It's no secret that being a mom to M is a dream come true and a prayer answered. I try every second of the day to honor that blessing by being the absolute best mom I can be to her. I do my best to savor every moment, not taking a single one for granted. For me, this manifests itself in how I cook, what sorts of things we value in our home, how I respond to tough situations, and how I carry myself as a person.
I would say I cook 98% of all of our meals from scratch (loving every minute!) because I think that is healthiest and most economical, but also because the time it takes to chop and cook and set the table (usually no more than half an hour) allows us time together at the end of each day to reconnect and learn and laugh.
As far as what is important to us in our home, I would say contentment and simplicity. We have comfortable furnishings and a nice house, and I do my best to declutter (currently doing my Lenten cleaning each day and it is awesome!!) so that we can have a peaceful space to come home to and relax in. M has plenty of toys, but they all have their space up and away from being a huge mess on the floor, and if it appears that there isn't enough room in the bins, we prioritize which ones we'd like to keep and donate the rest. Each night the kitchen is clean, the counters are clear, the mail is sorted, and all the toys are put back away before we are all in bed. Waking up to a clean house sets the tone for a good day, I think!
But more than material things, we value calm voices, encouraging words, and peaceful conversation. I was raised in a yelling house, and nothing good comes from yelling. Of course I have raised my voice, but do you know what happened the last time? M started to yell back at me, and that hit me like a ton of bricks. No way did I want my daughter growing up with that kind of frustration-coping mechanism. I don't think I have yelled since. There are moments which require stern redirection or correction, but because we try to make it a habit not to raise our voices, M is very receptive to even the most serious of tones.
I try to be an example to M of healthy life choices. She sees me making healthy food choices, and because we do it twice a day, she is learning the value of walking the dogs (for both dog and human!). I try to give myself some relaxing time right before going to sleep for reading blogs, reading some of whatever book I'm reading, and (new this year) making entries in my prayer journal, and my journal for M.
Part of my relaxing time is often reading articles over at Power of Moms. It's a site with an incredible amount of resources, all focused on "deliberate moms". A site with constant encouragement to keep up the good work and the daily decision to be the best moms to our kids. The articles are honest- often exactly what I'm thinking- so it's not like the writers hold themselves on a pedestal, but instead they write about the conscious choice to respond in love when it's difficult...and whether they lost their cool or not! :) They also have organizational resources, schooling tips, podcasts on all kinds of topics, just to name a few things. Please go check it out!!
Recently, they put out a call for Ambassadors. Moms who would like to spread the word about their mission and purpose. I applied and was super excited to be accepted! In the application, I had to write why I wanted to become an Ambassador. I wrote that I wanted to champion the cause of moms with small families. So many of their contributors have 3 kids under 3, or 5 kids from age 2 to 14, and while I imagine those situations are truly challenging to manage sometimes, moms of one or two kids can have many of the same stressors and full plates.
I'll be posting about a book they are releasing soon- I've had the chance to preview it, and so far it is AWESOME! I have their first book, and it is one of the mainstays on my night table. This new book is even better, so I hope that once you learn more about it, you will consider ordering it for yourself or a mom in your life.
So, so grateful I'm even in a position to be a motherhood ambassador- for so many years, it seemed like I would never qualify!