Hi, I’m Vanessa, and I’m an overachiever.
I was always told that my overachiever-ness was a character flaw. That deep down I was trying to impress others and get approval from them instead of God.
But now I’m older and wiser and I know that’s not it at all.
I’m an overachiever because I just LOVE working. I love creating, I love getting ideas and obsessing over them and working on them and seeing them come to life. I get so much INNER pleasure from creating things that help others to make their lives better.
It’s who I was created to be.
Sure, there might be some selfishness in me (actually I know for a fact there is a lot!) – not denying, but that doesn’t mean my love for DOING THINGS is in and of itself wrong.
So…FREEDOM there for you sister, if you are right there next to me in your love of getting things DONE.
That AMAZING feeling you get from seeing that to-do list checked off.
The inability to sleep-in, even when you can, because there’s stuff to DO!!
Always needing to be working on something when you are watching TV because TV just isn’t productive enough.
I’m right there with you sister.
When I became a mother – and a mother of three – in three years, my entire world was turned UPSIDE DOWN. In many ways, but the one that was the most disorienting for me was not ever feeling like I was getting ANYTHING done. Ever.
I was working, all day long.
I was exhausted.
I was simultaneously bored to death with the mundane tasks of caring for small children and overwhelmed at the thought of adding anything else.
Setting goals seemed laughable for me. I can barely take a shower – please.
However, let me suggest that setting goals as a mother can actually work – the goals just need to be tweaked a little.
Here’s what I’ve done that has helped me feel like I’m moving toward SOMETHING even on the hardest, most “unproductive” days.
1.Start with the end in mind
What is my end goal for my children? Do I just want to keep them alive? Do I want to teach them a certain way of life, or to love a certain thing? Do I want them to know a certain body of information?
I had a general idea of what I wanted for my kids when I first started, but over time I’ve more clearly defined it and the more I do, the better I feel at the end of each day. Let me give an example.
One of my goals for my children is that they would work hard.
When I focus on this goal it transforms many of my daily tasks. Picking up toys all day long and including my kids in the clean up time – no matter how boring or tedious or painful it feels (ever tried to get a 3 year old, 5 year old and 7 year old to clean up? painful!) it is no longer just a thing I do as a mom…it is a tactic, an action item, I am implementing to reach my goal of producing hard working children.
The hard thing about motherhood is that it is SUCH a LONG game! We are talking about goals that may not show for 18 YEARS (or more)!! And it’s so easy to throw in the towel – to do what’s easy, to complain over the soul-sucking, menial, redundant tasks that take all our time and seem to accomplish NOTHING.
The only way I keep my sanity (and whether or not I have actually kept my sanity is up for debate) is by constantly reminding myself WHY I am doing the things I do – and what goal these tasks are walking me toward.
Don’t back away from setting goals mama! I know it seems useless – but instead of setting goals like: “Clean the cushions on the couch” Go BIGGER! Sometimes, teaching our kids hard work will involve cleaning the cushions, but sometimes, it’s just folding that laundry that is sitting ON the cushions and doing it with joy.
2. Celebrate EVERY tiny victory
And I mean EVERY single one. Setting goals and working toward them is hard, and discouraging, and the ONLY way we keep going is if we bring some joy to it – and for me joy = progress!!
I celebrate EVERY win – if my kid doesn’t throw a tantrum when I ask them to clean up their toys – I basically start dancing around the house. My kids love it, and it helps me to LOOK for what is going right instead of focusing on all the things that are going wrong. (why is it so easy to see the wrong?)
I celebrate this in any and every way I can. Sometimes I text my husband, my mom, my friends, post on Facebook, dance around, give stickers to everyone (including myself).
Do not underestimate the power of a pat on the back.
3. Know where your worth lies
I’ve had to fight so hard (and still do) to believe this, so when I write these words, I NEED to hear them as badly as anyone: “My worth is not in how much I achieve or how good of a mother I am.”
My worth and my value is MINE and it is SECURE because I am a daughter of God – made in His image. I am deeply loved and valued and I am precious. Nothing need be added to increase that. On the days I blow it, do nothing, snap at the kids, get in an argument with my husband – I am no less loved than on the days when I am Martha freaking Stewart and do all the things.
I have little notes all around my house telling me: “You are beautiful” “You are powerful” “Your smile lights up the room” “God’s favor rests with you”
I need to see them. I need to believe them. I need to be able to pick myself up after a long hard day and say: “I AM ENOUGH”
I need to because it’s my actions not my words that will transfer to my children and if I want their inner dialogue to be one of acceptance and worth – mine HAS TO BE.
These three concepts have revolutionized my goal setting as a mother. I have started with the end (and I mean, 18+ years down the road, end) in mind, I have placed long term value to short term, menial tasks. I have learned to look for and celebrate every single victory to keep me moving, energized and focused. And I am continuously placing and re-placing my worth and value in who God says I am.
We can set goals mamas!! We can run towards them!! We can run after those goals with FREEDOM not condemnation – because we are valued and loved by God and called by HIM to mold and nurture some amazing little humans.
Here is a worksheet I created for myself to write down three to four character traits I want to produce in my sweet babies and then a few actions that will move me toward in that long term goal. I keep it to just a few character traits (sometimes it’s just ONE) and I switch it out every three months. I can’t focus on EVERY area with my kids, ALL the time, but taking each quarter of the year and focusing on a few areas, helps me and the kids be focused and intentional.
I hope this serves you as we labor together in this task of motherhood.