How to Set Yourself Up for Personal Success as a Mom

What does success as a mom look like? Parenting is quite different from any other job. Metrics abound when it comes to teaching, entrepreneurship, office jobs, etc. You have specific, measurable goals, and are often evaluated. Check off these boxes and you will be successful. But what does that look like when it comes to being a mom? Do you feel like you’re missing the mark? What even is the mark? How can you end your days, weeks, months, and years with a sense of accomplishment whether you are a working mom or not? 

My Experience

I have four kids and the last two are 12 months apart. In the first 4-5 years of these little lives, I did not feel particularly successful. I seemed to always feel overwhelmed and like I was just trying to survive each day. Several “moment of despair” feelings. I wish I could go back and tell myself to take a deep breath, soak in the time, focus on the long-term, big-picture goals.

 As my four kids get older I find myself thinking more about success as a mom. I think we can all agree that if we get one thing right in life, we want it to be our relationships formed within our homes–the relationships in which we are “Mom”. While this is a good goal and our priorities seem to be in order, this mindset can add a significant amount of pressure to our already heavy load. We want to do things in a different way than before. 

Why We Must Define Personal Success as a Mom

We can understand that success in its most basic terms is to get what you desire. This could mean many things: a promotion at work, a certain income level, a certain marriage, to weigh a certain number or even a certain level of mental health. This is why success must have the qualifier of personal before it. The way people measure success, and especially moms, will be extremely different. Success means different things to different people and for you to feel successful you must have the proper parameters. This is the first step.

How do you know how to Measure your Success as a Mom?

If success can be different for everyone, it is absolutely vital to know where you want to end up or what you’re measuring stick is. Do you want your kids to have great jobs, marriages, etc? Do you want them to be involved in a local church, to have a lot of kids? Do you want them to homeschool their kids and live near you so you can help out? Starting with the end in mind is a must. 

All of those goals for your kids are fantastic–but we need to be careful here. Don’t measure your personal success on your kids future lives or output. That takes the personal out of the success. You can’t measure your personal success on someone else’s actions.

Define Personal Success with a Clear Vision

Having goals like being a better mom or wife may sound like good things but actually are like controlling a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon with one string that is unraveling. Haha! I just pictured that messy situation in my head. You have this good priority or goal but it is just too large to work towards without more strings to hold it down. You end up getting off of the right path, going in the wrong direction, and then course-correcting more than you should when approached this way.

 Being a better mom and not yelling so much are good personal goals, but what does that mean to you? Does that mean you will have the best relationship possible with your kids when they leave the house? Okay, well then how do you foster good relationships? You have to invest the time now, along the way to have a good relationship later. Then, think of the best ways to invest your time with your children now. Should you do ALL the after-school activities? Have open conversations with your children now so they will have the chance to be more open with you later. You have to be clear on your overall goal regarding family life and then have specific ways to get to that goal. This is the way to walk the clearest, straightest path. No more wavering for no reason. 

Long-Term Goals Beat Short-Term Comforts Every Time

The first thing to do is keep the vision at the forefront of all decisions you make as a mom helps to keep you on track. In a season of survival? Ask for help from your spouse or friends to encourage you to keep at it. Do you just want to turn on the TV for a few hours of babysitting? I’m just honest- it’s okay to do sometimes—I am doing that right now so I can write this post. However, I know that using screens too often as a babysitter or time occupier will have severely diminishing returns for my relationship with my kids. Take a deep breath, and make them go outside. Teach them how to play cards. Read aloud to them. You will both appreciate it in the long run.  

Don’t Let this Overwhelm You

Don’t let new goals bog you down. This is much more about small steps in the right direction. Every day is a new day. Using the parade balloon from before, you can’t run that sucker five blocks in 30 seconds. It is about a lot of small steps along the right path. Being a mother can be looked at as an act of obedience to the Lord. God has given you this gift—to be a mother and to steward the gift of a child, a life. The child is not yours to manipulate and control, but to love, nurture, discipline, and encourage. So have the picture in mind that motherhood is a long obedience in the same direction. There are so many ups and downs and many things can get in the way if you aren’t careful. So, just take baby steps at first. Get your bearings and then keep walking…and don’t stop. Small win after small win.

Watch out for Snares

Remember to watch for the things that will trip you up: 

To have success as a mom you must know where your self-worth comes from. Your worth is in your secure place in Christ. Your identity in Christ never changes and is the one thing that no one can ever take from you. Rest comes in and through Christ. 

The next snare is comparison which is so difficult to combat now thanks to social media platforms. Should you get off of those for good? Perhaps. But what about trying something else first? What if you realize that those other moms on that platform have different metrics and different end goals? That mom may measure part of her success on whether her kids come in contact with anything toxic. That is one of her priorities and that is okay for her to have that priority. You do not have to have that same priority. It is okay for us to have different goals and priorities even as sisters in Christ! We must get to a point where we can embrace each other’s differences. You cannot compare apples to oranges—so don’t do it! 

The Most Important Things 

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to remember that nothing is a formula. You could be the best parent on the planet and your kid could end up in any number of horrible circumstances. If this is your case then rest in the fact that it is not your fault. As moms, none of us will get this parenting thing perfect. There is no formula. How your child ends up is not a direct reflection of you–you have your own life too.

My goal is to look back on the time spent raising my children with as little regret as possible.  I know I will have many regrets—I already do and they are still young. However, it is so important to have a framework of personal success so that I can parent intentionally. I want to live my life on purpose, not in a reactionary way. I could have a to-do list a mile long, but I know that I can still enjoy each day if I don’t get it all done. Why? Because I know I have done the most important thing with the greatest intentionality. It is a very free way to live. I don’t have a 90-day plan or anything, but I do have a successful mom pack in the shop if you want to check it out. It offers pdfs and a video guide.

What I want to leave you with is the importance of being a cheerleader. Us moms need each other for encouragement. Whether you agree with me sending my kids to public school or not—doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I need encouragement to press on to my end goal. To run the race well as a mother. When I am off track I need encouragement to course correct. Heck, I might even need you to come grab one of the strings of my parade balloon for a block or two! Let’s stop comparing and urge each other onto our own versions of successful mothering. Be the kind of mom that cheers on your children as well as your peers. Be a team member, not an opponent. We all need a helping hand and a good support system. If you are lacking in such things, welcome to a group of moms just like you (LINK). 

Written by Ginny Vangsnes

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