Encouragement for a Mother’s Heart Hebrews 5:12-14

What do you have to do today?  How long is the list?  Sports? Co-op? Dance class? Volunteer work? Doctor’s appointments? Oh and cook and clean and run a home? A mom’s day is CRAMMED! The demands oh mother’s, especially homeschooling stay at home moms who run a business on the side, like me… are never ending.

Do you know what is so easy to let slide?  My time with God.  5 more minutes on the snooze button sound blissful when I didn’t fall into bed until WAY too late.  .  It is so easy to stop growing spiritually and let everyday activities crowd out time for God!

But you know what?  The greatest gift we can possibly give our husbands, our children,  and yes… ourselves is an example of what a true and deep relationship with God really looks like.  To display a desire to know His word and His truth.  They say actions speak louder than words.  We can preach all we want about a walk with God.  But are we living it?

Hebrews 5:12-14 says:

12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.  You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  14 But solid food is for the mature who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.  EncouragmentMothersHewbrews51214

LAZY! Yes! It seems hard to believe but I am LAZY!

I guess we all struggle with sins of the flesh.  Laziness would be included in a list of those and it is one that absolutely tops my personal list of those that I am guilty of.  I’d rather randomly cruise around the internet than do anything that can truly be described as productive.  Maybe lay around and watch bubble gum TV? (Yes, I watch Teen Mom on Netflix… it’s like a bad car crash… you just can’t look away).  Napping… oh napping sounds heavenly.  Yes I have LOTS of games on my phone and my kindle.  Those are FUN!  All of the things I listed are way more fun than… say… mopping the floor or folding the 1,000th load of laundry.  They are even more fun than going over a spelling list with my children…. AGAIN!  Or editing my last photo session. SHOCK HORROR! Yes, I’d rather play Kindle games than homeschool my children or edit photos.

Imagine my surprise when I was chatting it up with a bunch of Mom’s recently and I referred to myself as being L – A – Z – Y! Specifically we were talking about how’d I rather just BUY all of the books in our Sonlight curriculum than try to hunt them all down through the library interloan program.  I’m just too lazy to do that!  I need it all laying right there in front of me or it just won’t get done.  One Mom, a dear friend who I adore… looked at me and said… “You? Lazy! Come on! You are the last person on this earth I’d call lazy!”  Or something to that affect.  She was sort of flabbergasted!  And so was I by her summary of me.  I guess  I show the world the face of a super productive person who doesn’t really have much of a lazy bone.  So… with this post the mask comes off!

How do I deal with my laziness?  I work well under pressure.  I’m the procrastinator who will wait until the due date and then pull an all nighter to get things done.  Wait, that isn’t true.  I do not stay up all night ever unless it is for something amazingly cool. I’m wwaaayyy too lazy… and old, for that.  But I will spend the day before working my rear until the work, whatever that may be, is done.  I often wonder if I’d do a better job at things by working ahead.  Nah… pressure works well for me.  I just have to remember not to become unglued because of my own laziness and the stress that procrastination can bring.

Something else that has worked wonders for me is routine.  Routine routine routine.  Actually, I taught my children the routine and now THEY don’t let ME get away with ignoring it.  Gotta love that!  Ok, sometimes maybe not so much.

I joined up with some ladies who are just like me.  We’ve got a nifty little Facebook group going and we all try and encourage one another to truly get things DONE!  We call ourselves the Society of D0-Ers.  Isn’t that cute?  Without the help and encouragement of the people in my life I fear I’d let the lazy side of me win the battle more often than I do.  That, my friends, is not a good thing.

So onward and upward!  Do you have any tricks for getting yourself to get things done!  Share them with me.  I need all of the help I can get!

To see more posts by the Do-ers click here!

 

My Must Read Books for 2016

download (1)I’m making a list of books I am DETERMINE to read in 2016!  Truthfully I’m going through my Kindle and sharing with you the back log of books I have there.  Though I read quite lot I buy even more!  Yes books to me are like shoes or purses to some women.  Oh I take that back, I’ve always had a thing for a pretty purse.  Here are the books at the top of my reading list for 2016. If you’d like to check them out in the Amazon store just click on the cover photo.  I may update this post sometime in the year as finish these up and add more to my ever growing “To-Be Read” pile.

