Get Intentional About Playing and Moving

Are you suffering from circumstantial depression?

Are you too tired to move?

Too worn out to play?

Or maybe you never learned to play as a child?

Some seasons of our lives, we just don’t feel like moving.

Why get intentional about moving and play?

One thing we have to get intentional about is playing and moving. We moms can get so caught up in the doing, that we forget about being. I’m not talking about vegging on Netflix or Amazon. I’m talking about intentional play for you and your children. Play builds brains, fuels logic, and gets bodies moving.

Play Therapy was developed in the 1970s to help families learn how to do intentional play with their children. It’s an important part of parenting. It stimulates brains and the relationship part of the playing grows the brain. Did you know that? Relationships grow the brain. So, the play I’m talking about is interactive.

  • A walk on the trail picking up nature and identifying it together.
  • A tea party.
  • Playing with Play doh.
  • Archery practice.
  • Board games.

All of these activities are work for children. We all have jobs. A child’s job is to find out how the world works -what the physical laws of nature are, how relationships work, how to get along. how to win, how to lose, how to build character.

These are all done through play/work. 

Have you ever thought of play this way before?

I’m not talking about “go to your room and play by yourself.” There’s a place for that. In fact, kids are more willing to play by themselves after their emotional tank is full. We mom are the gas that fuels their tank. If you have boys, the last sentence should hit your funny bone. We co-regulate with our kids, we teach them how to play.

YOu’re never too old to Play

Some of us don’t know how to play well as adults, because no one taught us or we think we are too old for play. We’re never too old to play. It’s okay. We can have fun. We can make a mess. Remember Moms, we are the boss and the employee. If the boss says we can have a water fight, we can. Then the employee can clean it up ( that’s us too).

One year, we had moved to a new town and didn’t know anyone. I was suffering some of my own circumstantial depression and God told me to do something fun with each child every day. It was hard. It was fun. We grew closer that year as a family, more than any other time.

We had squirt gun battles, game nights, roller blades on the driveway. Hiked. Biked. Did scavenger hunts at Cabela’s. 

The point is, don’t wait to want to. Do it when you don’t feel like it.

Moving.

Mamas, we have to move. We do a lot of moving with babies, laundry and dishes, cooking and the like, but with all of our servant appliances, we don’t work as hard as Moms of the past used to. We can easily become couch potatoes in between jobs. Couch potato-ing makes us feel sluggish. Our lymph nodes fill with toxins that don’t drain without proper exercise. We get headaches, backaches and cranky attitudes. We need to move. Guess what, it takes the investment of time and energy. You can do it! You can! Find an accountability partner. If you want to see your children grow up, graduate, get married, and have children, you have to start working on moving today. Not some day when you have the time. Now is the time to move and play.

WHOSE JOB IS IT ANYWAY?- THE MODERN WOMEN’S GUIDE TO HOUSEWIFERY PART III

Thanks for following along for this super short series!

Whose job is it anyway? That’s the main question that started this series of articles. When it comes to the home, whose job is whose? In the first article in the series, I shared a few questions wives can ask their husbands to get some clarification.

Today, I’d like to focus on what a stay-at-home Mom (or one with a home based business) does. Here’s a definition from Wikipedia (so you know it’s true):

A housewife is a woman whose work is running or managing her family’s home—caring for her children; buying, cooking, and storing food for the family; buying goods that the family needs in everyday life; housekeeping and maintaining the home; and making clothes for the family—and who is not employed outside the home.

Hmmm. Two aspects of this job description stick out to me.

  1. That’s an awful lot of responsibility.
  2. Really?! You haven’t updated this definition since 1950? What about taking the kids to sports events, play practices, or the multitude of other things kids do nowadays-Occupational therapies, speech therapy, tutoring and the list goes on forever…

I googled stay-at-home mom and got all kinds of blog posts and some advice I wouldn’t repeat on here. I saw kids called rotten words that I couldn’t imagine coming out of a stay-at-home Mom’s mouth. Not only has most of our current culture devalued the purpose of Motherhood in general, we Moms are devaluing ourselves. YIKES. Just ask any Mom what they do for a living. Even if they have a part time job at Starbucks (which I wouldn’t mind if I got to drink coffee all day) they will mention that before “I’m a Mom.” Or “I’m a home administrator.”

