For the Happiest of Mother’s Days

A few months ago I signed up to run local 10k in April.  For many of the 40k participants, this race is a great local pastime.  Some train, others don’t, but everyone comes out for it and it is a great event.  They even have a service at the Cathedral to bless the runners beforehand!

For me, the race was to be my premier race following the birth of our fourth child last June.  My comeback.  It was important.  Therefore, I set some lofty goals to help motivate me to train through the winter months.  One, in particular, was a time goal that was relatively fast and required a good amount of speed training.

As my goal-setting was transpiring, I could almost see my husband doing an interior rolling of the eyes, “Why do you have to set your sights so high? he asked, “Why not go out and enjoy yourself like everyone else out there?”  “Because,” I responded.  That’s all I could come up with.  Because.

After thinking through it more and considering why I was putting myself through undue stress, it hit me.

GOALS.  As a mother, I’m not forced to have them.  I don’t have anyone looking over my shoulder to measure my progress.  I don’t have an annual report or review.  It’s all up to me.  As a result, I need personal goals now in my life more than ever.  Without goals, I can potentially lolly around with no direction and no sense of achievement.  I can float from mom task to mom task without noticing the minutes and hours quickly passing.  Life can take on superficiality and carelessness.  My interactions with my children can be meaningless and without purpose.  Life can just be.

In the past, goals are what challenged me to achieve in my day to day at school, in the workplace, on the track.  It’s no surprise I need them just as much now in my home, the center of my world.

Goals.  They are my prescription for all the moms out there this Mother’s Day 2011.  We need them.  Sometimes we begrudge them.  But oh, they are so good for us.

For my master’s thesis, I studied the correlation between goal-setting and achievement in my eighth grade student body.  The answers I found were obvious.  If a student set goals for a particular task, he/she was much more likely to attain the goal and potentially push past previous performance toward greater achievement.  Excellent.  Here’s the caveat: The more specific the goal, the more likely it was to be achieved.

Therefore, if a mom wakes up one morning and says, “I’d really like to be more organized.”  That’s a good start.  But if she continues and says, “Today I aim to organize my junk drawer.”  Then, voila!, her likelihood of success is much greater.  Perhaps other specific goals need to also follow to ensure the success of the first goal, like, “Today I am going to be showered and dressed by 9am” which would inevitably lead to greater productivity and the greater chance that she will, in fact, get around to cleaning that drawer!

Think of this as a glorified to-do list.  It has tasks, but each is more specific and defined.  Each task should have a timeline for when it is to be completed.  Each task should also have an appropriate plan in place as to how it is to get done.  “Clean the garage” is no longer acceptable.  It needs to be “Today: Remove bikes and toys then sweep the garage”; “Tomorrow: hose down toys and bikes, hose down garage floor, let all dry”;  etc. etc.  You get the picture.

Goals.  Let’s make ’em, moms.  Let’s fashion them specifically, appropriately, and within reach.  And then let’s achieve them.  Cheers to a well-earned Mother’s Day from your life coach (haha), B-mama ;).

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  • Jurismater

    B-mama, this is awesome. So well said, and this wisdom holds true across all personalities and temperaments. For me, goal setting is really easy (and sometimes I need to set fewer goals and cultivate contentment and peace), but it’s also crucial for my motivation to keep doing it regularly.nnAnd great point underlying this about how we need BOTH home/family-related goals (I’m going to organize the girl hand-me-downs tonight) and also personal, totally separate goals (certain mile splits in a race). Or natural birthing which combines both : ) Thanks for the reminder that the more specific, the better–I’m not always great at this, and while I can still get the job done, I’m often less focused and less efficient as a result. Keep reminding us of this from time to time.

  • AWOL Mommy

    Hey, Didn’t you just have a baby? Who are you?nnnReaders, the JM family welcomed a (naturally born) 9 lb. baby boy on May 3rd. She now leaves us w/o a pregnant builder, which is always a nice gauntlet to throw down with this crew.nnnCongratulations to the JurisFamily. We want pics.n

  • Wow, B-mama! You are inspiring….. I set a goal after baby number three by signing up for a 5K race, yes a 5K. I had four months to “train” for it. The first month started out strong with lots of running and then everyone got sick for pretty much 2 months. I forced myself to run the race I had signed up for even though I had not put on my running shoes in 2 and 1/2 months. My new goal was to never stop running. I never did, but by golly a 60 year old speed walker beat me and another one was neck in neck until the bitter end where I finally pulled ahead. nThanks for the reminder. nnAnd for the record I find speed walkers super impressive, it looks so uncomfortable and painful…

  • JMB

    Well this is probably why all you Builders went to Princeton and I did not. I have not had a concrete goal for myself for years. I basically wing it every year. I figure, if I am still married to the same guy, our children are reasonably happy and productive, our dogs are fed and walked, our house is in presentable condition on a daily basis, and I have time to work on my spiritual life, then I’m doing alright. I’ve been out of the workforce/school mentality for so many years which basically only affirms productivity. What I’m doing is mostly just behind the scenes stuff. I did, however, make a mental commitment to be able to hold a plank for 2 minutes during exercise class and that I achieved. I was also somewhat inspired/disgusted by the “extreme coupon” show in TLC and decided that I should try to use coupons for stuff other than clothes at Lord & Taylor. So there you have it! n

  • Anonymous

    Wish I had more time to comment, but so much of what you said is so true! Goals are really important. Setting HOLY goals for ourselves and for our family is essential. The key word here is HOLY as I realize some of us type A gals can tend to overachieve in all sorts of non-essential areas ;-)n