*This post contains affiliate links

Christian Reads

 Spritual Leadership by Henry & Richard Blackaby.  I’ve only just started this book and I have to say the very first pages have me thinking about leadership and the leaders I know.  In my life I am a mom and that makes me a leader for my children.  I also lead a fairly decent sized co-op and I assist my husband in his ministry.  So this goes definitely goes on my list.

 Alone with God by John MacArthur.  I have a thing for books about prayer. If I can make a confession here I would say that sometimes I wonder if I should spend my time actually praying instead of reading about prayer… however this book promises encouragement for my alone time with God and I know that I can definitely use that.

 This year my husband and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage.  It’s been quite a wonderful ride though we’ve had our fair share of hardship and difficulties.  I’m looking forward to the next 15 years and hopefully doing things even better.

 I started this devotional at the first of the year.  So far I’m truly enjoying it.  This author has a true gift for what she writes.  The reviews on this one are phenomenal.  So I agree with them.

Homeschooling

 I’ve read this one before.  I need to read it again.  Yes it is that good! I’m not sure a book needs any more explanation. The title sort of says it all!

 I’ve been following a Facebook group this author created.  She has some very good advice.  I’d love to get for my children to get some college credits out of the way as highschoolers.  Time to start planning!

 This book will be another reread for me as well.  I try to read this one every year.  It keeps my brain in focus when I think about WHY we homeschool.  It’s something of a homeschooling “bible” for me.

 This is considered to be a classic homeschooling text.  I’ve read other books by John Holt and I admire his courage.  His voice as a former public school teacher (like myself) and his boldness to declare everything he sees wrong in traditional education.  It has been said every homeschooler should read this one and I probably will agree.


 I’d like to see our homeschool become a little less structured.  My children don’t always have the confidence to research their interests on their own.  Maybe we can change that this year.

 

 Check this one out?  I only just noticed this while hunting down the links to the other books I’m sharing with you!  I am struggling with inspiring my children to read really great books.  The seem to love JUNK!  They love it if I read great books aloud to them but they don’t choose them on their own.  I wonder if this will help.  Yep, it’s hitting my must read list!

Homemaker/Mother

 I love absolutely everything I’ve ever read by Sally Clarkson.  This book actually won’t be released until February but I didn’t even hesitate to hit the preorder button. I’m really hoping to bring even more warmth, love, and joy to our home this year.  All of Sally’s books have helped me shape our home.  I’m sure this one will too.

 Another classic I’ve been meaning to read for some time. This could have fallen under homeschool as well.

 Another Sally Clarkson book I know!  But her books so inspire me.  I read her Ministry of Motherhood and it totally changed my view of myself as a Stay at Home Mom.  I wonder what impact this book will have.

  One thing I’d like to change in the new year is how busy and over-committed I tend to be.  I’m really hoping this book can give me some insight into how to say yes only the the very best things in life and then, of course how to say NO at the right times.

I’m going to stop with my list here.  There are so many more I could add.  The world is just full of so many fantastic books that I’ll never get to them all!  This is a great start for 2016!

Care to share any books YOU plan to read? Click below to see what other Review Crew members are planning to read this year!

Our Must Read Books for 2016 {Dad & Mum's Book Stand}

A New Approach to the New Year: 2 Rules Method

New Year’s Resolutions!  Who needs them!  You decide you are going to make some change and 2 weeks later you forgot what those changes would be!  I’ll be honest and say I don’t think I’ve ever kept a New Year’s resolution.  That doesn’t mean I have never been successful at making big changes in my life.  Once upon a time, for example, I ate a pretty standard cheesy meaty diet.  I successfully gave that all up almost 4 years ago!  I guess change happens when I have a good reason to make the change and not necessarily when the calendar or tradition say I should.

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Still, there are always areas I can approve on and so I’ve decided to take 2016 and my improvements a month at a time.  Instead of deciding on big sweeping changes I am going to focus on small goals, or rules for myself.  I’m a rule follower by nature so I think this could work for me.  Each month I’m going to decide on 2 new rules that I want to follow for next 30 days.

