Are You a Mary or Martha Kind of Mom?

I’m sure your daily to do list is a mile long and a big chunk of it consists of what you need to do for your kids, such as helping with homework, driving them to practices, getting lunches ready, scheduling doctor appointments, and well, you know the drill. We can get so wrapped up into the doing that we miss the opportunity to just be present. It goes back to that super single mom syndrome, of not only doing it all but doing it perfectly, because hey we got this under control, right? Well, it may appear that way, but this is an surefire way to get totally burned out. Always thinking about what you need to do robs you from the gift of being present. Sure, you made it to your kid’s recital, but you’re mind is racing about how you have to pick up a new leotard, or cleats for the soccer game on Saturday, or the dentist appointment you need to schedule, and all the while little Suzy is on stage dancing her toes off. You’re eyes are watching, but you’re mind is a million miles away. You’re not fully enjoying the moment and then it’s over and you go onto the next thing. Listen, you show up and that’s half the battle, but if you’re going to be there, why not savor the time? You deserve better, and frankly so do your kids.
Mary and Martha were two sister who no doubt loved Jesus and wanted to honor him, they just went about it in two different ways. Martha was busy with the preparations. Can’t you can almost see her sweating over the meal she was preparing, worrying about whether it would fit for Jesus? Mary gets a bum rap, but I believe her intentions were good. She was getting things done, checking off those boxes, to ensure that things were on point for Jesus! Mary on the other hand wasn’t so concerned about what was happening in the kitchen. Her reaction to the arrival of Jesus, was not in the physical preparations, but in the spiritual and emotional. She was present. She sat at his feet and gave him her undivided attention. Martha was perturbed that while she was working her fingers to the bone to prepare for Jesus her sister in her opinion was slacking off. They were both serving Jesus, but one had found a good thing, and that was being in communion with Jesus, the one thing that was needful.
I always felt bad for Martha, because I understand her heart. I know how it is getting so caught up in the preparation, trying to make everything look perfect, and then feeling as though it really isn’t appreciated. I believe Jesus did appreciate Martha’s efforts, but I think he was also gently letting her know to stop being troubled about the things that are temporary and to be more present with the things that matter, such as… being present.
I’m not comparing our kids with Jesus, but I think moms can easily fall into a Martha kind of parenting if we become too consumed with prioritizing our duties, and not our relationship with our kids. Both approaches have the best intentions, but there needs to be a balance.
When we our kids become another check mark on our   to do list, life as a mom starts to morph into series of routine errands and a preoccupation with performance, not theirs but ours.  There is so much judgment and pressure on moms to do everything, be everywhere and do it well, it is what society expects of us. I’ve witnessed this at my daughter’s school. There are room moms, but not room dads and nor would they ever think of asking. Moms are expected to show up and we don’t hold men to the same standard. When we do so no, we are made to feel like we are not doing enough, or we don’t care, or can’t be bothered, it is so stinking unfair! So, don’t be hard on yourself with the whole performance thing, because it’s ingrained in us to a degree. Has it helped us? No! We have become burned out, stressed, exhausted, and hold ourselves to an impossible standard. I’m asking you to channel more of your Mary and a little less of your Martha.
Children are not tasks, they are human beings who crave a genuine relationship with their mom and on the flipside we desire the same. When that desire isn’t being satisfied, we slip into a rabbit hole of  just going through the motions of being a mom. Look, there are those seasons, where you’ll be happy to just get through the day, with everyone fed and still breathing. That’s life, it happens and you may need to just focus on the task at hand. However, if  this season is a lifestyle it’s probably time to try a different way.
I get frustrated and burned out when I feel like the only purpose I have as a mom is making that all the errands get completed. When I start to feel like just an Uber driver or get caught up into making sure everything is working perfectly, it makes me feel further away from my daughter. It’s like my role as mom has been diminished. If I look at her as a check box on a long list of things to do, then I’m not giving our relationship, the dignity or respect it deserves. That to do list may be filled with items that relate to her, but they are not her. I can take care of daily to do’s, but am I taking care of the person, or the relationship? This is a key question to ask ourselves. In my heart when I know that I’m putting more emphasis on the stuff than her, it makes feel awful, which in turn makes me incredibly hard on myself.
Life is too short and too uncertain to allow moments to slip away. When you are gone from this earth, your children will cherish the relationship and the memories you created. Sure, they’ll remember that mom juggled a million and things and totally rocked, but nothing will replace the memory of you being present and engaged. Give yourself permission to stray from the to do list, and spend quality time with your kids. Creating memories will last way longer than making sure dinner is on the table at precisely 6:00 pm. You may have to run a tight ship, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play hard, laugh a lot, and enjoy one another’s company. I know you’re trying to keep all the wheels turning, but don’t get run over by them! Enjoy the ride! You are a gift to each other, so make sure you take the time to unwrap all the delightful surprises that come with your family. In my upcoming eBook, “15 Tips to Avoid Single Mom Burnout,” I’ll give you practical tips on how you can be a little less Martha and a little more Mary!

