Joyful in 2020 | The Speckled Goat: Joyful in 2020


Joyful in 2020

Well, here we are. 2020. A fresh new year and a fresh new decade.

I've seen the sentiment a couple of times- why all the pressure on setting goals and resolutions on January 1? Shouldn't we just start a new plan or a new idea whenever we're ready, whenever it's just time to make a change? And while I agree that change doesn't follow the calendar and any time is the right time to begin again, there's just something that I find so helpful about having this day; a day that is marked, set aside, celebrated - a day to start new.

To be honest, I've never really been one for resolutions. I have a perfectionist streak - and typically what happens is that if I fail once, I totally throw in the towel and give up. It's all or nothing. Probably not the best way to go about things, but oh well. I am who I am, I suppose. I'm not much of a resolution person, but there was a trend that started a couple years ago where people chose one word for the year. I liked that. Unlike "have quiet time every day" or "exercise three times a week," one word is much simpler, and in my mind, it's much less likely I'll fail.

This year, I knew exactly what word I wanted to focus on.


About a month ago, I came across an interview with a Youtube... ist? a Youtuber? Is that the term? A mom who has a channel on Youtube with parenting tips. Anyway. In the interview, she said something to the effect of, "God has called us to be joyful mothers of children."

And it resonated.


And then I went and found the verse she was referencing and read -

Psalm 113:9 - "He gives the childless woman a home and makes her the joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!" 

I mean, that's exactly what God has done for me. And yet, I'm not sure that "joyful" is an accurate description of who I am as a mother.

Honestly, when I look at the kind of mother I'm trying to be, "joyful" is one word that only occasionally makes the list. There are so many other measures, so many other standards that I think I have to meet in order to be a good mom. The list is kind of endless. There's always something that I've decided I'm doing wrong. I have such super high expectations of my own parenting. Most of the time, I can succeed at my own high standards for a couple days, maybe for a week or two, and then I "mess up" and I am so angry with myself for not meeting my own ideals that I lash out at my husband or stomp around my house with anything but joy in my heart.

And then when I mess up my own self-imposed laws, I become that other kind of mother-- the one I'm trying not to be. A flustered mother. A frustrated mother, a brow-beaten mother, an overwhelmed mother. A tired mother, an anxious mother, a grouchy mother, a martyr mother.

After a couple days of royally failing at everything, I end up being the guilt-ridden mother and the contrite mother and come up with some new way to try harder to meet my own impossible standards. And then I swing back the other direction for a while, only to fail again.

It's a horrible roller coaster of pushing too hard, burning out, crashing, and then rebuilding just to start the whole thing over again. 

It's definitely not joyful.

But when I hold my own ideas up to the truth of scripture?

Guess what, there's not a lot in there that speaks specifically to motherhood. You won't find most of my self-inflicted rules in the Bible. God never says that I'm supposed to be any of those things.

The Bible never says God has made me a perfect mother.

or a no-screen time mother 
or an organic mother 
or a co-sleeping mother 
or a sleep-training mother 
or an organized mother 
or an exclusively breastfeeding mother 
or a crafty mother 
or an athletic mother 
or a baking mother 
or a baby-led-weaning mother 
or a homeschooling mother 
or a school board mother 
 or a fashionable mother
or a soccer mother 
or a cloth diapering mother 
or an amazing housekeeper mother

... and the list of what I think I'm supposed to be just keeps getting longer and longer. And none of these are bad things-- they're just not the best thing.

If I find my entire mothering identity in any of these (so many of which are things I can't always control, are very short-lived, or sap me of joy when I try to adhere to them too strictly), I will fail and burn out, and I will flounder with trials or change.

And even if I can check all those things off my list, I've missed the point. And I will probably have missed the true calling of what I'm really supposed to be.


God has made me the joyful mother of children.

So this year, that's what I'd like to focus on.

Well, okay, so one of my boys is up early from his nap, and instead of being frustrated that I can't finish this blog post the way I'd like to, I'm going to choose joy instead, go get him, and just publish this the way it is. I'll have to pick this up again another time- I've got more to say about how I plan to live more joyfully in 2020. I'll have to share that later!

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1 comment :

  1. Being a joyful mother, who puts aside the truly unimportant to spend time with her children, is a mother who is giving her children the best gift of all...a happy mom giving her time, herself, to her children. These are the best years of your life, especially if you keep your eye on the prize - your children. Nothing will replace you playing, cuddling and teaching your children. That is an investment that pays high returns. Choose joy!!!