This was REALLY important for me to read, so I’m sharing it.
(via Power of Moms)
We’re going to be talking a lot over the next month about The Power of Progress, but before we get too carried away with lots of pie-in-the-sky plans and goals, I wanted to address a special group of mothers that often have a hard time feeling like they are making any progress: the mothers of infants.
Each of us wants to feel a sense of progress in our lives. We’re born with an innate desire to make something more of ourselves, and can do amazing things when we take that desire and couple it with the gifts and resources we’ve been given. But mothers of infants often struggle in this area–especially if they had very progress driven lives before having children.
All the standard markers used to signify progress–grades, diplomas, paychecks, promotions, awards–disappear once you become a mother. Maybe more than any other career choice (and I consider motherhood a career choice), motherhood fails to provide concrete measures of success.
Or does it? I remember visiting the pediatrician’s office a few months after my first child was born and feeling a sense of pride when he proclaimed my child happy and healthy, attributing her well being to my conscientious care. After several months of feeling like my life was nothing more than one eternal cycle of nursing, burping, changing, washing, rocking, and consoling, I suddenly felt a sense of accomplishment. I had single-handedly kept another human being alive and well for months on end! (Okay, my husband helped a little.) From that experience I learned to measure progress in a way I never had before: based on my child’s health and happiness. After all, what could be more important?
Important as it is, mothers still need to have interests and pursuits that fill their wells, and opportunities to progress outside the realm of motherhood. (Saren did a wonderful job covering that here.) But that’s why I’m singling out mothers of infants, because when you have an infant in your care, that kind of progress is next to impossible! Mothers in the tough, early months of caring for an infant around the clock have to think outside the box when it comes to measuring progress. And they have to work even harder at not getting discouraged when that progress seems slow.
Without the usual measures of success to define progress, mothers need to create their own definition of progress. Without a boss or a deadline to keep them motivated, mothers need to be their own boss and create their own deadlines. And considering the pace of life with infants (demanding and unpredictable), measuring progress in terms of finished projects or responsibilities outside the home just isn’t realistic.
That’s where The Bloom Game comes in.
If you’re the mother of an infant that feels like your brain is turning to mush and your goal each day is just to survive, I’m inviting you to sign up for this wonderful online resource through The Power of Moms website. Here’s a sampling of the kind of do-able goals you can make with this fun, easy game created by the founders of our website:
Get outside with your children for a few minutes each day.
Drink a glass of water before each meal.
Make arrangements with a spouse, relative or friend for you to go shopping alone.
Spend 5 minutes a day in prayer.
Turn on uplifting music or educational podcasts while doing laundry or dishes.
Take 5 minutes at the end of each day to note all the things you accomplished. (Keeping your cool in a stressful situation definitely counts!)
Set time limits on the computer and TV for yourself.
Reserve a book just for you at the library and pick it up the next time you go with your children.
While the most important progress we make as mothers is in fact raising intelligent, compassionate, productive human beings (and that’s huge!), The Bloom Game provides a way to also feel a sense of personal accomplishment, in small but meaningful ways.
I know what some of you out there are thinking about this list of goals. It’s insulting and humiliating. You’re more capable than that, right? But it’s surprising how an infant can humble you, and even more surprising how they can mold you into a more grounded, selfless, disciplined person if you allow yourself to let go of previous definitions of progress and success. There will be time enough in the coming years for a fast paced life filled with exciting projects and opportunities. Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’re growing your best self as you put your child first during this relatively short time in both of your lives.
QUESTION: How do you define progress and success as the mother of an infant?
CHALLENGE: Sign up for The Bloom Game!