I can still see the golden light from the fixture over my parent's kitchen table. I peeked around the corner as my dad shuffled quietly to the fridge. His old, worn terry cloth robe, his chunky, homemade knit slippers. He had a coffee cup in his hand and the classic, early-morning Daddy stubble on his chin. He smiled at me.
"Good morning..." He whispered so that no one else would hear.
"Hi, Daddy... good morning." He sat down at the table and went back to writing. "What are you doing?"
"I'm planning. I'm writing goals for this new year."
I scrambled up next to him. Perfect, engineer handwriting. Very clear. Every letter the same: small and efficient. After a couple minutes, he looked at me, "Do you want to try?"
I nodded eagerly.
He gave me a mechanical pencil and a yellow legal pad. He wrote headings for me, "Your first area you want to have goals in is spiritual... how can you be more like Jesus this year? Okay... and your next ones can be financial, physical, mental..."
And there in the quiet early morning, with questionable second grade spelling and a barely functioning knowledge of how to use a mechanical pencil, I wrote my first set of goals.
And I've done it every year since then.
As I grew older, I came to realize that not everyone shares my zest of planning and goal setting. In fact, the vast majority of the populace seems to hold them in contempt, or (at the very least), snickers at them in mild derision. After all, the proverbial "New Year's Resolutions" that fall by the wayside by January 13th (or if you have an extra dose of stamina, by February 1st), are rather laughable. And I would agree that vague "resolutions" are rather pointless.
But goals? Organized, manageable goals, with clear monthly steps and daily achievable measurements? Those are a different story.
I used to map out my goals with excitement and energy, but now there's an added dimension to my goal setting. There's passion, a desperation, a prayerfulness that becoming a mother added to my yearly ritual.
You see, there is a common misconception that just being a mom makes you a wonderful mom. That by simply popping out a human, you have achieved unparalleled greatness and deserve to be lauded for your sacrifice and pure awesomeness. You, by being a mom, are by default AMAZING.
I hate to break it to you... but this is not the case.
Being a mom is a role and a job that must be cultivated like any other career. And, aside from the complete lack of paid-time-off, it resembles almost any other job you might pursue. You will have good days and bad days. You will need continuing education. There will be other people that do the same job worse than you... and there will be those that do it better. Just by default of being a mom, you are not a rockstar. To be a rockstar mom: you have to work for it.
The wonderful (and sometimes terrifying) thing about this job is that there is no specific list of criteria. As Christian moms we have some general, broad instructions. Discipline your children. Teach them. Imprint on them who our God is.
But the daily specifics? Very vague.
If you are going to be the mom that God has called you to be, you need to put some work into it. You would never walk into any other job on the planet with bedhead, dressed in sweats, and without putting any creativity or thought into your job performance. But we do that in motherhood. And we expect to be lauded for it.
The beauty of motherhood is that God welcomes creativity. He delights in variety in mothering styles. I have mommy friends that teach their kids while hiking, others are amazing at writing little notes for their children. Some are incredible cooks. Some have full science labs in their basements. Some are cuddlers. Some are motivators. Some are loud. Some quiet. Some organized. Some invite daily chaos. God designs variety in biblical motherhood.
But it takes intentionality to be the best kind of mother you can possibly be.
No one rolls out of bed and thoughtlessly fills up their children's lives with truth and a glorious delight in God... That doesn't just happen. You don't shepherd and guide and instruct without thought and preparation. No one does. It's impossible.
Your kids are pretty awesome, aren't they?
Well... strive to be a mom that's pretty awesome. Plan. Prepare. Analyze. You are not an amazing mother just by default of having a uterus and progeny. It takes intentionality. It takes thought.
You, as a mother, should have goals.
Because the performance review for this job? It's bigger than anything we can imagine...
So here's to 2017. May we be intentional in our motherhood.
Happy goal planning, Mama!
And because I love goals sooooo much: GET YOUR FREE GOAL MAKING GUIDE HERE!