Then I found this gem on forbes.com:

“…the typical stay-at-home mom works almost 97 hours a week, spending 13.2 hours as a day-care teacher; 3.9 hours as household CEO; 7.6 hours as a psychologist; 14.1 hours as a chef; 15.4 as a housekeeper; 6.6 hours doing laundry; 9.5 hours as a PC-or-Mac operator; 10.7 hours as a facilities manager; 7.8 hours as a janitor and 7.8 hours driving the family van.

Salary.com aimed to market price Mom in the same manner it prices a job. For 10 titles, a nearly 100-hour work-week and a six-figure annual rate, moms may be the most valuable workers in the country.”

That’s good news, right? We Moms have a monetary value and should be called the most valuable workers in the country. You want to know the real reason what Moms do isn’t valued like Forbes suggests?

You can't put a dollar amount on a Mom_

You cannot measure the value of what a Mom does in mathematical terms. It’s not dollars and cents. It’s not something you can plot on a graph. What Moms do is invest in relationship. Yes, she does all the work listed above. Those are important, but they are actually footnotes in the larger scheme of things. You can’t put a dollar amount on a Mom:

  • investing in a child’s character
  • teaching them how to navigate life
  •  teaching them the foundations of family
  • unconditional love
  • the value of grace and mercy
  • forgiveness
  • steadfastness
  • how to pray
  • reading great literature
  • baking together just because
  • sitting by the fire with hot cocoa and having an in depth conversation with a teen about life

The reason our culture struggles with valuing Mothers is that you can’t really put a numeric value on it. It’s an eternal value that can’t be seen. But when a Mother has not done her job, you see the gaping hole in a child’s life. When you see a child who can’t manage to navigate the world when he is older, who do you blame? The Mother.

So, Mama if you are reading this and you have believed the lie that what you do is not valuable, remember this- C.S. Lewis said:

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”

 

Schedules are for Unorganized People

Schedules are for Unorganized People

Many years ago, when I was pregnant with child number three, a very put together, organized friend came over and helped me get my home in order. I practically worshiped her. Her home was clean. ALL the time. And beautifully decorated. And she knew where her car keys were, all the time.

Confession: I used to be terribly unorganized. I knew I had organization in me…somewhere. I just didn’t know how to get it out. I didn’t know the simple truth I am sharing with you today….

Schedules are for Unorganized People

Schedules are for unorganized People

I used to think that people who were super organized were born that way. Some are. Some aren’t. I thought I was organized when I just had to take care of ME. Then I went to college, met Mr. Right. Got married. Three kids later and I was drowning in unorganized chaos. You wouldn’t know it to look at me or my house. I seemed to keep the dishes washed most days. And I washed clothes. It was just those days when I couldn’t find this or that or I didn’t know whether I should mop the floor or go through the bedrooms. Not to mention, I felt the need to train my children to take care of their things and learn some responsibility.

I needed a tool to help me. I needed a schedule.

Some gals I know are afraid to use schedules. They are afraid they might mess up. And they will. I do. Some schedules need tweaking. Some schedules get set aside for a day or two. But, they are still great tools.  A farmer doesn’t throw his hoe away if he accidentally hits himself on the toe one day. Or if he doesn’t use it for three days. No, he picks that thing up and uses it again.

A schedule is a tool that I am in charge of. I choose it. I use it. I tweak it. If it works for me, I work it. If it doesn’t, I scrap it.

We gals don’t like people telling us we need to get organized. So, I’m not telling you. Here are some things to consider….. If you cannot find your car keys, your kids don’t have any clean underwear and you eat cereal for dinner several nights a week, those things tell you. I’m not going to tell you what kind of schedule to use. I don’t know what will work for you. I will tell you a schedule won’t work for you if you don’t use one. If you feel unorganized today, you will feel that way tomorrow unless you change your habits. It’s totally up to you.

This article was birthed out of a conversation with my eldest, daughter- Audrey, who commented that several friends had said that schedules didn’t work for them and then promptly threw them out. No, schedules don’t work for you. They are a tool, like the hoe. You pick it up and use it. With your help, your muscles, it tills the soil. It does what is needed by your power linked to the design of the tool.

When you have the proper tool, you can be productive. You can be more in control of what happens on a daily basis instead of feeling out of control. That means you can schedule some time for your passion. That’s what the tool of a schedule does. It frees you. It frees you to do whatever your God-sized dream is. If frees you from fretting about whether you should do the dishes or write for half an hour. Read a book to your child or clean out the garage. You decide. Dust the house and make cookies. Up to you. Instead of having lists and lists of things running through your head of what you should be doing. You know. The guilt list. I should Clorox the sink. I should sweep out the garage. I should write. I should suck up all the cobwebs in the corners. Schedule it. Use the tool. Decide ahead of time. Those cobwebs bothering you today? Tell them- You are scheduled for termination tomorrow. Enjoy your last day hanging around.  Take the powerful tool of scheduling and use it for you. Not for me. For you.

