Time is flying by so fast that this Wednesday at the library I was wondering where all the St. Valentine’s books were…wait, we’re past that feast? I should be looking for books about St. Patrick already?!?!
March is going to test me. I have challenging mini-goals AND Lenten resolutions. I hope the mini-goals for March are going to be easier than expected!
1) Live it. Make sure that what your children see in you is what you want to see in them. A vague goal is hard to achieve, so to make this one have some sort of focus, I’m going to start a 100 Days Calendar from Ann Voskamp. (Click on the link for the free printable!) Yes, this goal is going to last 100 days, but that is because the following three habits/virtues don’t come naturally to me in my role as a parent: gentleness, tenderness, and affection. I’ve printed out the calendar, and I’ve marked on first day the following nurturing habits:
- gentle, considerate tone of voice
- tender, healing, loving touch
- affectionate hugs and kisses
Each evening, I will check off the ones I was able to do.
Be what you want your children to be. Do what you want your children to do.
I know boys are by nature loud and rough, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be considerate, comforting and affectionate in some ways. Right now, there is so much whining going on in our house, and I don’t know how to make it stop, so for now, I’m going to try modeling a gentle, considerate tone of voice…on second thought, maybe I won’t talk for 100 days, that might be easier!
Seriously, though, if I want to see a change in them, I need to change myself, first!
This will be very difficult. (I think this one will count as a Lenten resolution, too. This is an amendment of life that is meant to continue after Lent.) This will take conscious effort and it will mean talking in a way opposite to what I may be feeling at the moment (annoyed, overwhelmed, or stressed for example).
It will be hard to respond gently while I’m trying to get dinner ready, and someone comes in and says loudly, “Mommy! I want to wear my Spider-man costume now!” It will be hard to speak gently when someone whines and yells that they don’t want to do XYZ. But I just can’t picture Jesus barking at His Apostles when they complained about the man driving out demons in His name, or when they asked Him to explain another parable, and they still didn’t understand. (Jesus did rebuke them, and sometimes sternly, but there is a difference between yelling and losing control vs. speaking firmly yet staying calm and collected!)
The other two are similar to each other: Tender, healing touches, and affectionate hugs and kisses. I can give more of those. Lots more. They will soon be “too old” for hugs and kisses, and I don’t want to regret lost hugs. I should show love at random times, too, not just after they do something good. I need to remember that how I show love to the boys influences their understanding of how God loves them. (Does He love me only when I’m good, or does He love me because He made me and keeps me in existence?)
2) Leave the kitchen clean at night. Prepare for tomorrow. Right now, I’m already in a habit of having dishes done, toys cleaned up, and coffee prepped. So what’s left for me to add to this one is wiping down the stove and table, (yes, I usually skip those, much to the annoyance of my husband) sweeping, (we had mice last year, no more of that, please!) and prepping for tomorrow.
(By the way, yes, I cook the meal AND do the dishes…I struggled with that one for years in our early marriage because I had to listen to my husband play piano while I did dishes, but now, it’s different. While I do dishes, the boys are playing with Daddy and out of my hair for a little bit, and I love to hear all the laughter coming from the living room!! Plus, this is the one time of the day when I’m not responsible for watching the baby. Sometimes I actually look for more dishes to wash so I can stay in the kitchen just a little bit longer!!)
The next part of this goal is spending 10-15 minutes looking ahead to tomorrow and gathering anything I might need for school or appointments. Here are some things from Good-bye Chaos, Hello Peace that I will be doing during those 15 minutes (maybe with a cup of tea):
- Look at the calendar to see if there’s anything happening
- Gather up everything I’ll need (pack the diaper bag, etc.)
- Think about what I’ll wear, and maybe even lay it out on my dresser
- Make meal decisions now, if I haven’t already
- Make a to-do list for tasks I want done the next day (this will ease stress!)
3) Keep a prayer list, and pray for those intentions at meals or bedtime. Time to use the not-so-white board on the fridge for something other than scribbles! This should be a nice, easy way to help our family remember to pray for those in need.
The homeschool group I’m a member of recently started a prayer list for friends and family of all the members…each morning when the Guardian Angels daily digest email arrives in my inbox, I can start a habit of saying a quick prayer for all the intentions on the list.
Being a mother and housewife (and school teacher!) means there is a lot to manage, and stress is always an issue for me. The fact that there is a lot to take care of will never change, but how efficient I can manage the amount of work there is will help alleviate stress. So even though all these goals sound like a lot of work, I’m already doing a lot of work, but it’s my hope that these habits will help me find more time to relax and enjoy more of life.