I've been thinking a lot this week about the choices we make, and being deliberate in the life we live. This is March break for the school kids in our area, and for the first time in my four years of homeschooling we are not taking the time off. A fact that would have happily gone unnoticed by my children, but for the announcement their violin teacher made at the end of the week that there would be no classes during the March break. My kids' ears perked up and the conversation began almost immediately. "Do we have to do school next week?" My answer was that yes, we did - a fact they were not, as you can imagine, overly thrilled about. One child in particular fell into a deep but short-lived depression over the whole thing (as can sometimes afflict unsuspecting elementary school children who've had a week off dangled in front of them and then swiftly removed.)
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
For the past seven years, we've been blessed to have someone come in to help with housework once every two weeks. In the very beginning I was a working mother with two children under three, and five months along in my third pregnancy. I needed the help! And she was a Godsend. Many times over those seven years, particularly since I started staying home full time, I felt guilty about spending the money on something I was home to do myself. But if I was honest with myself it took everything I had (or so I thought) to stay on top of the day-to-day house cleaning, not to mention our busy homeschooling schedule. When a veteran homeschooling Mom expressed to me once that if she could do anything different it would have been to hire a housecleaner no matter what sacrifices needed to be made, I felt a little easier spending the money. "I need this," I thought. And indeed it has been so very worth it.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I have a friend who has the ability to say one thing that always seems to be what the Lord wants me to be thinking of. Often times it's just a casual conversation, but one word will jump out at me and stay with me long after we've said our goodbyes. Recently my husband and I were chatting with this friend, and he relayed a teaching moment he had with a mentor. Someone had shared about the difference prayer was making in their life, that after a month of committing to daily prayer they noticed everything changing in their life. The mentor told him, "that's beautiful, but can you tell me what is different that brought about this change?" There were the usual responses: Christ's presence, peace, a different awareness. But all of these fell short. What the mentor was really trying to convey was that the person was serious in front of a proposal - prayer. That when we take our lives and our relationship with Christ seriously, only then can we respond in any adequate way to who He is in our lives. And he went on to say, as my friend relayed, that if we don't understand the need to maintain this seriousness - if we focus too much on the beauty, on the mountaintop - then we risk going right back to the place we were before we found this peace, as if we had learned nothing.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
There are many times in my life when I feel like a complete fraud. Like the person people see is not the person I really am. Boxing Day this year was a particularly challenging day for me, because the busyness of the Christmas season collided with my husband's need to be at work his normal working hours and on call for the hours in between. We were wiped as we usually are after Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and though I had made plans to visit my parents on Boxing Day what I really wanted was to just stay home. Not to be by myself getting all six kids ready, tearing them away from their toys and their friends. Not to have my husband at work and missing him like crazy. Not to have my house upside-down. I felt the simultaneous pressure of both cleaning and organizing after a whirlwind holiday, and of taking it easy and letting the kids celebrate. So I let them have a friend over for the morning while I busied myself with cleaning, then lamented the fact that when it was time to leave nobody was helping. Of course they weren't, it was the first day they had spent at home this Christmas! And their mother was sending mixed messages, because she really didn't know for herself what she wanted.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Today marked our official first day back to homeschooling after an extended Christmas vacation that took a lot out of me, and I'll be honest about the fact that I was not looking forward to it last night as I settled into bed. Our Christmas this year was CR-AZY as crazy can be, definitely the busiest so far and one that has us looking forward to making some changes next year as kids get older and get up earlier (4:30 am this year for the first time ever - argh! Haha!) Add to that the fact that my husband was on call from December 22 to December 30 (during which time he worked his standard Monday-Friday schedule which blessedly did not include Christmas day, but did include Saturday and Sunday between Christmas and New Years, in addition to extra long days and a few late-night call-ins), a Boxing Day wedding and a New Year's Eve wedding (the latter of which my husband was a groomsmen in), the usual family get togethers and Christmas/New Year's Mass schedule that are busy all on their own, and we were needless to say exhausted. Jeff was thankfully able to take the first week of January off, and when he asked that I not do school for the week so he could enjoy the family time he missed out on over the holidays let's just say it didn't take a lot of convincing. That week overflowed as well with much joy as we had friends from out of town visiting for the first part, and Jeff's brother and girlfriend arriving from Toronto later in the week. Christmas has grown to epic proportions around here and we were all living it up. I was not looking forward to getting back to the grind this morning.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
I spend much of my life, like I suppose most people do, being sized up. Because I spend my days surrounded by little people, people naturally have varying assumptions they are often not afraid to share with me on a daily basis - some good, some not so good. I suppose that's a function of the world we live in, everyone has an opinion about everything. But there are many things people say to me that are way off base or simply not true and rather than make a laundry list, I thought it would be better to give a little glimpse into some of the things you may find surprising about a Mom of many. Here are some of my biggest confessions:
Saturday, December 20, 2014
My husband and I were out doing some Christmas shopping earlier this week. It was the first time in years we've been able to shop together for Christmas, which is a big deal for us! While we were out I bumped into an old colleague of mine that I worked with for many years. We exchanged hellos and he updated me on life at the office, and then he asked me if I was working. I casually answered no, that I was home with the kids and homeschooling, and carried on our conversation. But after he had left I almost felt a twinge of regret that I hadn't mentioned the fact that I do freelance work on occasion. This was the same person who, when I was pregnant with my third child and approaching maternity leave, asked me if I thought I'd get bored being home all day with nothing to do. It was clear to me that he had no concept of what it means to be home raising a family and all the work that is involved, and that part of me felt the need to justify my current "career" choices as not a waste because I do, in fact, freelance occasionally. I felt the nagging need to say something that showed my skills weren't being wasted, and that I did indeed have ambition.