  Let’s together test the power of the schedule tool by trying one out.I know you can do it! Pick up that schedule and use it. Schedule in your God sized dreams. Then share… what has worked for you? What hasn’t worked?

*This is an excerpt from our Mom Habits Course!

Don’t Rain on My Eclipse

Welcome guest poster, LeeAnn Stewart, a dear friend who recently started a blog!

My children and I were standing outside staring expectantly at the sky. On our eyes were the eclipse glasses I had preemptively ordered weeks in advance, after much research on which ones were NASA approved. We had attached them to plates to block out any rays that may try to creep in and harm curious eyes.  We had science notebooks ready for careful observations. For days we had been experiencing dry, blaring heat and that morning was no different. As we stood on the porch staring at the sun in expectation, at exactly 1:10, the moment the eclipse was to begin, we were greeted with – clouds.

That’s right – a humongous cloud had parked itself right in front of the sun. We got peeks of the giant star as the black disc gradually rolled in front of it, but it didn’t take long for the clouds to roll back across. Then the clouds turned black. My son insisted it was going to rain; I told him that the forecast was not calling for rain and we would be fine.

Then it rained. Hard. We were probably the only neighborhood in our town, possibly within the entire line of the eclipse that had rain. I literally felt like Eeeyore in the picture with the rain cloud right over his head. Then there were tears – mine. Okay, it was more than tears. Usually I go with the flow in situations that cannot be helped, but I was angry. Really angry, a feeling that seemed out of place and extreme in relation to the situation. Even while I was experiencing it I knew it was an inappropriate response, but at the moment, I just couldn’t seem to control my emotions.

I told God that it wasn’t fair, that He was displaying His creation for all to see, but, like Lucy, he pulled away the football and said, “Not today, Charlie Brown. This show is for everyone but you. Thanks for playing.” I saw everyone else around me grabbing that ball and running while I was left with my head down, feeling let down, again.

After months of struggling to get my feet back under me after some unexpected circumstances,  I had felt like I was finally a fun mom again. I had planned something special for my kids. They were excited, I was excited, and we had spent time preparing. When the rain came, I felt like God had let me down, and I was hurt. After I had some quiet time with Him I realized that this frustration was really just the symptom of a bigger problem that had been brewing in me.

In the midst of my growing faith, I was feeling the ache of deferred hope. I felt the bucket of all of my hopes and dreams dumped on top of my head once again. All of the dreams that are now put on hold. The desires that I have that are on the back burner when they were just within my reach. Every time the football was pulled away from me flashed before me like one of those old filmstrips.

I thought about David. The same David who stood before Goliath with just a slingshot, the same David who was anointed by God to be a king, found himself on the run, afraid for his life. He hid in caves. He pretended to be insane. He spent so many years away from his family and the peace and comfort of home. All of this was due to circumstances outside of his control.

The book of Psalms is full of the songs of David. Many of them begin with David expressing his fears, his anguish, and his loneliness. I wonder sometimes if he questioned his calling when he was lying in quiet in the darkness. “I didn’t choose this God. You did. Is it worth it? Are you sure you picked the right person? Did you forget?” As strong as David was, he was holding onto a promise that God had given him, a promise that was deferred in its delivery. There were times that he questioned God and asked Him when he would be delivered from the weight of the life around him.

Did God forget about David? Did he choose the wrong person after all (“Oh, you’re David, with the RUDDY complexion. I was looking for David with the MUDDY complexion. Awkward.”)? Of course not, because we know that that is not in the character of God, and we also know the end result of God’s promise to David. Through him came Christ, and through Christ comes our redemption.

While David was real with God, he never wavered in his devotion. He always ended his laments with an acknowledgment of who God was. He reminded God of His promises. Even though he was in a place where his dreams were on hold, he knew that God would bring him through.

We can choose to either wallow in our circumstances or embrace them and allow God to change us during that season..png

As I was making dinner that night I turned on a podcast by Sarah Clarkson, the title of which was, “Overcoming Obstacles So You Can Own Your Life.” She talked about how we often throw adult-sized tantrums when we find ourselves in situations we can’t control that go against what we think we should have. We can choose to either wallow in our circumstances or embrace them and allow God to change us during that season. God provided me with what I needed to hear right when I needed to hear it. It was a reminder to me that He does see where I am. He doesn’t turn back on His promises, and He hasn’t gotten so busy knocking someone else’s socks off that He forgot about me. In fact, David was a better king because of the times he had to lean on God, and we can become stronger people when we go through dark times.

