Kimberly Lynch explains why now, more than ever, we need to commit to self-improvement to serve our families, our world, and God.
We welcomed 2021 with jubilant cheers and hopeful smiles. So many poised themselves to shove 2020 out the door and make room for a fresh new start. Of course we knew that the drop of a ball in New York wouldn’t magically fix the collective challenges of a pandemic, stark political division, and civil unrest, but renewed hope brought much joy to the masses nonetheless. Unfortunately the events at the Capitol jolted us back to reality, and perhaps gave way to an even greater heaviness than even 2020 had shown.
If you are feeling lost amidst the tension and fear, this may be the best time to focus on self-improvement. Perhaps now more than ever, we should look again at our list of personal resolutions and recommit to making ourselves the best versions of ourselves. This is far from selfish ambition. Quite the contrary: Our families, our community, our nation, and our world need the best we have to give.
If you’ve already fallen off the bandwagon with your resolutions, it’s never too late to begin again! Here are three life-changing commitments that can help you make this year one of the greatest.
Make your health a priority.
I used to think that the above statement was reserved for someone with serious medical issues. A phrase perhaps for someone who had just had a severe discussion with their doctor, one that included a “change your ways or else” ultimatum. Now I understand how making your health a priority needs to happen before you find yourself in trouble. Unfortunately for many stay-at-home moms, adding one more duty to a long list of what you already manage feels more burdensome than inspiring. The key is making a sustainable and committed lifestyle change, not just another seasonal “should.”
The good news is that making such a commitment will inevitably trickle down to your family. A healthy mama is a happy one, after all. Exercising regularly, even if just a short stretching routine, demonstrates to my kids how important that time is to me, and they’ve learned to respect that time and space. With much gratitude, I’ve seen them grow in their own sports of choice, challenging themselves and setting new goals. My husband even joined a local gym. Our role as mothers, even if we feel unnoticed a lot of the time, is still highly influential.
Find a creative outlet.
It’s not that being a stay-at-home-mom is void of activity (quite the opposite, as we all know), but it involves many of the same repeated actions (picking up Legos), mundane tasks (wiping down the high chair and sweeping up the Cheerios), and very few intellectual activities. The daily work is monotonous, the noise rattling, and the lack of adult interaction downright lonely. It’s all too easy to throw yourself completely into parenting (because those little ones need you!), but pushing any interests or hobbies to the back burner will lead to inevitable burnout. However, a creative outlet is what many wise mothers have learned to cherish and protect, whether to keep their skills fresh for an eventual return to the workforce, to earn a little extra money, or simply for that mental stimulation.
Knitting, painting, writing, taking a dance class, photography, starting an online business...they are all activities that form a bridge into the grown-up world. If you want to be the best parent version of yourself, you need to make sure your mental energy is satisfied, and you have at least one activity you can look forward to during the day.
Hire a coach.
This last point is not an immediate thought for many stay-at-home moms, and the cost often causes much hesitation. Nevertheless, if you consider the price of a coach as an investment into your wellbeing as opposed to simply another bill, the money is well worth it for yourself and your family. As moms, we can be so quick to sign up our kids for music or sports lessons with a coach, or to hire a tutor if they may need some extra academic help, but slow to recognize that we could benefit from an outsider’s perspective. A coach can be immensely helpful to improve your focus, productivity, and to reset priorities. Additionally, a coach will give you specific tips and lessons that you can immediately apply to your lifestyle.
The final benefit of hiring a coach is the accountability. We can get too comfortable in our own habits, but a coach can give us the nudge we need to make improvements to ourselves. Health coaches, business coaches, professional organizers ... this age of virtual education enables you to meet with a coach from literally anywhere in the world. And if hiring a coach is outside of your budget, consider an online class, or seeking a mentor. Decide where you want to experience the most growth, and find someone who would be a good fit.
In this time of great distress and uncertainty, cultivating your own garden and allowing yourself to blossom for the benefit of those around you can become a healing balm for both you and the world around you. You can’t serve your family and community as a withered flower, so make 2021 the year that you intentionally grow in your role as wife, mother, and daughter of God. Any time or money invested in you will most certainly benefit our hurting world.
Copyright 2021 Kimberly Lynch
Image: Priscilla Du Preez (2019), Unsplash
About the Author
Kimberly is a Catholic convert, writer, wife, and mother to six awesome children. She blogs at PassingThroughMountains.com, where she encourages her readers to recognize sparks of joy despite the arduous climb up life’s inevitable mountains. She enjoys running in the morning, a strong cup of coffee, reading a good book with her feet up, and hiking in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where she and her husband raise their brood.