Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Was Boring

As a mother who still feels rather new to motherhood, even though I now have two under my belt, I always am looking for ways to improve upon my skills. My favorite sources often include large families that I feel function well, then I track down that busy momma, and ask her all sorts of questions about her secrets to success.

So before I took my sabbatical from blogging to do some other writing though, I was working on a series of tips for motherhood. I thought I would share a new tip that the Lord has recently re-taught me.

Don't fall into the trap of being boring.

What were my first clues that I was being boring. It started when I started to notice unrest in my home. There was fussing, whining, dramatic displays of moods and attitudes, and lots of poor napping going on in this house. Disobedience was on the rise too, as was mommy's temper gauge.
See what I mean, drama and exaggerated boredom.
This scene was
reenacted from actual events that took place.

My husband was the first to point out that there was a problem, and we had a talk about what we felt like wasn't working. I wanted answers to "fix" the problem fast, thinking we needed to ramp up our disciplines to deal with the increased disobedience issues. My husband, who is wise even when he doesn't realize just how wise, suggested we pray and ask Holy Spirit what to do about it first.

There is another tip that is invaluable: Ask Holy Spirit when you see a problem but don't know the root cause.

So I prayed, but I was already pretty sure I knew the answer. That is when the Lord started to show me things in my own heart. Somewhere in the last few months I had lost sight of my goals as a mother. My vision for motherhood had started to wane and so had my ability to change and adapt to new realities in my home (like my 4 year old growing out of most of my old tactics) because I just didn't care enough to try and be my best anymore. I was focused on other 'things'.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Those seasons where your mind gets preoccupied with other 'things' and so I had lost focus on what I wanted to accomplish else where. My house had started to fall apart in the meantime. Bathrooms were dirty, floors hadn't been mopped, and my kids were bored nearly to tears. Well, there were probably some actual tears.

All their favorites in the schedule like craft time, reading time, outside play, etc. had been denied them because I wanted to focus on my own things, like crochet, computer time, sewing, eating, sleeping, etc. Pathetic momma, I know, but it was only for a season and then I had my Holy Spirit wake up call.

Now I am trying to be fun again. I am letting them pull out creative crafty games in the morning, planning family devotions for a few mornings a week, letting them enjoy their favorites again. My initial reasons for not wanting to do some of these things was because I was afraid of the mess it would make. My cleaning schedule had also fallen to the wayside, so extra messes were unwelcome during this past season. Epic fail.
Kinsey and her birthday chain, counting down
the days to her birthday, 54 days in this
picture, but it was super fun to make.
She was able to work on her mad scissor skillz!

Now that I am out of my funk though, I can see that messes are worth it. My girls are loving all the craft time, and my mornings fly like a breeze because they are using up all their creative juices making crafts rather than inventing ways to misbehave. There is a whole lot less whining, crying, drama and tears, and you know what, at the end of it all I don't even mind cleaning up. With the total lack of drama, it is so much easier to clean and then move on to the next thing. They are sleeping better at nap time too, and I am spending less gas money taking them to friends houses for entertainment (don't get me wrong, we still have plenty of playdates, just not every other day like we were doing.), and I feel great about how happy they are. Success is a great and heady feeling and I only have the Holy Spirit to thank for this little insight. Who else could have told me, or would I have listened to, that I was being super boring as a mommy? Probably not too many, maybe none. I've still got some pride to kick, I'm sure of it, but Holy Spirit always knows how to say these things to me.

Thank the Lord I don't have to parent out of my own wisdom or only out of the wisdom of others!

So what is your current parenting challenge, or schedule challenge, or whatever conflict you are facing? Ask Holy Spirit about it (literally probably whisper it out loud a couple times in a day), then find some time during the next few days to sit and listen. Seriously, that is it. You don't need to rattle on a laundry list of prayers, you just need to sit and wait for that still small voice. When I first started sitting and listening for Holy Spirit, I did it in 20 minute increments, that was all I could handle.
Sitting quiet and being focus on the Lord is really hard, so if your mind keeps wandering the first few times you try, keep trying. If you keep thinking of all the things you should be doing with that time, write them down on a piece of paper and then refocus. Sitting quiet seems like a waste on the front end, but some of my most amazing revelations from the Lord have come through times of sitting quietly.
When Holy Spirit does speak, I usually don't recognize it right away, even when I am listen for it. In the coming days though, what was spoken to my mind in those quiet times (which I thought on the front end was my own imagination), is usually confirmed within the next few days in other ways. It is really that simple when you know Christ.
He can tell you all sorts of mysteries about your spouse or children or yourself. Sometimes when I think a problem is with my children or spouse, it is always humbling when the Lord shows me the issue is in my own heart. Whenever He shows me the problem though, He also suggests the solution. I love that about Him. He is so good!

So recap of tips:
Don't be Boring.
Ask Holy Spirit about Problems
Learn to Sit Quietly to Hear Holy Spirit

Outdoor play is a must for burning energy, thank you mowing
crew for blowing all the leaves into a pile and disappearing for
about twenty minutes so my girls could 'swim' in them!

Maybe coming up next time in this series will be: Making a Mommy Vision and Making a Schedule to Fit


lifeinthevillage said...

That is beautifully stated. I love it. And of course, soooooooo true. Boredom in our won hearts, inspires boredom in our children. Wisdom from the Lord my dear, wisdom.

abbie said...

Yes, I needed to hear this! I have been having the same issue with my girls and I know it is because I don't keep them busy! Thanks for sharing your insight from the Lord!