What do I mean by rules?  I haven’t entirely decided yet however I’ll brainstorm a few for you:

  • Make my bed every day
  • Rest for 30 minutes every afternoon
  • I will limit Facebook time 1 hour per day
  • Read for 30 minutes every day to my children
  • Take a 15 minute walk every day
  • Block off one weekend on my calendar with nothing to do
  • Sing loudly with my kids once a day
  • Send a friendly note to a friend once a week
  • Invite one family over this month for a get together
  • Read for myself for 30 minutes a day
  • Declutter one shelf or drawer a day

Do you get the picture?  The possibilities are endless.  The choices could be big or they could be small.  It doesn’t matter.  I like to think my rules will build on themselves.  Whatever I choose for January I will continue in February and those rules will continue on into March etc.

What are my 2 rules for January?  I’m going to start small as I kick this off.

  • Rule 1: Drink 6 glasses of water a day (I stink at this so bad in the cold winter months)
  • Rule 2: Read for myself 30 minutes a day.

There you have it!  I’ll check back in with you in a couple of weeks to let you know how my small January rules are going?  Care to join me?  What will your 2 rules be?

When Life Crashes Into Homeschooling

Life happens!  No matter who you are you will face some sort of difficult circumstance at some point in life.  Probably at many points in life truthfully.  Being able to roll with the punches can be a challenge but it can also be a mark of character.  Showing your children how to adapt to life’s circumstances teacher them more than any math lesson could.

As homeschoolers we likely have more flexibility to adapt than other family’s might.  I’m a stay-at-home mom.  My children don’t have to be picked up or dropped off at school at any certain hour.  This means we can help others out when they are in need.

Recently we’ve been blessed to be able to do just that.  Unfortunately my mom has faced some difficult medical circumstances and she’s need support to get to doctor’s appointments and treatment.  While I would so much rather that she didn’t have to face this ordeal I decided to grab it as an opportunity.  An opportunity to show my children how we care for loved ones and how to be roll with what life tosses at you.

I share with you a picture I took on whim one day.  We were waiting in a parking lot for my mother to finish her appointment. My children had packed up their backpacks full of math, grammar, poetry and a whole bunch of other things to keep themselves busy. I didn’t think much of the photo.  I was sending it quick to my mom just to show her what her crazy grandchildren were up to.  Thinking back now I think it shows a lot.  It shows just how life keeps going even when hard circumstances crash into it.

I’m thankful for homeschooling.  Without it I couldn’t be there for my mom.

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Happy Birthday!

First birthdays are so bitter sweet.  It is a grand milestone but it can make a mommy’s heart ache as my little baby isn’t really a little baby any more.  Today I pause and reflect at the year.  My Eliza is sunshine and rainbows. She lights up the room!  She has her Daddy’s heart TOTALLY wrapped around her little finger.  Her brothers and sister think she hung the moon… they may be right.

 

Happy Birthday Eliza!

 

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Real Life Homeschooling… The Schedule

Today I kick off a blog series all about what homeschooling is REALLY like!  The nitty gritty, roll up your sleeves, get out and put some elbow grease into work.  I certainly don’t want to make homeschooling look scary or ugly because it isn’t… usually.  It certainly isn’t all sunshine, rainbows and lollipops either.  So here I am, opening the doors wide to my home and letting you see what truly lies behind this crazy world of mine where I homeschool 2 1/2 children (I say 2 1/2 – one 9 year old, one 7 year old, and one just getting started with some kindergarten level work – she’ll be 5 next month) all with a baby underfoot.

You have to promise me one thing before you read on.  I’m getting a bit vulnerable here and I’m holding nothing back.  Please be kind to me… AND! You have to promise me that you truly understand that no two homeschools look alike.  NONE!  What I do is TOTALLY different from what some of my friends do.  So no comparing.  AND PLEASE don’t tell me I’m doing it wrong!  That’s the last thing any mom needs to hear.

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Real Life Homeschooling Part 1: OUR SCHEDULE!

Oh boy our schedule!  This is a thorn in my side because there is the ideal that I’d like to see and then there is REALITY!  Once upon a time we a sweet little routine schedule that we followed pretty well most of the time.  I got up early and accomplished a whole bunch of things before my children awoke.  I started the day dressed and relatively put together.  My bathroom got wiped down and my bed was almost always made and the laundry was generally always caught up.  It was pretty sweet!  Then baby number 4 came along.  Woosh out the window all of that went!  She’s a restless sleeper so getting up early is REALLY tough for this mom!  So very little gets done in the mornings these days.  Truthfully I play catch up all day long.  Honestly most days I feel like a dog chasing my tail.

