“What’s your mission as a mom??”

It was that question that has stuck with me for 2 years since we were charged with the idea at our church’s mom’s group. My gut reaction when asked was “to keep all of my kids alive and get them in bed at a decent time”. Simple mission right??? The presenter that day had a larger scale mission in mind. Years before she had set out to adopt an orphan boy from the Congo. Then went on to develop a non profit to help other families raise money to do the same. Wow….my mommy mission suddenly felt really lame.

But several times a week that question would find it’s way into my thoughts. What was my mission? At the time, I was working as a pediatric nurse. I was a nurse before I was a wife or a mother. My mission as a nurse was easy; care for the entire family, their well being, their souls, hold their hands and ease their fears. Along with that I would administer medication, watch fluid balances and be keenly aware of subtle changes in vital signs. I wanted to coach new nurses to see not only a patient who was waiting for a liver transplant but a child whose parents had dreams that didn’t include extended hospital stays and potentially fatal diagnoses. Teach the next generation of nurses to see a child who was missing out on friends, playtimes, normalcy. I could easily talk about my mission as a nurse.

One year ago, in April of 2014, my husband and I made the decision for me to become a full time stay at home mom. It was something I had dreamed of for years. To avoid daycare costs, my husband would work from home on the days I was at the hospital. I spent 8 years working weekends. Our children had reached the point when missing out on weekends was becoming more difficult. Soccer games started, sleepovers were requested, Sunday mornings wanted to be reserved for church. But suddenly THE question “what is my mission as a mom?” took on a different weight. What was my mission? The daily grind began to wear me down. Was my mission to cook meals, break up sibling rivalries, and search for missing socks? Suddenly, I was keenly aware of how grass isn’t always greener on the other side. For the first time, I was jealous of my husband who enjoyed a commute in the car by himself, lunch out with co-workers, and the chance to use the bathroom alone. I wondered if we had made the right decision for me to stay home. My mind was craving a challenge as I was able to sing along with every Nick Jr theme song.

When you are faced with something has heavy as ‘what is your mission’, what else is there to do but to make a list??? So I took out a good old fashioned pen and paper and wrote down the three things I was passionate about- my faith, my family, and health/fitness. These were things that I knew I needed in my life. These were things that made me feel alive. These were things that would fill my cup. So I spent some time in prayer, asking for wisdom on how to incorporate these into my mission as a mom. That is where Small Steps of Change was born. It was in those quiet moments that I realized my mission is to model health and faith to my children, my husband, my community. My mission became to create a home where health was a priority. Not just physical health but emotional and spiritual health as well. Part of my mission was to step outside my comfort zone. Share my story, offer what I know to those who may be curious, and help others take those first small steps.

While it’s not rescuing orphan boys from the Congo, I know now what my mission is. I use my mission as a framework to decide what activities I agree to volunteer with or enroll my children in. I ask “Does this activity help to demonstrate faith or health to myself, my family, my community?”. If the answer is no, I respectfully decline. If the answer is yes, I jump in with both feet. I’m learning not to be afraid of failure, judgment, or critique. I am learning to share my story without apology. I am learning how to feel confident in approaching other moms who need to find their mission.

I challenge other moms to find their mission. For some it may be something as huge as starting a non profit while for others it may be successfully tucking in your babies without tear. Wherever you lie on that continuum, your mission is critical. Critical to your happiness and that of those around you. List three things that are important to you, fill your cup , and solidify them as the cornerstones for how you make decisions. It’s so much easier to say yes or no when you have parameters. I encourage you to share your mission! Share with me, share with your family, share with your community.

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