Balancing Children, Schedules, and Housework
- Friday, April 05, 2002
What about interruptions to our well-planned schedule? We need to accept that life with children is full of interruptions and distractions. With daily life, Kathryn from New Hampshire notes, "Being flexible is very important. Phone calls, visitors and interruptions are part of life and can enhance the day. Instead of thinking of them as nuisances, take the time and enjoy others. In turn it teaches the children independent learning and self control to stay focused on their tasks and accept flexibility in an organized day."
But what do you do when your plan "A" becomes Gods plan "XYZ"? Interruptions and distractions are inevitable, especially with small children. When was the last time you did ANYTHING without interruption, even going to the bathroom? I believe my children have a sensor which goes off as soon as I sit down. I hear a BANG on the door, and suddenly several little people appear at the door.
A lady named Iris Krasnow wrote a book called Surrendering to Motherhood. She left a glamorous writing career to raise her family, and she said, "When you stop to be where you are, then your life can really begin."
How often do we focus on where we are instead of somewhere else? I struggle with this mightily and have been working on just being where I am instead of having my brain vaporize off into a bunch of different directions.
Mrs. Krasnow said, "Being there isnt about money or even about staying home full time. Its about an emotional and spiritual shift, a succumbing to being where you are when you are, and being there as much as possible. Its about crouching on the floor and getting delirious over the praying mantis you son has just caught, instead of perusing a fax while he is yelling for your attention and you distractedly say over your shoulder: Oh, honey, isnt that a pretty bug. Its about being attuned enough to notice when your kids eyes shine so you can make your eyes shine back." She goes on to observe, "This Now with the children isnt a cage at all. Its the marrow; finally, I have drilled and drilled right to the Essence."
Shes talking, of course, about the essence of life - of being connected to all of life. Could that be what it means in the Bible when it says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord, not for men (Col. 3:23)?"
A Wise Womans Physical House
Some mornings I wake up, look around my messy house and begin to feel a sense of dread. Its another day of endless chores, cooking and cleaning. My life feels like drudgery - sheer drudgery. Where is the joy in this?
As I set about my work, I am grumbling. On a really bad day, I lash out at the children. "Why cant you take care of your stuff?" I shout. Then I look at my own disheveled room and wonder where they learned their habits.
Brother Lawrence was a man who did everything in love. His book, The Practice of the Presence of God (Springdale, PA, Whitaker House, 1982) revolutionized my spiritual life. He was a humble monk who cooked and cleaned for the other monks in his monastery. Whether he peeled potatoes or scrubbed pots, he did it with a heart full of the love of God. "During your meals or during your daily duty," he said, "lift up your heart to Him, because even the least little remembrance will please Him. You dont have to pray out loud; Hes nearer than you can imagine." (5)
God is near to us when we are changing diapers, scrubbing floors or washing laundry. When we do these things with love, they are done prayerfully and from our hearts. How will our children learn to do those tasks in love if they see us grumbling and grousing? They wont. We are their example of joy in whatever the circumstances of our lives.
Do we view the daily-ness of life as an interruption? The diapers that need to be changed and the questions that beg answers as distractions? Then we are missing the main thing of mothering - the gift to be there to share it all.
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