Here’s what it REALLY looks like right now….

7:15 – I peek at the clock and say some not nice words to myself because the kids will be up any minute and I failed to get up early AGAIN!

7:30 – Nurse the baby while trying to balance a plate with something edible for breakfast.  Thank GOODNESS my husband gets the kids fed most mornings.  I’d crack under pressure if this was my job.

8:00 – Guess what!The baby wants to nurse again. Didn’t we just do that?  My other kids are SUPPOSED to be making their beds/getting dressed/cleaning up/getting chores done… instead they are acting like wild animals while I holler up the stairs trying to try and keep them on task.

8:30 – Kiss Daddy goodbye (sometimes I panic a bit… he is a great husband and father and I am always sad to see him leave for the day)

8:35 – The kids still haven’t finished the chores that should only take 20 minutes.  Once they do they are SUPPOSED to read a book from our library book basket.

9:00 – I am balancing getting the baby down for a nap, while trying to pick up some dirty laundry off of my bedroom floor and creating a load to go in the wash… these days the bed rarely gets made and the bathroom only gets wiped down when walking in there makes me want to vomit or we have company coming.  During all of this chaos I’m hunting down something suitable to wear for the day… maybe.

9:30 – I am finally ready to start school.  By now the boys have made their way to the school room (God willing) and have started tackling some of the things they do independently – Like lessons in Kahn Academy or their typing program.  For the past 30 minutes my 4 year old comes to me every 3 minutes asking me “Mommy when will you do school with me today?”  A smart mom would create something for her to do at this time so she’ll stop that… I haven’t done that yet.

We are supposed to start with Bible study.  We do, sort of, sometimes.  Ok I don’t actually know what we start with.  By now there is usually some catastrophe going on that I have to fix.  The dog got loose, someone’s computer won’t start right, the baby blew out her diaper, something is wrong with the washing machine.  You name it.

10:00 Break Time – yes I know.  BREAK TIME!  We haven’t started yet!  Usually by the now the kids are begging for a snack.  They go off to start some other chores and eat.  Don’t ask me what I’m doing.  I really don’t know!  I’m just… there.

10:30 – I’m begging them to hurry up so we can get back to school and get something done GOSH DARN IT!

10:45 –  Time to REALLY start school.  Usually I just pick a subject and we go.  Maybe it’s that science thing we are working on.  Perhaps someone needs some math help.  Writing maybe?  It is really all up to whatever my priority is for that day.

11:00 – Just as we get started the baby wakes up hungry and in need of a diaper. I scurry off to do that as fast as I can.  Then I come right back and juggly nursing while overseaing whatever the task of the moment is.  Usually all 3 children are working on something different so I am being tugged in 4 directions at once.  And so it goes until lunch.

12 or 12:30 – We break for lunch.  Usually I have some sort of internal meltdown because I can’t find ANYTHING in the fridge acceptable to eat.

1:00 – I send the kids to play.  I just need a little break.  Usually the baby is pretty happy so I just sit.  I have to or I’ll loose my mind.

2:00 – Baby goes back to bed.  I love to read aloud to my children so I will often nurse the baby to sleep while I read.   After that the rest of the crew gets down to work again.

3:30 – Adventures in Odyssey comes on the radio.  We stop and listen.

4:00 – This is when I’d LIKE to have the kiddos work on some independent projects.  Guitar, computer programing, an independent unit study, an art project.  This time is really the magical time of the day IF we have time for it.

INTERRUPTIONS:

Some days we have swimming lessons and we are racing out of the door to get there on time.  Other days we have co-op… again we race out the door (side note, how parents with kids in school get out every day? I’d rip my hair out!).  Then there are our field trips.  I LOVE field trips.  Often in the afternoons we have to cut things short because my daughter has karate.  It seems we always have to stop just as we are FINALLY starting to get into a groove.  ARGH!

A homeschool life can be pretty chaotic.  I have SO MANY crazy goals for my children’s learning.  I want LOTS of time for independent projects and pursuits. I want LOTS of time for them to play independently and dream up awesome stuff with their vivid imagination. I want LOTS of opportunities to participate in group activities like co-op, swimming lessons, and karate.  I want LOTS of time for us to go out and explore new and interesting places or to simply cuddle up and read a wonderful book together.  I want LOTS of time for structured learning, especially math and writing.  Except I only have 7 days in a week and there are only about 14 or so awake hours in their day.

