Monday, April 26, 2010

Intentional Mothering

It seems as of late that I’ve been trying to slow down, and put less things on my plate, but not exactly sure why. I’ve been busy, but it hasn’t been too bad. Some part of me though has felt that I was missing out on something important by doing these other things but I hadn’t been able to pin point it yet.

The only thing I did know is that I wanted to spend more time at home. With my family and kids. To really be there. To really be a mom. It’s so easy to get caught up in other extracurricular activities, church service, personal hobbies, play groups, etc. You can fill your entire day with things to do.
In the process I found that I didn’t have time to really spend cleaning my house, or dejunking. I never got caught up on laundry. I haven’t been able to work on decorating and painting our home. I haven’t had chances to work outside in the yard, or get started on the garden. I didn’t have time to plan meals, FHE’s, family activities, cleaning, etc. I was trying to just squeeze in exercise and scripture study in here or there as I had a few moments. I was winging everything at the moment. Only doing what was immediate.

Which seemed fine at the time. We seemed to be happy and we were getting by. I kept having the attitude of when my kids are in school, then I’ll have time to deep clean the house more, and do more decorating and painting. I’ll have more time but right now it’s just not that time especially with little kids.

Then something started to happen. I’m not sure what it was, but slowly I have started seeing things differently, seeing the importance of doing things differently and starting to do things intentionally. Starting to realize how these small mundane homemaking tasks are so incredibly important. How they teach greater and more important lessons than we realize. For example.

A Clean Home. This is NOT my strong point. I’ll do what I have to do to get by, but don’t necessarily think of what I can do to prevent things from creating bigger messes which create bigger work. I’m getting lots better and in the process I’m slowly learning why it’s so important. It’s been easy to give my kids the excuse that they are only 1, or 3 and are so young they can’t do much and I realized I am doing a HUGE disservice to them by having this attitude. They can do something and it’s at these ages of 1-5 while they are home that I can instill in them a desire and love for cleanliness. I can teach them these principles of why it is ESSENTIAL that we have a clean home.

- Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

- The spirit likes clean, beautiful places and likes to dwell there. He will not dwell in filth.

- Order. God is a God of order and we are to become like him.

- Disorder and uncleanliness will make the spirit leave which results in more

contention, frustration, lack of patience, and idleness.
- Health issues. We will be healthier when we have a clean home over a dirty home.

- A sense of pride, respect and gratitude for what we have been blessed with and a desire to take care of it and make it last.

- A work ethic – the ability to work consistently, and hard at something that is not something we love, because it has to be done. There are a lot of things in life that we will not like and not want to do. It will be easier for us to handle them, and work through them if we’ve already learned how to work at doing hard things we don’t like.
- We are striving to live in the celestial kingdom, we should be developing the celestial traits, right now so we can live there. Does our home reflect that?

- It feels good. There is a sense of peace, calm and happiness when you walk into a clean beautiful room. You want to be there. You want to stay.

That is just one example. As I’ve been thinking of some of these mundane things that we do I’ve started to realize how we just blow them off. We don’t think of the eternal and lasting consequences of some of them. I just tell my kids to clean their room. I beg, bribe, do it for them, argue with them, etc. Do I actually intentionally teach them over and over and over again WHY we have to do it. Or do I just tell them to do it. Do I talk to them about all the reasons above of why we want a clean home? I find that when I do, I get much better results from them and changed behaviors. They still have their moments, and still argue with me over it sometimes, but they understand it better.

So what about the other mundane things we do. Why are they so important to do? Why are we doing a disservice to our children if we treat them lightly? What eternal consequences could they have? How might it make their life harder and more difficult down the road later in life? Why do we just blow them off and should we?

- Going to bed at a early decent time and arising early?

- The food we eat, the meals we cook, and how we take care of our bodies.

- Disciplining – do we just send them straight to time out with out explanations.

- Money, how we save, spend or earn it?

- Entertainment – what we watch, view or listen to
- Time – how we spend it or waste it.
- Work – do we value it and install a work ethic.
- Treatment of others

I’m slowly realizing these are the reasons I want to cut back on other things. I want time to actually be an intentional mother. Instead of running to the next activity while rushing my kids and threatening them to hurry and clean their room. I want to have the time to work at it together, teach them why we are doing it, and develop long lasting habits and eternal truths. Which will matter more in the end. The dance class or the lasting character of cleanliness, and all that is associated with it. I would much rather have a child that has a love for beauty, cleanliness and a desire to feel the spirit and abide in a place of peace rather than a dancer.

There are so many other things that I want to give my children rather than another hobby, another skill, more money, etc. I’m just barely starting to understand it, and understand what I hope to do. But it’s something I feel strongly about. I no longer want to just do the daily motherly things (because that’s our job.) I want to make sure it’s done with intention instead.


Laurel said...

This is such a great post, Shalae. Very informative and inspiring. I'm not there yet, but it's a worthy goal. :)

Shalae said...

Oh trust me Laurel,I'm not even close! I've just realized that's where I'd like to be eventually and hopefully by the time my kids leave home, I will have attained it in some small way. Right now it just helps me balance out priorities.

Christy said...

Great thoughts Shalae! There are so many tempting things that draw us away from our primary purposes. Some of them are even good things, but we let them overtake us. The things you talk about here are daily battles for me as well. Finding is an ongoing battle. :)

The Delgado's (all 9 of us) said...

I really appreciated this post. I'm so caught up in surviving as a mom, its hard to maintain focus and do things intentionally like you talk about. But what a worthy thing to work on and try and achieve. Thanks for your great insights!