All too often I get distracted with my writing for the sake of writing (hello, short lived fame of being freshly pressed!) instead of writing out of a place of fullness and reflection in my life. My writing gets stale and my babies get cranky. So this month I’m going to be getting into my life a little more thoroughly so I can be less a knowledgeable bystander writing commentary and more an active participant sharing perspective.
I’m making goals that are more in line with my vision for now instead of wondering about my later so much. For some reason changing the circumstances in my day-to-day is less exciting than planning on being rich and famous and one day taking over the world. Hahaha.
But really there are many things I’d like to see established in our little home that would really benefit from being begun sooner rather than later. And, as the at-home parent, the first step to making many of those things a possibility is mine.
“Leadership is a choice. It’s the choice not to do nothing.”
Seth Godin in Tribes
Balancing my urge to create and need to rest with the call of housework and my babies’ needs is the hardest thing about stay-at-home parenting. It’s easy to detach when I need a break, but if I’m detached all the time I’m not doing my job as a mom anymore. Similarly, I can be doing all ‘good/necessary’ house-y things and still be out of touch with my kidlets. It’s easy to get caught up in a book, a writing project, or a big patch of stubborn vines in the flowerbed and completely overlook the more basic needs of the munchkins who rely on me for nurture, fun, and safety.
I want to make our home a place where good memories live, good habits are learned, and traditions can be practiced and enjoyed together. I want my own focus to be primarily on my family as I create a home for them.
“Are you stuck with the way things were, instead of busy turning things into what they could be?
Heretics have a plan. They understand that changing the status quo is not only profitable, but fun too.”
Seth Godin in Tribes
So. Here are five fun ideas to make this more a reality:
- Say yes to reading books whenever Ranger asks (unless I’m eating). I used to do this. Reading is something I really enjoy. I love that he loves books too and want to continue to share that with him.
- Save my reading time mostly for naptime, bedtime, and when Ali is nursing. It is too easy for me to just read instead of interacting with my kiddos and being creative in my home.
- Continue my Screenless Sundays (one month of success!) and extend it to Saturdays as well. (Wifi-free weekends, anyone?) I have had much better luck with this screen limit than with my two hour limit (I can never remember to start my timer!). Focusing more on doing things outside of screens, as well as having a sort of “reset” time, is more helpful.
- Do one fun or special thing a day. Maybe playdough, fingerpaints, planting, chalk, playground, visiting, a movie, building, chase, walks, rides in the carrier, airplane rides, etc.
- Add in the habit of mealtime prayer (only aiming for once a day now). I grew up in thiis habit and gradually fell out of it during my college years. It ‘s good to stay in touch with who our main Provider is throughout our days and lives.
Once you’ve created another life or committed to another person, it’s your responsibility to put that life first. Sorry, your high-minded, laser focused self-actualization process will have to be put on hold. That doesn’t mean you don’t do your work. It just means that you have to be creative to find that time.
– What It Takes: Home/Work
When I’m making these goals it is really easy to see them as hard and fast rules instead of goals/guidelines/hopes/dreams for living more in line with who God wants me to be at this point in my life. I have to remember His grace always as I struggle along. He makes up for and manages to use my attempts at mothering in spite of my failures.
And that is where I find rest at the end of the day.
Nothing really up to me. All I can do is try to be a good steward with what He has given me. And even then my efforts are only by His grace.
Knowing the limitations of my responsibility as a mother has actually been quite freeing to me. I can be God’s agent for cultivating the hearts of my children; in fact, I’m supposed to fill that role. But only God can give them life, strength, and divine guidance. This means my success in life or in motherhood or as a Christian is not dependent on my being perfect, but my allowing God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, to work through me to accomplish His purposes. His life is far more powerful and authoritative than mine. As I depend on him, he who began a good work in me will perfect it (Philippians 1:6). He will do the same for the precious ones He has entrusted to me.
– Sally Clarkson, The Ministry of Motherhood.
And who wouldn’t want more of this in their life?