Truth be told we don’t get lots of time for any of these things.  At least not all at once.  I’ve had to accept that it is ok to go through seasons.  Some weeks we do a lot of structured learning.  Some weeks we are going non-stop to field trips, classes, events… etc.  Some weeks they are really excited about something they love so I let them spend a whole bunch of time exploring that.  There are weeks when the weather is just gorgeous so we dump everything, load the van, and hit the trails or the parks.  Then there are the days where we are just sucked into our read aloud and we hardly move from the couch.

I’m trying to teach myself that all of this is ok.  Despite the chaos and days where I could absolutely swear that we have gotten NOTHING worthwhile done, we do.  We really really do.  I don’t see it in the moment for I am lost amongst the trees and I cannot see the forest.  Once in a while I husband drags me for air and points it all out for me.  Then I see the growth and progress.  I see just how much they are learning.

The first miracle Jesus did that is documented in the Bible is when He took ordinary water and turned into the most extraordinary wine.  Jesus takes my ordinary efforts at educating and raising my children and He turns it all into wine.  Whatever we are doing it IS working but that is because my God is in control, not me.  I praise Him and I worship him for it every day.

Homeschooling doesn’t look pretty but my goodness we make progress every day.

Note to my husband:  Yes, the next time I have a little mini breakdown and insist that it is all a mess and we aren’t getting ANYWHERE feel free to put this post in front of me.

So there you have it.  What one family’s homeschooling day REALLY looks like.

Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!

Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop

Book Review: Motivate Your Child

1459765_836337089761828_3900440202352696878_n (1)This month I have had my nose buried deep in a fantastic new book from Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.  I’ve already shared with you some of my thoughts about it here and other places.  It’s just the right book to come along at just the right time. It is called Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told.

If it were up to me every single family would be presented with three things at the birth of their first child… a Bible, The Christian Parenting handbook also by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, and THIS book. These books have helped my family just that much.

As parents we spend an incredible amount of our energy getting our children to do what needs to be done and trying to guide them towards become self-motivated, moral, and Godly people. Except learning to how, as a parent, to do this with our children isn’t something we can learn from a textbook.  It is something we learn from the Word of God – the Bible.

This book addresses basic every day life and teaches us how to attach our children’s hearts to God’s Word.  In the pages is help with our days.  Like the morning routine just to get the day started and perhaps out the door straight through to the bedtime routine to end the day.  In between falls homework, chores, preperations for getting to appointments and extra-curricular activities. If you homeschool like we do than there is all of that learning and schoolwork that we have to make sure happens too.  It is never ending.

This book teaches us how to instill great character and a fine ethic in our children along the way.  It’s our responsibility to teach our children to kind, generous, and helpful among other things not because we’ve told them to be but because their internal conscience motivates them.

Anyone else exhausted just by thinking about it we are trying to do as parents? I sure am.  Sometimes it can be maddening can’t it?  We find ourselves having to tell our children repeatedly, daily, 100 times a day what it is they are supposed to do.  My children know that to get to karate for example (something we do 2-3 times a week and have done for 5 years) that they have to have their uniform, bag, shoes, coat, staff etc. etc.  They know what time we leave yet somehow I am always hollering up the stairs to their rooms… don’t forget your bag!  Where is your staff?  We leave at 5:00 why aren’t you in your uniform yet (despite having prompted them forever ago to start getting ready)!  Then someone can’t find something and we are all in a tizzy. Despite all of my promises and vows not to yell the loud Momma voice rears it’s ugly head. By the time I take my seat in the drivers seat I’m ready to rip my hair out sometimes.

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I’m going to go out on a limb and guess I’m not the only Mom in the world with kiddos that do this sort of thing.  So how can we stop the madness?  This is where Motivate Your Child comes into play. It teaches us parents how to end the nagging and repair relationships that might be suffering because of it.  We are reminded that parenting is really a long process where we are preparing our children for life by providing them with the tools they need to be self-motivated and people of Godly character.

This book isn’t just full of theory and discussion, it is brimming with real life examples that leave you nodding your head shouting inside… THAT HAPPENS TO US TOO! Followed by not only practical and doable tips and techniques to make real changes AND references to the Bible to remind us why we are teaching and guiding our children.  If you are a family that strives to use God’s word when making parenting decisions and you are interested in what Godly Christian family and parenting experts have learned in their research and their own study of the Bible than this book is absolutely for you.  There is so much to learn about Biblical parenting just by reading all about how Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller teach and guide real families in their ministry.

