One of my biggest fears in life is not that I'll get cancer, or that I'll die in a car crash, or that Aaron will leave me, but honestly one of my biggest fears in life is that I'll get to the end of my life and not have been a good mom.  It is seriously a thought that bombards my mind and heart every day.  I am embarrassed to say that on some days I lay my head on my pillow and regret the way I was a mom for that day.  I regret the harsh words, I regret the evil eye, I regret the lack of attention and the selfishness of my own heart.  Thankfully I also have days where I lay my head down at night and can smile about the sweet one-on-one conversation that I had with one of my children, or the snuggle in my lap for no reason, or the encouraging words that brought a smile to a kids face.

I so desire to have my kids look back and know that their mom loved them deeply and desired for them to know God in an intimate way.  It's as if the biggest accomplishment in life for me would be for my kids to look back and say that they had a great mom.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and can't seem to figure out if I'm thinking about this in a healthy manner or in an unhealthy manner.  Do I dwell on this and live life in fear of being a bad mom, or do I dwell on this and it spurs me on to be the best God has made me to be?  Which one?  One of those is positive and one is negative.

I want to be spurred on to be the best mom that I can be.  I want a positive butt-kicking to happen to me that makes me realize that my time with these babies is so fleeting.  I have been a mom for eight years and although I'll be a mom to these babies forever, in 10 years the first one will move on.  He will venture out into adulthood and my time is gone.  Thinking these thoughts makes my eyes swell up with tears and I get that funny feeling in my throat that makes me choke back the outpouring of tears.  Ten years guys.  That's all I have.

December was a month of reflection for me.  I thought about how time slips by and you don't even realize it.  I swear the older I get the more often I find myself saying “gosh is it already November, where did 2011 go” and “oh my goodness 1 week until Christmas, what happened to December”.  You know how it goes. Time slips by.  Last year I missed advent with my kids.  I planned on doing it and before you know it it was December 20th and we missed it.  This year I was determined to do advent with my babies.  I bought two books and had hopes of us reading them each night with hot coca and smiles all around.  What do you know I never made my Jesse tree and we were constantly about 4 days behind in our other book.  Time flies.

As I was thinking how once again I missed hosting a neighborhood block party, and once again didn't host a cookie exchange, and once again didn't make homemade cookies with my kids, and didn't sit down together to wrap presents for our angel tree student,  I realized time is fleeting.  All of it.  Every day is only lived once.  Every month comes and goes.  Each year my kids are growing and I never get the last year back.  I never get to redo December of 2011.  It is gone.

It got me thinking that somehow 2012 has to be different.  I want to look back on 2012 and see that we enjoyed it.  We cherished it, and that in 2012 I was a great mom.  2008-2011 have been hard years for the Ivey's.  Nothing tragic has happened, but they've just been hard.  I was recently reading in Psalms and these few verses pricked at my heart and I could so resonate with the author of this passage.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.  As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.  They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.”  Psalm 84: 5-7

As they go through the Valley of Baca is also translated in some versions as “They are passing through the valley of weeping”.  I sometimes feel like 2008-2011 was my “valley of weeping” because dang it has just been hard and I have done a heck of a lot of weeping.  But keep reading and he says “they go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion”.  Did you see that?  STRENGTH FROM STRENGTH.  I also feel like that sums up 2008-2011.  I have literally gone from strength to strength and God has been there all along and you know what, one day I will make it before God in Zion, and I will smile and say that I made it there only by strength to strength.

2012 is the year of mom-hood for me.  I want to dedicate this year to being a better mom.  I want to rely on God to get me through this.  I want to change some of my selfish habits that have been hanging around me for way to long.  I want to cherish EVERY.SINGLE.DAY with my kids, and not just Saturday's!  I want to die to my self and have Jesus carry me through the hard times.  Strength to strength.

In 2012 I will focus on something new for each month and pray to God that I can make some of these habits and that they last longer than 31 days.  These are things that are personal to me that I know I need to get better at and will help me be the best mom that I can be.

1.  Get up BEFORE my kids every day except on Saturday's.
2.  Not on my computer at all when my kids are awake
3.  Spend one on one time with each kid each week.
4.  Plan a family night each week that's more than dinner and a movie.
5.  Encourage them daily
6.  Pick a fruit of the Spirit and study each week w/ kids and find ways to practice it.
7.  Pray more specifically for my kids.
8.  Devotionals with my kids and memorize scripture with them.
9.  Fix a healthy breakfast each morning and send a healthy lunch each day.
10.  Do something new in our city each week as a family.
11.  Serve the city with my kids
12. Do the Jesse tree and give, give, give with my kids.

I want to get to the end of my days and be able to say that I loved my God, my husband and my kids with all that was in me.  I gave it all.  I ran the race hard.  This year I plan on focusing on some things that I think will help me be a better mom.
What is your New Year's Resolution?  What are you doing to be a better mom in 2012?  Any hints on how I can embrace and get better at any of those 12 things above?

Jamie Ivey