12/09/2010

what SHOULD be happening!? (part 3)

The reality is this:
what really happens in my head/on a good day and what REALLY happens on an "off"day 
are both OK...
and should be happening...
and here's why:

I think as moms or, more specifically, homeschooling moms, we tend to be so hard on ourselves. Heaping up the guilt if the day goes down the toilet, inwardly berating ourselves because we failed once again to live up to our nearly impossible standards

I tend to hold up a perfect, shiny ideal to reach for every day, only to cripple myself as I make the leap. God calls us to only hold HIM up as our goalpost and He guarantees that if we reach, He'll catch us.  Striving for anything but that is actually a form of idolatry and we are certain to miss the mark.

This is not to say that we shouldn't set earthly, human-type goals and schedules for ourselves also. The Creator loves order; we see it evident in the regular cycles of the seasons, the ebb and flow of the tides and weather, and in the very precise relationship all living things have to one another. The ultimate scheduler, He created our earth, the sun, moon and solar system, and all living beings in an order, some on each day.

We don't read in the Bible that whales and monkeys and the stars were created on the fifth day and then at the end of the day He threw in some fruit trees and water because He realized the whales needed a habitat and the monkeys needed something to eat!!! There was a distinct purpose and order to it all.

Conversely, there should be a distinct purpose and order to our days as well. As parents, we are called to teach our children matters of the heart as well as matters of the home. Children thrive in an environment saturated with routine, order and peacefulness. Living with purpose, with a goal in sight, is the only way to accomplish this.

As a mother of three, and a home educator, my need for order is intense.
Thus, my need for the stability that only the Savior can bring is paramount.
Want to know how I accomplish this balance between heart and home?

As anyone with children knows, routines and needs are always shifting. When I sense a shift coming (ie: potty training, starting a new level of education, change in Daddy's work schedule, character issues arising, dropping a nap, etc.) I begin to go through those transition days in prayer. Each bumpy moment is an opportunity for Jesus to show me what needs to be done instead.

After a week or two of prayer time, reflection, note-taking, and conversation with my husband, I prayerfully create a new goal, a new schedule, that better suits our new needs.  It usually takes me about a week to get everyone in the groove of the new routine; it's not usually far from the old one, just a few tweaks.

The day I mentioned first (part 1) does actually happen more often than not, with the exception of the kids remembering on their own to dress and bring down their laundry! It surprises me every time! I would think by now they would remember that we typically go about our day fully clothed...perhaps a teaching trip to the grocery in their pajamas is in order...

Anyway, the point to all this is this:

If you are a parent, do not let life just "happen" to you on a daily basis. Let your days be characterized by purposeful living, meaningful actions, and a Christ-centered schedule or routine. There is freedom in boundaries; knowing that your day is already planned frees your mind to concentrate on other more precious things.

When you do need a break, recognize the need and deliberately announce your intentions. There is nothing worse for a momma's psyche than to sneak around the whole day avoiding the fact that you need a rest and are not able to keep your routines in place. Learn to recognize the difference between laziness and apathy (and boot those two nasty sisters out the door the minute they arrive!) and a genuine need for a rest.

It's OK to take a conscious break, to just sit and let things happen around you. God rested after He worked for 6 days, under the most amazing schedule we've ever seen! Intentional rest is good, laziness is not.

As I type this to share with you all, I am sitting on the couch. It's 9:45 am, I'm still in my sweaty workout clothes, freezing with bare arms. The kids gulped smoothies and then ran outside to play in the snow. We're not taking a break today, just deviating from the schedule a bit.

I'm a bit sleepy from a midnight trip up the stairs to change a bed and pajamas on a little girl who coughed so hard she vomited! I don't want to keep going today, cozy blankets and a movie sound great...BUT...I can keep going, so I will, just a bit more slowly!

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for help with scheduling, Christian parenting, or purposeful living, visit these great websites:
disclaimer: these are just a few of the resources I personally use, I am in no way affiliated with them or their websites

2 readers took time to leave a thought:

Sara Kay December 9, 2010 at 1:47 PM  

Shelly, I think this is one of the most balanced approaches to scheduling that I've read! I completely agree and will be linking to these posts. :)

Michelle Jamie January 2, 2011 at 7:22 AM  

I've not been reading blogs much lately b/c I'm frantic with holiday happenings, preparing for our 4 due in just a little over 30 days and homeschooling.

These last three prosts are something I can so identify with. I Loved this post on homeschooling and centering it around Christ. Your posts are usually a such a source of encouragment. Thanks

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