This quote from the book has lingered with me for a long time…

A parent’s words are important in a child’s life. They linger in the heart and become food for the conscience.

How many times as you’ve grown into an adult have you heard the often repeated phrases your parents used?  My mother had this habit of telling … “NOW!”  I can hear her voice with that word clear as a bell.  In fact when I say it to my own children I can flash right back to being  a kid myself!  Or… “Just do your best! Your best is good enough.”  She said that to me so often that to this day every time I tackle anything difficult I can hear her saying that to me in my mind.

It is true.  The things we tend to say to our children they will carry with them forever.  Our voices will turn into their internal voices and guide long after we are no longer around to help through their days.  I want to use this to my advantage.  If I use positive, encouraging, and motivating words now God willing when they are adults they’ll continue to say those things to themselves and make wise choices.

My favorite example from the books is…. “Brother’s Love Each Other.”  This is near the beginning.  I have four children and it is my prayer that they always remain close to another.  That they are steadfast friends that love on one another in the hard times, celebrate together in the good times, and help each other whenever possible.  I know friends who don’t get along with their siblings at all.  This is tragic in my opinion.  So, as the book suggests, whenever I catch them fighting I now say… Brothers and Sisters love each other so let’s make this right.  And when I see them loving each other and getting along I say… See brothers and sisters love each other and you guys are doing a great job with that right now.  My prayer is when they are all grown and some conflict comes up they’ll remember that brothers and sisters love each other and they’ll do what they have to to make it right.

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller spend a good deal of time discussing how the conscience develops and they offer practicle ways to positively coach your children towards using it in a positive way.  They dive into handling correction and they teach parents how to use correction as a positive opportunity for guidance. There are even fabulous chapters on spirtual development in children and family fun in connecting with scripture.

There are too many worthwhile things to list. It is simply a goldmine. I can’t fit everything in this space.  This is the kind of book you’ll want to reread as you gain more insights with each pass through and some things that seem to not to pertain to your family in the moment will likely come up at a later time.

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Look Up! Look Down! Social Media… the perils!

I was sitting in my children’s Karate class the other day, tapping away on my phone.  It had been a long day and I had a lot of catching up to do as I had many messages and emails regarding our homeschool co-op, my photography business, an upcoming family get together, texting my husband about things we need to get done, and… well… who knows what else.

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That’s when it happened… a woman behind me whispered (ok, it was a really loud whisper if she was trying to be quiet she stunk) she whispered to her friend sitting next her to “Some of these parents should put down their phones and watch the class!”

I’m sure my face turned red.  Did this woman just try to guilt shame me?  Did that really just happen?  Oh the things that ran through my mind about what I should say… but I didn’t.  I did put my phone down for a few minutes but only a few.

Here’s the thing… this woman doesn’t know me.  She doesn’t know I homeschool my children and I’m with them 24/7 watching EVERYTHING they do.  She doesn’t know that I put social media aside all day long in order to nurture and educate my children and I’m desperate for a brain break and some time to get things done. She doesn’t know that that little phone is the life line through which my children’s social lives keep thriving.  She doesn’t know that my husband works long hours day and night and weekends too and this is our one time to make sure we have a clue about what is happening in the other’s life. She doesn’t know that my family has been a part of this karate school for 4 years and I’ve sat through sometimes SEVEN karate classes week in and week out through all of that time.

She doesn’t know… she doesn’t know about the woman sitting next to me.  Perhaps that lady is getting word about a relative in the hospital, talking to a friend overseas who’s actually awake at the same hour, or working out a sweet surprise for her child’s birthday.

She just assumed we were all ignoring our children and that we were terrible for doing it.

Social media, the internet, our little phones have all gotten a bad rap as of late.  There is this idea that these things make us isolated.  That we are so sucked into the virtual world at our fingertips that we are ignoring the real world around us.  That we are becoming a lonely society with 500 meaningless Facebook “friends.”  We now look down our noses as those looking down at our phones.

There are videos like the one above and whole books (several of them) written on the topic.  It’s another “thing” for moms to get wrong.  It’s another source for Mommy guilt… just because I chose to catch up on my phone rather than watch my 1,000th karate class.

