Sunday, July 10, 2011

What I Learned When My House was Quiet

I feel like a new person after spending the last day and a half really thinking.  My brother and sister-in-law were kind enough to take Spencer to their home for a couple of days, and Eric took our older three children to see his side of the family for the weekend, which left me in my house by myself for the first time in 12 years.  Our house was so QUIET, but it was a wonderful chance to take a little break. 

Although I did miss everyone terribly, I've learned some valuable lessons (which I'll briefly share here since I poured my heart out in the last post, and I don't want to leave you hanging).

(1) Being a mom is very busy.  This is another one of those obvious lessons, but until I sat in a quiet house all by myself, I didn't realize how much time I spend talking with and caring for my children. My oldest three aren't home yet, but here's what's happening with my little guy:

Spencer wants to admire each dandelion he picks from the backyard:  "See, Mommy!  See how this one is all closed up.  And this one is tall.  And these three go together."  He points out that the brown Hot Wheels car is his favorite, and it looks the coolest when it rolls next to the white one.  He doesn't like how the reduced-fat string cheese tastes.  He gets scared if he plays in his room alone, and he can't figure out how to get his sandals on the right feet. This boy has got a lot to say!

Yesterday morning, right after I picked him up, he sat in my lap and held his cheek against mine.  We shared a closeness that I've been missing for several weeks, with all our travel and summer activities.  "Mom, I want to be with you for a big long time," he whispered.  I kissed his forehead, his cheeks, his nose, and the top of his head.  Then I told him that I, too, want to be with him for a "big long time." 

The talking, kissing and loving is part of what makes motherhood so busy.  I haven't valued that enough in the past, so I'm going to start (again).

(2) This time with young children is a gift.  One of my questions from the last post was how much a young mom should do.  Part of that answer is that I should only do what can be done in the hours I've allotted for "extra" stuff.  (I know . . . isn't that obvious, too?)  I always try to cram in "one more thing," and that's not the way to live.

Even though it feels like I move too slowly with the work I feel compelled to do, that's good enough.  These years are going too fast, and I will just have to trust that the Lord will help me work quickly and effectively in the time I have.

Making time for family scripture study,

cherishing the sweet excitement on their faces when we spend time together,

and watching my children find joy in life's simple pleasures are just three of the things I love about motherhood (among thousands).

It's just a matter of evaluating priorities and figuring out what is most important at this specific time in my life.  (Which isn't easy, but thankfully we're focusing on "The Power of Priorities" next month at The Power of Moms.)

(3) Breathing is good.  I'm not very good at breathing, in general.  I hold my breath way too much.  However, this weekend I've made it a point to slow down and breathe between activities.  I sat on the couch and read some articles I'd been wanting to get to.  I ate my lunch on the porch with Spencer and enjoyed the shade of our tree.  Moving at a fast pace, even when my intentions are good, isn't sustainable (or healthy), so I'm going to make sure I breathe deeply and often.

(4) The best way to be helpful is to keep moving and keep listening.  I read an article called, "Start Moving" that had the exact advice I needed:

To those of you who are waiting upon the Lord for guidance in your lives--who need help with a major decision or question--I give you this challenge: Prayerfully and carefully use your own intelligence and your own resources to choose a path that seems right to you.  Then become anxiously engaged in walking that path.  When the time for course correction comes, He will be there to help you and to guide you.

Isn't that beautiful?  I'm already on a path that seems right to me, and though I don't feel that I am exactly where I need to be yet, I'm going to pay close attention to opportunities that come to me, and I'm going to listen carefully for further instructions.  If I'm consistently asking how I can be helpful each day, I have no doubt that I will achieve that goal.

Time to read stories with Spencer!  Thanks for listening, and if you have any other advice or ideas, please share.  I appreciate it.

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