling discontent and wondering what it is that can fulfill us.
I believe that there’s a whole generation of moms who just kind automatically went through motherhood and when their children were all grown up and they no longer had the responsibility as a mother, they felt as if they were floundering. This generation of moms lost themselves in their children and the job of mothering. I’m not saying that devoting ourselves to our children isn’t important, or even essential to raising them well. What I am saying is that as mothers we don’t have to lose ourselves in the journey of motherhood.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Adjustable Goals

Your goals may look very different from mine. Your areas of responsibilities may look very different from mine. The helpful thing is to look at your priorities and responsibilities and how you can balance them. What can be let go. Some women may be freaking out that I only clean my house completely once a month. I like to keep my house what I call “clean enough.” It’s not spotless, but it’s not a danger to my children’s health either. For me, it’s more important to go on a date with my husband and work on my children’s scrapbooks (which is therapeutic for me) than have a perfect house.
It’s important to realize that goals are not a “have to.” A goal list is meant to help you maintain balance, not drive you insane trying to check everything off of the list. One year I planned to take a bath once a week. It soon became obvious that I relaxed in other ways and this was a goal I wasn’t going to meet. It was replaced the next year, and that was okay. When I had a newborn I most certainly did not exercise 4 times a week, and that was okay. Just because I didn’t meet a goal, had to adjust it, or alter it for a while didn’t make me want to quit. I realized that I needed to either reevaluate my goals or make adjustments in how I was spending my time.
Because I’m a list person, my annual goals are generally broken down into weekly goals, or to do lists. I have found that I am much more productive when I can see and check off items on a list. And because each week can bring new challenges, responsibilities, and events we often need to make adjustments in what we focus on. For instance, if I’m planning on hosting a function I’m going to focus more on housework. But the next week I may focus on spending more quality time with my children and husband because we were extra busy the week before. Many people may not find having a list helpful, but a list helps keep me accountable. On the days and weeks where I don’t consciously pay attention to what I have to do, I get much less done, feel unproductive, and often overwhelmed because things are still piling up.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Balance and goals

So how do we maintain balance between all of our responsibilities, including our responsibility to ourselves. For me, I’m a list person. I am constantly evaluating where I am, where I want to be and how I’m going to get there. I’ve found it very helpful to make a list of goals and objectives. One is short term and the other is long term but it doesn’t really matter what you call it, as long as you pay attention to your priorities and whether you’re working towards something.
Several years ago I started making an annual goal list. On this list are different areas which, by no coincidence, are the responsibilities in my life that are the most important. They include: spiritual goals, health goals, personal goals, husband goals, children goals, housekeeping goals, financial goals and professional goals. Under each area I list short term and long term goals. My goals don’t change drastically from year to year and I don’t always meet all of my goals. It’s not a rigid, must do for me, but a way to keep myself accountable to putting my time, energy and effort into people and things that I say are my top priorities. Below is a sample listing of my annual goals.
Spiritual Goals: read scripture every day; pray continuously
Health Goals: exercise a minimum of 4 days a week; eat proper servings at most meals
Personal Goals: give generously; waste less time; catch up on scrapbooks
Husband Goals: go on a monthly date; spend quality time every week
Children Goals: spend time playing with children every day; read to children every day
Housekeeping Goals: keep clutter to a minimum; clean house completely once a month
Financial Goals: keep credit cards paid off; give 10% to church
Professional Goals: write consistently, get one book finished

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

beginning to answer the big questions

So, how do we embrace motherhood to most effectively raise our children and maintain value outside of motherhood? Such a question, of course, does not have a simple answer. But it does have an answer. One of the main parts of the answer is balance. We need to work like a thermostat. We’d like to keep life at a comfortable 73 degrees. Outside influences have a major impact on the temperature, so we are constantly having to work at regaining balance. When it’s hot, we have to turn the air conditioning on. When we have a newborn, we have to give up time doing other things (almost everything else) for a time to take care of the baby. A newborn has you working like it’s over a hundred degrees outside. As we adjust to being a mom and the baby grows, we don’t have to work as hard. When it’s cold, we have to turn the heat on. When we start a new job, or are planning a big event, we have to get help taking care of our children. And sometimes the unit breaks down. There’s a family crisis, illness, or other event that erupts everything. We call in help until the unit is back functioning properly.
Most of these events occur infrequently, with the mean temperature not being far off from our goal. But sometimes it seems more difficult to maintain balance on a daily basis. With responsibilities including housekeeping, taking care of our children, maintaining a relationship with our husband, sometimes work outside of the home, community and/or church involvement, and other family responsibilities it’s easy to see how we get lost. But, if we don’t do regular maintenance to the unit (take care of ourselves) we’re more likely to break down – more frequently and more devastatingly. Most of us have heard the saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” which testifies to the effect that we moms have on our family. What we also need to realize is that if momma ain’t well, she can’t take care of everyone else to keep them well. However, we usually end up wearing ourselves out fulfilling our multitude of responsibilities.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Big Questions

What is my main job as a mom? How do make the best choices as a mom? How do I know if I’m doing a good job as a mom? How do I know when I’m successful as a mom? How do I keep from losing myself and my sanity as a mom?
These questions are ones that most mothers ponder, if not obsess over. There are other questions that we ask ourselves, the questions I call decision questions. Those are questions like: Do I work or stay home, or work at home? Do I breastfeed or formula feed? Where will my child sleep, with me or in her own room? Should I send my child to public school, private school, or homeschool? These are the questions that we often see asked, and supposedly answered, in most parenting magazines. These questions will be addressed, because they’re big aspects of motherhood, but my belief is that we can answer every one of these decision questions to our family’s satisfaction and for their best interest and still be a discontent mom.
Although many of us moms get our sense of purpose and affirmation from answering these questions the best way possible, and various resources try to tell us that our worth as a mother can come from making the right decisions on these issues, I don’t believe that is true. Sure, we get some sense of satisfaction from seeing our children healthy and developing on target, but if we don’t answer the big questions from the first paragraph, we will most likely end up feeling discontent and wondering what it is that can fulfill us.
I believe that there’s a whole generation of moms who just kind automatically went through motherhood and when their children were all grown up and they no longer had the responsibility as a mother, they felt as if they were floundering. This generation of moms lost themselves in their children and the job of mothering. I’m not saying that devoting ourselves to our children isn’t important, or even essential to raising them well. What I am saying is that as mothers we don’t have to lose ourselves in the journey of motherhood.
 

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