By Grace Alone

The real life struggles of a Christian mom

Resolutions January 2, 2008

Filed under: parenting — Marissa Henley @ 9:14 pm
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I can’t believe it has been over a month since my last post.  December was a crazy whirlwind!  Looking back on the Christmas season, I realized that I need to start doing things differently.  I tried to do too much, attempting to craft the perfect Christmas in the eyes of everyone around me.  By the time the day arrived, I was almost too exhausted to enjoy it, and honestly, getting a little sick of Christmas!  So before I made my new year’s resolutions, I made some resolutions for Christmas 2008:  splurge on gift bags rather than using wrapping paper (to make wrapping quicker), bake homemade bread rather than 4 different types of cookies and candy (I did way too much baking, and it took way too long), and delegate more responsibility to Noel (surely he can handle putting some gifts in gift bags with tissue on top!).  Then I plan to use the extra time to spend more time preparing my heart to celebrate Christ’s birth, and hopefully get around to lighting more than two of the five candles on our Advent wreath.

Once I was done reflecting on December, I’ve been thinking through some new year’s resolutions.  I’ve been opposed to resolutions in the past, feeling that it was dumb to set a bunch of goals about exercise and other disciplines that I would surely forget by Valentine’s Day (or perhaps even Martin Luther King, Jr. Day).  But this year, I feel like there are several areas in which I’d like to improve.  I hope that by writing them down in my BSF notebook and looking at them regularly, I’ll keep them fresh in my mind, and by God’s grace, make some progress.

I thought about three areas:  personal goals, marriage goals, and parenting goals.  Then I thought about things that I’d like to stop doing, continue doing, and start doing.  (A concept introduced by my friend Ashley this summer in our parenting discussion group–thanks, Ashley!)  For example, some of my parenting goals are to stop losing my temper, continue having story time daily, and start doing more focused activities such as drawing, play-doh, and puzzles (activities that require Mommy sitting down with them rather than serving as referee while doing housework or email).

One primary goal I have is to change the fact that I spend a lot of time with my kids, in the sense that we are in the same house, but not enough time with my kids, in the sense that my attention is focused solely on them.  It has helped to start sitting down each day with a stack of books to read together, because I get less bored reading books than I do playing with the Little People fire truck.  But I’d like to get better at playing with the fire truck.

Another goal that is central to all the others is an improved prayer life.  I often rely on a quick morning prayer (“Lord, please help me get through this day”) or manage to pray for others outside our home but neglect the three people I should be praying for the most–Noel and the boys.  I’m confident that if I were more disciplined about praying for them, it would transform my marriage and my parenting.  On days that I pray for Noel, I notice that I’m much more interested in hearing about his day and aware of how exhausted he must be when he walks in the door rather than focusing on my own frustrations.  But these days are the exception rather than the rule, and I’d like to change that.

If you know me personally (I can’t imagine you’d get to the bottom of this post if you don’t), please feel free to ask me how I’m doing on these and my other resolutions.  I hope by putting them on my blog, I’ll be reminded of their importance and continue striving to glorify God as a wife and a mother in these ways–hopefully even until Memorial Day!