What does being an intentional mom mean? The word intentional incorporates being proactive, thoughtful, and committed in the things we think and say. It means having a plan, and more importantly, following that plan through.
I don’t know about you, but so often I have wanted to do things differently, but a failure to plan and a failure to making a commitment left this desire to do things differently to fall flat soon after the desire to travel a new path was born.
So how could I do things differently this time? This is where the word intentional came into play for me. I needed something stronger that just wanting, something more permanent a fleeting pie-in-the-sky hope that somehow my thoughts alone would somehow carry me into a different outcome.
Tired of getting stuck in the “thought only” mode, I knew that what I needed for a different outcome was a commitment. But a commitment to what? What was it that I was going to commit to?
I decided that I would commit to being intentional. I was going to commit to thinking – a lot. Before another day at home with my kids passed me by, I was going to be proactive in the things I thought and in the things I did. Of course I know that there are parts of my day that have to be focused on the pressing matters, but I decided to focus on small amounts of time. I decided to plan pockets of time into my day when I was going to be intentional. Pockets of time in my day when I was going to be just mom. During these times I was not going to be a teacher, an office manager, a daughter, sister, or friend. I was not going to be working, or writing, or even planning the shopping list for the week. I was not going to be looking for a new recipe to try on Pinterest or seeing what people were up to on Facebook.
During these times, I was going to be an intentional mom.
These pockets of time took shape, and what they became were times that all distractions were removed when I could focus on being an intentional mom. For me, this meant that from the hours of 9 until 10 in the morning, from 1 until 2 in the afternoon, and from 5:30 until 7:30 at night the computer was off, any noises from my phone would be ignored (sometimes I even turn it off!), and household or “office” type tasks that would remove me from the heartbeat of my family would be put on hold until this time was up.
And do you know what I discovered? This was not hard, not hard at all to do. I found that after a very short period of time, I actually looked forward to these withdrawals from the world. I had given myself permission to live in the moment, which also meant that my mind had to live in the moment. This rarely happens naturally for me since my brain is always having to think ahead two steps, but it was not hard to do. I found this to be such a relief. Because I was determined to be successful in being an intentional mom, I had to quiet my mind in addition to all the outside distractions that clamor for a place in my life.
It didn’t take me long to start actually enjoying my children, not that I didn’t enjoy them before necessarily, but those moments of wonderment that my younger kids are forever jabbering about became as intriguing to me as they are to them. I realized how often my kids say things to me when I never really heard what they said. Rare were the times that I engaged them in conversation about nothing at all, and even rarer still were the times that I just said something goofy or encouraged them to say or do something goofy. Those times when we laughed about nothing at all, really.
These times of respite in my day began as something to affect my children in a special way, but it wasn’t even two weeks before I realized that they were even more of a blessing to me than they were to them.
Or were they?
I don’t think it is a coincidence that less than a month in to this mission I received four emails from two of my girls saying they loved me, or telling me what they appreciated about me. I found that the more I listened and interacted with my youngest daughter the more she talked. She told me fun and funny things about her day. She wondered with me, she asked deep questions (and I answered), and she even sang cute little ditty type songs while just the two of us were in the car. Because of these things I knew I was on the right track. I knew every minute spent on being intentional was an investment in the present and in the future.
As if these things weren’t enough to convince me, my youngest daughter, my girl with the dancing eyes, told me something that made me pause. In fact, it knocked my right off my feet. We were talking while working on making some things in the kitchen together, just the two of us, when she said, “Your eyes are different than they used to be. Your eyes always listen when I talk now. I like that.”
Wow, how long had my eyes not been listening when she talked? Not sure I want to know the answer to that one. In that moment I just wanted to savor the words she had just said to me, and I knew I needed to sit down in order to let that sink in.
In as much as I knew I was on the right path, I also knew that I couldn’t regret where I had been. I knew, I know, that I cannot worry about what I missed. There is no value in that, but I know that I can be so grateful for the gift I have found in this journey. The gift I have found in simply being intentional with these specific parts of my day. The treasure that is yours for the taking in developing a plan, making a commitment to executing your plan, and the following through on that plan in being an intentional mom yourself. But that means you must also give yourself grace for maybe being a bit less than intentional in the past. Look to the here and now, look towards the future, and find what being an intuitional mom would mean in your own life.
Come along with me on this journey of being an Intentional Mom