Remember when you couldn’t wait for your birthday, or Christmas break, or summer vacation? Life had a certain flow and each new season or event brought exciting change from what seemed like the humdrum, mundane normalcy of life.

But then… you became a mom.

Oh sure, there are still new events, new seasons, and new adventures, but regardless of all the “new’s” each day brings, there’s the ever-present reality that you’re still the mom… You’re still the adult supervision… You’re still going to make the meals, wash the clothes, wipe the noses, and chauffer the children. (Not to mention dealing with the 3 P’s… Puke, potty training, and puberty!)

It’s enough to make us moms want to crawl under the covers and never come out!

It seems to me that during this season of the year it’s especially hard to remember that life is about more than the daily routine of caring for a family. Fall is such a season of anticipation! There’s a crisp feel to the air. There are new teachers and lessons, the start of sports seasons and clubs, there’s Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and my personal favorite… Boot season!

Fall is energizing and exciting and loaded with anticipation.

But then comes January and the long, grey-skied months until spring. Dreary days of wintery weather can seem to stretch on forever. Sometimes, they make me feel like Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings facing the long, dark cold of Moria!

This time of year is a time when it’s so easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed with the same old/same old of life. When we’re doing the same things, for the same people, day after day with no end in sight, it’s so easy to feel unappreciated, under-compensated, and just plain unhappy. And, everyone knows what happens when mama isn’t happy… Everyone is unhappy!

Those precious children we couldn’t wait to surprise with Christmas gifts and sweet family memories can seem too demanding, too needy, and honestly, just too much!

So, what’s a mom to do? Should we just stick a geranium in our hats and put on a happy face? I don’t know about you, but that kind of fake enthusiasm just doesn’t cut it in my life. There is an answer, however.

When I’m feeling discouraged and doubting whether my mothering efforts are really worth all of this hard work, I’ve found it so helpful to stop and remind myself just how precious my family truly is to me. In the grumbly, grouchiness of same old/same old, it’s far too easy to see the negatives and be blinded to the beautiful relationships that the Lord has provided for me. Just as the Israelites were instructed to pause periodically to remember the blessings of God, pausing to remember His blessings in my home can change my attitude from discouraged to encouraged and my actions from negative to nurturing!

When I stop and record the sweet memories I have of my children and the positive character qualities I see in their lives, I’m reminded to be thankful for those children.

When I stop and record the silly ways my children make me laugh, I’m reminded that they truly are my sunshine.

When I stop and record the way each and every child is an essential part of what makes this family complete, I’m reminded of how God so carefully knit all of us together into one cohesive whole.

Learning to notice the positive in my family reminds me to be grateful, and gratitude is without question the best antidote to grumbling!

Yes, being a mom means that each day is much like the day before, but it is as we thankfully embrace those “boring” days and “mundane” routines that our children will thrive, our family relationships will flourish, and we’ll be blessed in the process.

Need some help to get those memories flowing? Click here for some helpful questions to get you started.