I apologized to my kids for my behavior, and went to bed in peace, telling God of his faithfulness, and thanking Him for removing the clouds so I could see the sun, which He did literally and figuratively. The clouds parted at the peak of the eclipse, right at the height of its glory. That’s exactly how it happens when we trust in God’s timing.

You can follow LeeAnn here!  

When Nurturing Your Children Doesn’t Come Naturally

Friend Patty was sporty, fit and planned to become an astronaut. Instead, she became a wife and mother. Patty didn’t feel as if she had a mothering instinct. Lovey-dovey stuff didn’t come easy to her. She worked hard to curb her military manner. Because she worked so hard, she became an excellent parent. One of the best I have had the privilege of knowing. She lived in the moment and believed her children are precious. Her children are grown now and thriving.

Patty was my first honest Mom friend. She told me the truth about how she felt about Mothering. She felt as if she had to overcome many personality obstacles to be nurturing. By the grace of God, she did. I’m thankful for her honesty. She inspired me to work against the grain of my flesh and be a purposeful parent.

Honestly, being loving and nurturing toward our children is hard work. Why? Because it requires true Biblical love and that is the hardest kind of love on the planet. It’s the kind of love that doesn’t fail, hardly notices when it has been wrong and this kind of love believes the best of everyone.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. (I Corinthians 13: 7b, The Message)

“Our culture depicts a “good mother” as an angel in the house who is naturally sweet, self-denying, and eternally loving. The media creation expectations that mother-love, like our culturally formed vision of romantic love, is something you fall into, a delightful sinkhole that leaves you so sated that you don’t want to climb out.”- Leslie Fields via Parenting is Your Highest Calling and 8 Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt

While there may be sunny days when everything goes just right for five minutes and we have coffee, most days aren’t picture perfect. Although we love our children, some days we just don’t like them. They behave badly and we’re exhausted.  We dangle at the end of our rope. It’s in these moments, behind closed doors,that Biblical nurturing love is hardest to walk out. It’s in these moments that we woman can not do anything in our own strength. It’s in these moments that Christ’s suffering is close. He meets us there on the battlefield. He understands. It’s in those moments when our flesh is fierce.

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?- Galatians 5:17

We are naturally selfish beings. Our regenerated spirit wars with the flesh. What does that mean? We want our own way. We joylessly grab for whatever we think will make us happy at the moment, five more minutes sleep, one more chapter, a perfectly clean home, a late night movie. We develop a brutal temper when we don’t get what we want. When we do get what we want as a result of yelling or manipulation, we feel lonely, empty, depleted and a deep sense of shame. I know. Lived there in the pit myself. It’s muddy and stinky. There is no peace in the ‘me first’ land of motherhood.

So, what’s the answer? How do we nurture our children when we just want to be left alone? How do we become the nurturing, loving Mother we want to become. How do we fight our selfish nature? One moment at a time. One prayer at a time. One renewing our mind and our bodies at a time. One desperate prayer at a time. When we submit to God’s way, it doesn’t mean we will feel joyful at the time. We constantly have our own Garden of Gethsemane moments.

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.- Hebrews 12:4

Endeavors requiring the most selfless effort yield the most fruit..png

Motherhood may be the hardest work you”ll ever do. If you are having one of those days when you hit your nurture groove, enjoy it! If you are having a day when behaviors are straining every nerve, I hear you. I know. It’s hard. Keep praying. Keep asking. Don’t give up. Endeavors requiring the most selfless effort yield the most fruit. Obstacles don’t mean you have failed. They mean you are running the right course.

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.- Galatians 5: 22-23

Nurturing occurs on a battlefield for hearts and minds. It is on the home front we are winning souls and making disciples. “Discipleship is the work of a lifetime, and it comes… sometimes slowly… in fits and starts….two steps forward, one step back…When we develop a long-range vision believe God’s promise that our work will not go unrewarded. Grace is the heart attitude that grants others the freedom to listen and learn so that they grow, they master the skill of cultivating long-term relationships.” (Sally Clarkson) The goal of nurturing is attachment. The goal of attachment is long term relationships. Relationships with our children transfer to relationships with God the Father.