Social media  and our tiny little phones aren’t evil.  Social media and the internet is a wonderful vibrant medium that can add so much richness to life.  It can connect you to friends old and new, expose you to new ideas, lift you up and motivate you.  I have so many friends from days gone by… from high school, from college, from old jobs… you name it.  We’ve reconnected through Facebook and I adore what they share.  To watch their little babies be born and grow up!  To see their triumphs and to pray for their struggles.

Social media is where I learn about the stuff that doesn’t always make the mainstream news. Things like the struggle to free persecuted Christians from the worlds worst jails, the real story behind things like Common Core, or the absolute best way to cook quinoa.

Social media is the tool I use to make my family’s social life go round.  In the last 24 hours I’ve had online group conversations (that don’t appear in any of my newsfeeds) with no less than 30 people.  THIRTY PEOPLE!  Some of them half way around the world.  I’ve planned playdates, co-op classes, a Christmas party, and negotiated with a family that will likely book me to photograph a wedding.  How much of that would have happened if I banned social media from my life?  Next to NONE of it!

Truth be told there are a few people who were once in my social circle that I saw regularly.  They decided to kick the social media habit and now I rarely if ever see them.  They aren’t aware of the events, groups, outings, park dates, classes, field trips etc any more so they don’t come!  That seems more isolating to me but I’m not them so I can’t say.

Anyway… no more Mommy guilt over our phones ok? It’s ok to look down, at least sometimes.

 

Hands Free Revolution? A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!

Can I share with you something I don’t like about raising children?  It goes by too fast.  Now I’m not being all pollyanna and pretending like raising for babies is all rainbows and lollipops!  My goodness are some days hard and yes I do sigh with great big RELIEF when my children all settle into bed at night.  Finally, some quiet time!  But goodness my oldest is about to turn nine! Half his time as my “child” is pretty much over.  His days as a little kid playing in the backyard, pretending to be whatever his imagination is taking him today, that’s way more than half over.  We are probably not too far away from being too cool for that.

It is going by WAY TOO STINKING FAST!  Can’t I just slow it down and drink it all so I don’t forget a thing?  I want to remember how my boys smell because that little boy smell and dirt and play is special.  Before I know it it’ll be more like stinking body odor!  My four year old daughter is lost in princesses and baby dolls.  She loves to dress up!  My baby is still very much a baby but when I look at the older three I know… my days gazing into her beautiful eyes as she nurses away in my arms are so limited.  It all makes me ache!

What do I do?  It hurts to realize from the moment they are born they are really just in the process of slipping away.  If I do my job well I’ll blink and they’ll be grown, independent adults off in the world and I’ll be left with… well… I don’t even know.  I’m sure God will have a plan for me at that season of life but it still hurts my heart to realize some day I won’t be a Momma like I am now.

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I recently picked up with book called Hands Free Mama! A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!  (Affiliate Link) What a title huh?  The book is convicting.  I’m realizing that I spend my days on a quest to get as much done, to get through as much stuff (blogging, homeschooling, co-op planning, ministry, homemaking… you name it!)  that I’m MISSING out on LIVING and soaking in the here and now!

I don’t want to miss my children’s childhoods!  I don’t want to rush through it!  I want to LIVE in it!  Don’t you?

Now I haven’t finished the book!  I’m going through it slowly… digesting each section and taking seriously the challenges presented in it.  I was afraid this was another book that was going to make me feel guilty for social media, blogging, etc.  It isn’t!  Yes it does deal with the issue of paying more attention to your phone than anything else… but that’s not the center of this book.  This book is actually more about opening your eyes and encouraging you to ENGAGE in the here and now!  RIGHT NOW!  And to embrace the life in front of you at this minute.

Because of this book I now see my children’s silliness as more fun than a nuisance… and I engage in it!  Now, instead of running over to-do lists in my brain while driving to and from where ever I sing songs with my kiddos and engage them in fun conversation.  Now, instead of watching my kiddos play from the sidelines, I try and jump in… at least sometimes!

I’m feeling more connected to my children than ever!  I’m feeling more at peace and less frazzled than before.  I’m noticing more smiles and laughter too — come from me!

I’m toying with the idea of starting a series on this book and my experiences.  Stay tuned!

 

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