There are a few things that have helped me thus far to be a better Mama. Here they are in no particular order:
1. Quiet Time
This is probably the most important one. It's not always easy or even possible though. No condemnation here! :) When you have a newborn or a toddler who just. won't. sleep. *ahem* it can be so difficult to wake up before your children. But if it's at all feasible, I highly recommend a morning quiet time.
During my quiet time, I usually grab a cuppa joe and read my Bible and/or a devotional and pray. (Right now I'm reading the Unglued Devotional and HIGHLY recommend it.) I'll also use this time to check my email/facebook/blogs on my Kindle. I've found that if I turn my PC on this early, I'm much more tempted to waste time on it all morning.
My Quiet Time bag. Complete with pens, journal, Bible and devotional(s). :) ------->
I also will sometimes write my prayers out in my journal. Some mornings, especially if it's been a long *sleepless* night, I wake up discombobulated and can hardly keep a thought straight. Being able to write things down keeps my thoughts in order and coherent. :)
As a side note: The absolute best advice I've ever received regarding journaling is don't feel like you have to write in it on a regular basis. If I found a journal from my great, great grandmother and she had only written in it a couple times a year, I'd be happy with that!
I read a lot of mothering books and blogs. A lot. However, no amount of reading can replace the advice or listening ears of a good friend. There's nothing like talking to someone who knows you personally; knows your strengths, weaknesses, history, etc. to help get you through tough times.
My friends Amy (on right) and Linda (on left) and me. Love these ladies.
In fact, just recently I asked a close friend advice about a chronic issue I'd been having with my Oldest and her advice was just what I needed. I felt so much better afterward. I had a new plan of attack! Don't ever forget that God can, and often does, use the people in your life to speak to you!
4. My Husband
I simply do not know how single moms do it. I rely on my husband so much as a Mama. Granted, we've had some things to work through (and I'm sure it will continue that way), but in general we are on the same page when it comes to parenting and it's so nice to get his perspective. Especially when *I* can't see the forest for the trees.
Daddy with Middlest at the Milwaukee Zoo
And of course, the extra help in terms of housework and childcare is very much appreciated as well! I just can't do it all some days! I'm very blessed.
5. Having More Children
Now before you start laughing, hear me out! If I think about how I responded to Oldest when she was a baby I sometimes cringe! I was SO IMPATIENT and would get SO ANGRY. It's all I can do to not let condemnation take over sometimes. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. ~Romans 8:1
Just having TWO children (and being PREGNANT with two children!) has helped me to grow in so many areas not only as a Mama, but in my Christian walk as well. I firmly believe the Lord uses the people closest to you (Read: husband and children) to grow you and build character. It's not easy, but it's so good! (Romans 5:3-5)
By no means am I saying I've arrived. Oh no--I only have two children, but I will say that over the past few years I have improved some in my ability to let things go and am more patient in general. I still have my days but the Lord has helped me so much.
What has helped you in your role as wife or mother?