Sometimes life changes so slowly that the changes are unnoticeable at the time, until one day you look back at how far you’ve come. We see the results of things that happen over a long period all the time. Take this list, for example, of things that change just a little bit at a time.
- Gaining weight
- Losing weight
- Growing your hair out
- Saving a lot of money
- Being a good husband/wife
- Raising kids to be smart, kind, appreciative, athletic, independent, etc. (whatever you consider to be important in your children)
- Learning a skill
- Finishing school
- Being a collector of something ( you don’t buy the whole collection at one time)
- Building a house
- Paying off debt
In the same way that you can only walk a mile by repeatedly making steps in the same direction, you become the person you are by steps in the same direction. That can be either good or bad, the only difference is where your focus is. You must keep your focus on where, or who, you want to be because good things don’t happen by accident. In order to get to where we really want to be, we have to intentionally make steps in that direction over and over again.
If we are not intentional about our end goal, then we slowly go the opposite way and eventually end up in a place that we never wanted to be.
Imagine going on a road trip. If you get in the car and just drive, sure, you’ll end up somewhere, but it probably won’t be where you wanted to be. Why is that? Because you didn’t focus on a goal and intentionally make turns in that direction (pun intended).
Being a mom is the same way. Everyday we make choices about the kind of mom we are being, even without realizing it. Are we being kind, patient, and understanding, or angry, bitter, too busy for your kids everyday? So many people say they slowly see themselves turning into their parents (becoming the type of mom or dad THEY had growing up). Are you becoming your mom or dad? If you are, is that good or bad? Are you making choices that are leading to the type of person you want to be?
It’s the idea that if we do the right things consistently over a long period of time, the future we want becomes more and more inevitable because our actions compound upon one another.
For example, before kids, I always thought I wouldn’t let my kids be raised with the tv being their babysitter. Sometimes I catch myself turning on the tv for them almost the entire day, because it’s easiest for me. But then I remember that I don’t want to be like that and, in the long run, I would rather their memories with me be of quality time together, instead of tv time all day every day. (I’m not against tv for the parents to have a break. I just don’t want the tv to be their constant babysitter.)
And I know parents get upset when things go wrong (like when something is spilled for the 15th time that day), but it’s important to make sure we aren’t only yelling or talking down to the kids. We have to also be intentionally calm, patient, loving, etc. They are kids that need love and forgiveness, that need a good example of how to show both happiness and anger, and they are not yet responsible people.
Everything we do is a choice. Making the same choices consistently create habits. Habits make up who we are.
Everyday we are becoming the mom they will always remember. I don’t want to be a mom that was always angry or a mom that was always too busy to hear what my kids have to say or too busy to look at their drawings or watch their soccer games. I want my kids to know that I was the type of mom that was not perfect, but did my best to give them everything they needed. So I will stay focused on being that type of mom because it’s never too late to change your habits.