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Episode 005

Episode 005

Moms have a lot of things to work through…a lot of issues that come up…a lot of problems to solve in every season of motherhood.

And there is no one size fits all answer for any of these issues or problems.

But there is a problem with one of the common solutions and perspectives that are offered up by others…and that problem is “convenience.”

In fact, the notion of “convenience” is so common that moms have started to look through that lens of convenience FIRST when looking for help or offering advice. We’re suddenly spending our time searching for the most “convenient” answer over what’s most effective for us and our family.

Our society has sold us on the notion that our lives need to be convenient. Convenience is a shiny object, the thing we lust over in our busy, overwhelming days as moms. “Buy this product, do this thing and your life will be more convenient. We promise you convenience.”

But I’m finding this lens to be harmful.

An issue comes up in parenting…let’s say our kid won’t sleep through the night—and suddenly people are offering out “convenient” things to buy or do as solutions. Quick fixes like “Here…buy this blanket, buy this sleep course, buy this sound machine, buy melatonin, buy these “things” that will do the work for you.”

And while there are tools that can help us with sleep—and yes, some of them might be convenient—this mindset of convenience is having a huge negative effect on our mothering culture.

Because when those convenient things aren’t working, we’re left floundering and feeling like a failure. We’re not encouraged or motivated to dig deeper or look at the bigger picture.

These messages have trained our brains to think about our quality of life in terms of whether it’s convenient or inconvenient.

I mean, it sounds appealing, right? Who wouldn’t want a short cut now and then?

But “now and then” has turned into more and more often. We aren’t looking for short cuts or convenience every once in a while, we’re expecting it every moment of the day.

And convenience comes at a cost. Moments of ease are not free.

On an environmental level, convenience is a major cause of pollution.

On a motherhood level, the lie of convenience has trained our brains to expect it. And when something comes up in our day that isn’t “convenient,” we get irritated. It’s gotten to a point that we aren’t handling even the most basic required tasks without getting frustrated.

I’m seeing moms get irritated because of everything these days (in person and on social media).

I see moms get irritated that they have to take our kids to the dentist—because that’s inconvenient.

We get irritated because we have to cook our own food if we want to make healthy choices—that’s inconvenient.

We have to stop and get gas on our way to an event & now we’re running late—how inconvenient.

Our kids aren’t doing exactly what we want them to do—that’s inconvenient.

Our toddler melts down in the store because we pushed nap time too far—that meltdown is suddenly #inconvenient.

The truth is, that’s life! Those things are all a normal part of motherhood and life! They are part of our everyday responsibilities as a mother and yet we’ve been trained to see them as irritating or getting in the way of our life—but those things ARE our life! They’re our responsibility and part of motherhood, part of our everyday survival.

Convenience has made us so irritated—that we “just can’t even” if we see some part of our day as inconvenient. And that undercurrent isn’t just a catch phrase or cute hashtag…it’s become a toxic mindset that is bringing some moms down by keeping them irritated.

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I’m going to propose that we shift that view. That we stop looking for what is most convenient and start looking at more important factors in our life: connection, happiness, and love. And let THOSE elements lead our actions and be at the front of our minds instead of convenience.

We take our kids to the dentist—because we love them, because oral health is an indicator for overall health. Is it inconvenient? Who cares if we don’t make convenience a priority anymore.

We cook our own food—because we know that we are what we eat. And that chemicals and additives and excess sugar aren’t great for our bodies. We know we need nutrients from whole fruits and vegetables to thrive—and so we take the time to prepare them. That’s way more important than whether cooking is convenient or not.

We stop and fill up our car or charge it—because we need it to run smoothly and get us from place to place. We do it from a place of gratitude—happy that we have the means for this level of transportation rather than being irritated that we are now late because we forgot to make time for it.

