Like many of you, I’m entering 2011 with a list of goals for the new year.
Although my list includes some of the stereotypical resolutions, I want my objective for 2011 to focus less on myself and more on my family. Specifically, I’d like to become a better wife and mother.
When I was expecting my first daughter, veteran mom friends told me that motherhood would simply “come naturally.” In many respects, it did. I didn’t have to force myself to love my daughters. It was love at first sight. Meeting their basic needs hasn’t been too difficult either.
But organizing toys? Finding a way to economically diaper, feed and clothe my family? Using coupons and planning nutritious meals? Keeping up with piles of laundry and household chores while holding a toddler on one hip and a newborn in a sling? And craft time and play dates? I’m supposed to do that, too?
Those things just didn’t come naturally to this journalist-turned-mommy.
My own mother jokes that both her daughters are domestically challenged. It’s not that she didn’t try teaching us how to cook and clean when we were children. But it was terribly frustrating when we threw her expensive silverware in the trash instead of loading them in the dishwasher. Eventually, she just began doing things herself.
My husband knew how to cook more than I did when we married five and a half years ago. And cleaning? I once told him that I knew why he cleaned better, too – I grew up with a maid. “You did?” he questioned. “Yes,” I said. “Her name was Mom.”
I’ve improved quite a bit in my domestic pursuits the past five and a half years. I ushered my husband out of the kitchen our first week married. He rarely returns, so I must be doing something right. I also quickly learned that sorting laundry can spare him the embarrassment of pink socks and T-shirts.
But two and a half years since our first daughter was born, I often still feel lost when it comes to motherhood.
Since college, I’ve worked as a teacher, missionary, communications specialist and writer. Give me a story to write any day. I studied journalism and Spanish in college, but nothing prepared me for homemaking.
But while pondering my goals for 2011 recently, it hit me. What would happen if I were to manage motherhood the same way I’d approach any other job?
After all, isn’t motherhood the job of my life? If I mess up, there are no second chances. My little girls will only be little once, and I don’t want to miss my one and only opportunity to help forever shape who they are and who they will become.
Thus far, motherhood has been my most challenging yet most rewarding job. But it’s the one job that truly matters more than anything else I can ever do or ever be.
Sure, I don’t have a boss to answer to or keep me accountable in this job. Instead, I have two beautiful, red-headed, blue-eyed little girls looking up to me every day.
So, this year, my goal is to work on sharpening my homemaking skills in a self-made professional development plan. I’ll strive to work on one area of my plan each month, and I’ll write about it here.
My goals include meeting with a professional family coach, who will help me de-clutter and better organize my home. I’ll try my hand at cloth diapering my newborn and potty-training my toddler. I’ll develop a system for couponing and meal planning. And I’ll write about ways moms like me can network with other Mooresville mothers.
I welcome your suggestions. I hope we can laugh together and learn together as I chronicle my yearlong process of bettering myself as a homemaker.
Undoubtedly, this will be a lot of hard work. But at the end of the day, after our bedtime routine of reading to, praying with and singing “Jesus Loves Me” with our daughters, it’ll all be worth it when my little girl hugs me and says, “I love you, Mommy.”
“More than rainbows!” I’ll answer.
She’ll smile: “And to the moon and back.”
This column first appeared in the December 29, 2010 issue of the Mooresville Weekly.