“…I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”Henry David Thoreau
I stood at Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, and read this on a sign. It was an old wooden sign at the spot where Henry David Thoreau had his cabin. Thoreau moved to the woods and lived by himself for several years and wrote an entire book. He built his own cabin, he created a water mill to help him get the food and water he needed. He went into town every so often for supplies. He wrote letters and had some visitors. But he moved far away, deep into the woods, with a singular purpose to live deliberately.
Living deliberately. I wasn’t sure that I was doing that. I felt like I was being swept along like water, too tired and unsure to stick my feet down and stand.
How could I be deliberate? What did that even mean?
Conscious. Intentional. On-purpose. In order to live deliberately I had to be conscious, intentional, purposeful.
I decided that day in the wood, on that pond beach that I was going to do something differently.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m a mom. It’s hard to be intentional and deliberate when you’re exhausted and your kid is literally running circles around you and you just want chocolate but you’ve eaten it ALL. How can you be purposeful and conscious when you don’t really know what day of the week it is?
For me, being intentional and deliberate as a mother means making decisions every day. Let me explain what I mean (and if you want to hear more about this, listen to The Mamahood Podcast interview with Ralphie from Simply On Purpose.) Basically, if I decide that we are eating out for dinner, I don’t need to be resigned to that fact. I DECIDE and CHOOSE that we are going to be eating out.
If I know that whenever I have a work meeting, my son is going to watch a show, then that’s great. That’s my purposeful, intentional decision.
If we are going to try to get outside every day, that’s a purposeful decision. I can write my decisions down, make them on the fly, whatever. But being purposeful as a mom means that whatever we need to do, I make the decision that it’s what we need to do and that’s what is best for our family.
This eliminates mom guilt, it changes the day from stuff that happens to us to stuff that I’m choosing. I am confident, I feel great about what we do, and I don’t feel like a victim to the crazy things that get thrown at us. I feel like I’m in control and in the driver’s seat.
Living deliberately. At that spot in Massachusetts, I had no idea how liberating this idea would be or how much it would stick with me. I’m grateful that Thorou went out into the woods so that hundreds of years later when I went there too, I could take from his deliberate, intentional way of living and transform my own life.
Maddy Low is the proud mama of a little boy named Graham who she is absolutely obsessed with. She graduated with a degree in communication from Brigham Young University, and works full time from home doing web content and web design. She’s been married to her high school sweetheart since 2015, loves writing, traveling, long walks through the aisles at Target, chocolate, and connecting with other moms.
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