Our kids aren’t doing exactly what we say—because they are individuals with their own minds and we aren’t raising zombies, we’re raising independent thinkers and we know that pushing boundaries and asking questions is a normal part of child development. Or we can see this as a sign that we need to try a different approach next time. Would it be convenient if our kids just did exactly as we say 100% of the time? Maybe. But that’s not the point of parenting or healthy child development.

And that toddler meltdown? It’s just information. Next time we won’t push the nap time back so far. Next time, we’ll stop and read our toddler’s cues and keep in mind that they easily become overtired and over-stimulated. We can’t set them up for failure (by pushing the nap time back) and then expect a different outcome. It’s more than a big dramatic scene in a store, it’s a learning moment. Is it inconvenient when we just want to get our groceries and get out of there? Who cares…convenience isn’t the point. It’s not the gauge we use or the lens we look through.

Using convenience as a gauge or seeing situations through the lens of convenience sets us up for failure almost every single time.

I can hear some people now…but I do take my kid to the dentist because I love them and I know I have to, and it’s still inconvenient. I hear you. I do. I would just caution you. The lie of convenience has permeated our mothering culture so much that even required tasks like dental visits have become drudgery.

Moms are overwhelmed, tired, busy—and we don’t want to be, we’re actually looking for ways out of that cycle, an escape from those feelings of overwhelm…and so we’re tempted by the lie of convenience. Do this and you won’t be so tired. Buy this and you won’t be overwhelmed. Here, this will make you less busy. But none of those deliver. We have bought all the things and we’re still left feeling overwhelmed, tired, and busy—because we’re not getting to the heart of those negative emotions. Convenience is not the answer. We’ve got to turn inward if we want to break this vicious cycle.

So we need to take control of our thoughts. Thinking for even one moment that that dental visit is “inconvenient” is draining. It means you believe your life should be convenient on some level. But we have kids, and it’s not going to be. There is nothing convenient about motherhood. Life is about so much more than convenience…So I want to encourage you to get rid of this draining, energy sucking, self-centered notion that you deserve convenience.

What you deserve is peace of mind, connection, and rest.

Moms also deserve real support. What we need are ideas or child development insight that we can use during difficult or overwhelming moments. We don’t need more comments about how inconvenient motherhood is. Those don’t move the needle. They might give us a fleeting feeling that we aren’t alone, but at some point we need more than that. We need insight, stories, and information. Yes, we need to feel heard—but we also need tools to move forward. We need to take our own action and create a mindset shift that will help us find more peace in everyday mothering.

Our beliefs shape our reality. Believe you deserve rest and you’ll find time to take it. Believe that you want to feel connected to your kids and you will seek out connection. Believe that the food you eat has a direct effect on your body and you’ll start making healthier food choices.

***
There is nothing “convenient” about motherhood. There is nothing convenient about a healthy lifestyle or a life well lived.

Convenience tries to convince us otherwise…convenience has taught us that there is an easy road and we need to hop on it asap. But it’s a false promise. There is nothing convenient about motherhood. That’s not the point of mothering. The lie of convenience makes us feel like our life is getting in the way of our life. And it doesn’t have to be that way.

Maybe some of this has to do with our society’s addiction to drama. Maybe it’s that we are shown that drama is a way of life. Being exasperated as a mom is just a way of life.

But mama, I’m here to tell you that if you are looking for convenience or your goal is convenience, you’re going to be disappointed over and over.

Your days will never be “convenient enough” if convenience is your goal. Your expectation that everything be easy and not disturb your agenda or your plans will go awry every single day. Our kids will guarantee that.

Convenience also involves a lot of self-centeredness. It’s the world catering to your schedule and your needs—I mean, that’s what convenience really is. And if all of us are trying to make life convenient for ourselves, we’re going to be disappointed. Because we live in community and we need other people—the world isn’t here to only serve us…we need to serve other people as well.

So what’s the solution to this convenience conundrum we have on our hands?

1. Self awareness

Check your vocabulary. Are you using the word convenient? Are you frustrated when things feel “inconvenient?” Do you view anything outside of your regular schedule as “inconvenient?”

