You can tell how long we’ve been moms by the gifts we give at baby showers. Fifteen years ago, I’d arrive toting an adorable Macy’s dry-clean-only (a.k.a. destined for re-gifting) baby outfit. Today, I come with diapers, burp cloths and coupons for babysitting when mom-to-be is at her wit’s end!
I’m convinced that we all need to be showered with good stuff long after the wrapping paper and hoopla is gone.
Having now coached many women and moms, I’ve discovered a few gifts that do just that. Gifts we can give ourselves to find showers of abundance—to truly thrive instead of feeling overwhelmed or anxious. They’re principles I hope to leave as my legacy for my own daughters as someday-moms, and how I seek to live life every day.
Be Present. Notice the one you’re with—their words, gestures, and what they’re NOT saying. With four daughters of my own, trust me, I know it’s tough! We can go whole days without even really looking at others as we shuffle from activity to appointment to homework… But real life is happening right now, right where you are. When you’re present, you’ll experience that life and finish your days, months and years content and full.
Invest in your strengths. We each have a handful of natural talents—things we do really well with relatively little effort. Choosing to lean into these is life-giving, and energy-restoring. For me, it’s encouraging people. After my fourth baby, I kept speaking and even finished my life coaching certification that first year, postpartum. People thought I was nuts for doing it then, but it buoyed me and brought a sense of worth in the midst of bleary-eyed diaper years. It may seem impossible to invest in your strengths when you’re feeling hard-pressed, too. But, friend, living your strengths is the shortest road to confident, joy-filled living.
Learn how to forgive. If your strengths are your number one asset, resentment is the number one way to sabotage them. It drains your energy, shifts your focus from what’s good and real in life, and keeps you hooked up to a poison IV. Anne Lamott sums it up this way: “Unforgiveness is like swallowing a vial of rat poison, then waiting for the rat to die.” Who needs that as a mom?? So spit out that poison, friend, however you possibly can!
Exercise gratitude. Before you pick up your next parenting book, read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts (Zondervan, 2011). It is a game-changer that will open you up to God’s abundant life as a woman and mom. As you read, take the author’s advice and keep a gratitude journal. Even with my challenging foster/adopted kids, life suddenly looked amazing as I read and intentionally noted the good in all our crazy. Who doesn’t need a shot in the arm like that??
How can you shower yourself with these ideas today?
Laurie Wallin is a wife and mother of four – two foster-adopted with special needs – who is learning to love life on the edge of her sanity. A speaker and certified life coach, she relishes helping women and moms to thrive in the midst of extraordinary challenges.