5 Little Things That Make YOU Mom of the Year

Last week our family took a Spring Break beach vacation. We loaded the car with road trip printable packs neatly tucked into binders, just knowing our four-year-old and two-year-old daughters would be magically amused for the eight-hour drive. We dreamed that they would play together on the beach, blonde curls whisping in the ocean breeze. We’d build towers and make memories that would last a lifetime while they became even bester friends.

Hour five on the road, the girls were screeching in the back and using their new markers to scribble artwork onto the car doors. A “samesie” car passed us with children happily hypnotized by their DVD players, and I wondered why I am that crazy mom who doesn’t believe in screen time.

Doesn’t less screen time make me a better mom? Sadly, no. What about the printables, the breast milk, the vaccinating, and the private schooling? Unfortunately, those aren’t on the Mom of the Year job description either.

Because mothering has more to do with your heart and embracing the role and honor God has given you as a mother.

I know it doesn’t always feel honorable. Just last night, I proudly served up my kid’s favorite dinner from last week. I was certain they’d scarf it down and beg for seconds, so I sautéed an extra sweet potato to be ready. But last night sweet potatoes were all wrong and who likes sloppy joes??? 

In that thankless moment I didn’t feel honored or appreciated or loved. Honestly, I felt annoyed. And I certainly didn’t feel like Mom of the Year.

So for me, for you, and for all the moms out there who often feel underappreciated and too easily annoyed, here are five little things that will rank you Mom of the Year.

1. Make small moments matter. In the busyness of daily survival, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with carting the kids to school, laundering their jerseys, and meeting that work deadline. We tend to expect the meaningful times only from a Spring Break beach trip.  Moms, we’re missing it. Every day we have the precious gift of moments with our children. And those moments feel long but the truth is they’re ticking FAST. The next time you’re preparing lunches, invite your child to drag a chair over to the kitchen island to help. On the drive to soccer practice, leave your phone in the cup holder and glance in the rearview mirror to ask your child a few questions about his school day instead. Make mealtime intentional. A dinnertime script can be helpful. We like to ask two simple questions: What was the best part of your day? What was the hardest part of your day?   Make bedtime snuggle time. Even your older kids still need your touch. Spend an extra minute tonight nuzzling your child as you tuck her in.

2. Remember what’s important in the big moments. Have you ever gotten so stressed about the decorations and the invitations and the reservations for your child’s special event that in the end you kind of forgot your child? Or maybe that’s just me. I have been too guilty of thinking a perfectly put together donut party is where my energy should go on my daughter’s birthday. I got so busy refilling coffee punch and arranging sprinkled napkins that I urged her to go play till I had it all set up. The gathering certainly celebrated her, but in hindsight my attitude made it more about the guests than about the party girl. Let’s not do that. Let’s celebrate the people in our lives and not worry so much about the printable pennants and favors.

3. Don’t try to do it all on your own. Raising kids is a huge job. If you’re reading this, I don’t have to convince you.  Since it’s something a mother can never expect to do on her own, let’s stop trying to. As moms, we need our support systems. If you’re close to family, invite your parents and in-laws in to your children’s lives. Get plugged into a church that will partner with you in teaching and caring for your children. Become friends with your child’s school teachers. Support other moms by trading out babysitting or date nights. Instead of trying to outmom each other, let’s simply help each other mother the best that we can, learning and loving together.   

4. Take care of yourself. Moms are inherently exhausted. Dark circles and baggy eyes pretty much come with the territory. But anyone who is tired and has only snacked on leftover grilled cheese and peanut butter crackers for the day isn’t at her prime. We can do this from time to time or for short seasons, but moms need breaks too. Moms need to recharge in small ways each day and in larger segments every few months. This can be as simple as waking up to exercise before your kids are awake, grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend while the kids are at school, or even taking a weekend getaway with your husband or sister a couple times a year. Your kids need you. You can only offer yourself to them if you are adequately attending to your needs too.

5. Give your best to your children. We all have our days where we feel ready to take on the world and other days where we countdown to bedtime. No matter which day you’re having, it’s important to love your children the best that you can on that day. Sadly, we’re regularly reminded that we aren’t promised tomorrow. Since this is the day that you have with your children, love them fully and well each moment that you get to.

Motherhood is a challenging and rewarding adventure that lasts a lifetime. As moms we will never be perfect. But let’s make the most of it and shoot for Mom of the Year every day in our homes.

By Tracy Lane