Do you think about your kids as inconvenient? How do you think about your kids? Because how you think about them is the way you treat them…how we think about our children shapes the way we talk to them.

Just know that the word and the idea of inconvenience brings a lot of negativity and drama with it. It does and will effect you. Living beyond the notion of convenience requires you to think about it, be aware of it, and actively re-shape the way you think about convenience in order to get around it. It’s constantly pushed and constantly surrounds us—in ads and drive thrus…it’s everywhere (don’t let marketing win over your thoughts.)

Be aware of convenience. If someone is selling you something and uses the word “convenient,” start seeing that as a red flag. If someone is offering you advice or talking with you and uses the words “convenient” or “inconvenient,” take note of that. They may have drank the kool-aid and believe that motherhood is about convenience, when we know that it is not.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not anti- all things that are convenient. I like the drive up pick up option at Target as much as the next mom. Convenience is nice every once in a while. But it’s not the point of life. From what I can see, convenience has taken a front seat to values and moms are suffering as a result. So is our health. And so is our planet.

Getting rid of the idea that convenience should come first could save our planet. All that plastic? Most of it is a result of convenience. Single use plastic water bottles are convenient—and they’re marketed as such. We have gotten so deep down this path of not wanting to be inconvenienced by even the basic need for water that we don’t bring our own re-useable water bottles with us anymore. Shifting our values from convenient to improving the health of our planet would immediately alter the sheer level of plastic waste we produce.

Getting rid of convenience could improve our health. Bag of chips? Convenient. Cooking whole foods that nourish our body? Inconvenient. At least that’s how we’ve come to view it. Pre-planning healthy snacks? Inconvenient, right? Nope. Because it’s not about convenience. It’s about our health. If we make convenience a priority, then yes, it’s inconvenient. If we make our health a priority, then no, it’s just a way of life. And I don’t think anyone can look around at the current overall health status of America’s children (and adults!) and tell me that what we need is more convenience. What we need is more intentional connection with our food and it’s sources. What we need is a shift in priorities from convenience to nutrition…from convenience to reducing plastic and bringing our own sustainable choices…from convenience to connection.

The best, most memorable and meaningful moments in life are never about convenience. At the end of our motherhood journey, at the end of our life, we are not going to look back and sigh, “Ahhh, I really appreciated how convenient my life was.”

Now’s the time. Figure out what you want your life to be about and make that a priority now. Align your actions with your values. And for your sake (and sanity) drop the idea that convenience will help you achieve a happy, more meaningful life. We can all move forward knowing that’s a lie.

A life well lived is about so much more: Love. Time. Quality. Connection. So let’s start today. Let’s shift our minds and our hearts and start choosing those values over convenience. Let’s start making more room for qualities that make up a life well lived…because those are the same qualities that make a single day and a single moment well lived, too.

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SPONSOR

Today’s episode is sponsored by Homeschool Explained, an online course I created to help parents begin their homeschool journey with confidence. I was getting a lot of questions from parents about my family’s homeschool journey…they wanted to know more but weren’t sure where to get started or if it was a good fit for their family. So I started teaching in-person workshops to help parents sort that out. But then requests starting come in from other islands and other places asking if I could put it online from them, too…so I did! I totally get it, starting any new journey can be overwhelming…especially when you feel this call on your heart to homeschool but aren’t sure where to begin. That’s why I’ve put over 10 years of homeschool experience and insights into this easy to follow, easy to use course that answers common questions, helps you work through worries, and saves you time.

Homeschool Explained is for anyone who is interested in homeschool (now or in the future) but isn’t sure where to start. The information in this course will help you make an educated decision about whether homeschool is the right fit for your family and help you understand what modern homeschool days actually look like—all while covering major topics like curriculum, homeschool styles, subjects to teach, cost, state laws, socialization and so much more. This course takes the guess work out of where and how to begin and leaves you with solid support and resources. Start your homeschool journey with confidence! Find out more at www.elevatingmotherhood.com/homeschool.

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