Avoid Single Mom Burnout Tip #11…Get Into a Knowledgeable Relationship With Your Money!

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Money, Money, Money,…Do you hear me singing that line? Remember that song? Or maybe I’m showing my age. In any case… Ah, money it can give us great pain or great gain. One of the biggest stressors I hear from single moms is that they are stressed about either the lack of money, debt, or saving money. I have had and still have my fair share of struggles with the good old American dollar. What I’ve come to realize is that for me not to get so burned out about money, it is important to develop a relationship with money. I know it may sound a little weird, but whether you know it or not, you’ve been in a relationship with money practically your whole life! We all have a belief system surrounding money and it has impacted on how we earn money, save money, invest money, ask for money and enjoy money! If you’re experiencing a difficult time financially, examine what you believe about money. Get knowledgeable about your relationship with money and decide if it needs to evolve.

God knew that money would be tricky and that is why the Bible talks a lot about money and how to be a good steward of money. This is where our relationship has its foundation. First, we need to look at what God says about money, then we need to look at our belief system surrounding money, and then prayerfully make changes to our relationship with money and get brutally honest with ourselves on how we want to earn, save, ask, invest and enjoy money!

In my upcoming e-Book, 15 Tips on Avoiding Single Mom Burnout, I discuss a few tips that can help you avoid burnout when it comes to money! One tip is to create an additional source of income. You may be thinking, sure that would be great except I’m tapped out with one job! Listen, you creative beautiful being you have an unlimited potential to be abundant because you are God’s design. Think outside the box and invest in your passion, tap into your resources! A multiple source of income will give you some cushion and more peace of mind! Other tips I’ll discuss are saving, child support, ways to become knowledgeable about your money and more.

Avoid Single Mom Burnout Tip #5…Give Yourself a Timeout!

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Timeouts are not just for toddlers! Listen, kids stretch your patience like a gumby doll. Sometimes it’s just all too much right? The whining, the crying the back talk (if you have teens you get me), the constant running around, homework, housework, work-work, and everything else in between can seriously make you lose it. It’s okay you are only human and sometimes you just need to scream in a pillow, or just be alone for a minute. Or maybe you’ve already had enough and blew up, and everyone is looking at you like you lost your mind. It is time to put yourself in a time out! Why do we put toddlers in a timeout? Because it helps them to calm down. They may fight it at first, but usually after a few minutes, they stop crying, are breathing normally and have turned back into the sweet cherub you know and love. They may even say sorry in that adorable voice that makes your heart melt. Why? They had a moment to just sit and deal with their emotions. We need that moment every once in a while to regain some peace and restore our sanity!

In my e-Book, “15 Tips to Avoid Single Mom Burnout,” I give practical tips on finding ways to give yourself a timeout regardless of the age of your children. One of my favorite time outs, is simply sitting in the car in complete silence. That time is delicious! Finding a moment to breathe will prevent blow-ups and will save you from regrets that come when mom is burned out!

 

Avoid Single Mom Burnout, Tip # 12… Create Your Own Narrative

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There are a lot of unfair stereotypes, judgments and expectations on single moms, that are simply untrue. It is easy to get caught up into what others think about you. I want you to use discretion about who you allow to speak into your life. You are not a statistic and you are not in a box. I know many single moms who do not resemble this downtrodden struggling caricature of a false narrative. Is life hard at times? Heck yeah! And it’s hard for moms who are married, for single dads, and everyone else on earth! Single parents do face certain issues that are unique to their circumstances, but that doesn’t justify the labels that are thrust upon single moms.

Listen, you are a unique child of God! You are not a statistic and you’re identity is not in your marital status it is in Christ. You are fully equipped to create and live the life you love. Other people don’t have the right or the power to create your narrative, unless you allow them. When you allow other’s expectations, judgments and stereotypes to seep into your mind, you create feelings of inadequacy in yourself. You can start to believe and act in a way that fulfills those stereotype and you my friend are too smart for that! Your book has many chapters to fill, write them with God and the vision you have for your life in mind!

In my upcoming eBook, “15 Tips to Avoid Single Mom Burnout,” I will hit upon 4 points that will help you to create your narrative on your terms!