Okay, so to briefly recap, I have just begun reading a book entitled "The Relationship Principles of Jesus" in conjunction with the new series being taught in my church, "40 Days of Love."
Yesterday's introductory lesson explained how we are to have two main priorities in life: loving God and loving people. Today's lesson talked about how we allow lesser objects (money, tasks, hobbies, career, recreation, etc. etc.) to trump the importance that we place on our relationships.
The author asks a series of questions to help us discover what we truly place our highest values on. Here are the questions along with my answers:
-What's the first thing I think about in the morning? There's Jack on the monitor. Better get him before he wakes up Sammi...oh, too late.
-What does your schedule tell you about your priorities? Mon: Ballet and Tap; Tues: KinderJam; Wed: Ballet and Tap; Thurs: MOPS/playdate; Fri: Mother's Day Out Program; Sat: T-ball; Sun: Sunday School and Family Movie Night
-As you look at your checkbook, what gets paid, no matter what? Everything gets paid. But if it ever became an issue, I would pay less on my student loan before I took my kids out of anything.
-What do you find yourself talking about most? The blog don't lie! Mostly kids, kids, kids.
-What's the last thing you think about when your head hits the pillow at night? God, please protect my husband and his buddies.
I am a stay-at-home mom, so it didn't surprise me at all that (with the exception of one) my answers were all centered around my duties to the kids. They really are my whole world, and I am so happy and so blessed to be able to stay home with them before they start school. However, as involved a mother as I am, I still feel like I am slighting them relationally.
Since I am not working, most of the day-to-day household chores rest on me. (As they should; I am the person here most of the day.) So yes, I am a mother. But I am also a housekeeper. No one would argue against which one of those titles should take higher priority over the other. But I often find myself feeling guilty at some point in the day because I focused more on the housework than on my kids.
I'll try to be a bit more specific here. After we get home from the kids' morning activity each day, I feed the kids lunch and put Jack down for his nap. Even though my son is 18 months old, he still regularly naps between 2 1/2-3 hours each day. (Get jealous!)
Obviously, this is a very productive time for me. I usually try to take the first thirty minutes or so to knock out some pressing chore while Sammi plays a computer game or quietly in her bedroom, and then (ideally) I meet up with Sammi to spend one-on-one time with her until Jack wakes up. More often than not, though, I always find one other thing that I want to get done around the house, and Sammi ends up playing on the computer for an hour...or an hour and a half. Or she gets bored after an hour and plays quietly in her room for an hour before she asks me to come upstairs to play and I am able to knock out one 15 minute game of Princess Yahtzee before the laundry needs to get switched over...and then I am distracted all over again.
And here's the truth--the chores I do in the house during this time are pointless. I have two preschoolers. If I sweep the floors, then someone is sure to leave graham cracker crumbs all over the downstairs the moment I give it to them at snack time. If I do the laundry, then Jack is sure to pee all over the sheets in his crib. If I take out the trash, we will just make more. If I do the dishes, they will shortly reappear in the sink. If I mow the grass, it will continue to grow for me to cut it the next week.
These chores that I find so pressing in the moment are easily done and just as easily undone. They will always be there for me to do--Piling up in the sink, pouring out of the hampers, crumbling and being tracked across the floor. What will not always be there is Jack's lengthy afternoon nap. (It is a blessing, but a fleeting one, I know!) And once Jack's naps are gone, so are my one-on-one opportunities to play with Sammi.
In fact, my time at home with them won't last forever. They will not always be preschoolers who live with me every hour of the day. One day, they will not live with me at all. And I can promise you, even then, the stupid dishes will still be there!
So here is my goal from here on out. Thirty minutes--that's it! Everything else that doesn't get done can just wait until after the kids go to bed.
(Because the Lord knows I need an excuse to keep me off of Facebook!!)