Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! I had an amazing day yesterday as you can tell by the picture.
I was first awoken by Josh getting out of bed, "What time is it?" I asked rubbing my eyes.
"Not time to wake up, just go back to sleep," Josh said.
Sounds good to me! I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep. My second wake up was not from an extra hour of sleep, but from my fire alarm signaling "fire, fire, evacuate immediately." The bacon being made by my husband and oldest child was burning on the stove! I threw some pants on to see what was going on in the kitchen and with outstretched arms, my six year old blocked me at the kitchen entrance and said "MOM! What are you doing in here? You are supposed to be in bed relaxing!!"
Like my Nan, I have always enjoyed crisp bacon.
The day continued with Josh going to pick up some curbside lunch where he volunteered to take the kids with him. I was alone in the house for the first time since quarantine started! It was glorious. About forty minutes later, Josh called me and asked me to start the shower because... Payton threw up in the car. Yay! They pulled up in the driveway and I rinsed her off in the shower while Josh sprayed the carseat with the water hose in the yard.
The moral of this story: pictures with children are moments of bribed deception that are only happening because mom got up early enough to put on some mascara.
Outside of the exciting life of motherhood, I have spent the last ten years in sports, many of those years were alongside Josh's career in the Army. Thus, leadership has been a huge theme in my life. In the past week, I have really had leadership on my mind. In the workplace or on a team, it's not always easy to lead, but it's obvious where leadership is needed. However, since becoming a stay at home parent, I've learned leadership is 100% self-accountability. There is no performance evaluation or peer review that can help you be more effective. And when you're in quarantine, I'm not really sure that you can even rely on your own children's behavior because everyone gets stir crazy. It takes serious self-reflection and discipline to get the most out of every day. Skills that I often cast aside to get stuff done.
Despite this weird chapter of life, I still kept feeling like I could do more as a leader. This feeling was more of a realization that I have always thought about leadership in terms of how I can influence people my age in my workplace. I think the bitter truth that many parents forget is that leadership begins in the home.
Today I wanted to share some wisdom from Priscilla Shirer. Priscilla Shirer is my spirit animal and I would highly recommend any of her books. I have been reading Awaken: 90 Days with a God Who Speaks. This is a 90 day devotional that has made me feel like Mrs. Shirer is spying on me. It was amazing to actually hear God answer a question that I had been thinking about.
I am a "doer" by trade. I expect to have to wake up and "get things done" in my home and I fall into the role that many mothers do: seeing what needs to be done before anyone else. Is this leadership? Yes... as a roommate. But what is leadership as a parent? Make no mistake, things have to get done around a home, but just because we buzz around the house cleaning, organizing, and now even homeschooling does not mean we are effective.
Here was my favorite part of what I read this weekend:
Shirer, Priscilla. Awaken: 90 Days With a God Who Speaks. B&H Publishing Group, 2017 pg 119-120.
Haha! How many times do we trade our effectiveness for efficiency? We pat ourselves on the back because the house is clean even though our kids have asked us to read them a book ten times. I justify this behavior by telling myself this is my role in my home. I am the only one that cares about how it gets done so I will just do it while I'm up. But when God asked us to steward something, did He really mean how many chores we can do in a day? The Bible says:
For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?
1 Timothy 3:5
As we forge on in this modified quarantine, think about these things in regards to your leadership at home...
1. Start the day in prayer- surrender the day's to-do list. Just like Priscilla said, we are not going to look at a freshly dusted ceiling fan and say "there you go, Lord. Everything you've asked, I've done it." Now more than ever, we need to ask God for wisdom because no one knows how to navigate a two month quarantine. Rise before your children wake up, take a deep breath, and ask. "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." James 1:5
2. Examine your heart- why are you doing what you're doing? Is there a purpose beyond "it needs to get done?" My best friend and fellow mom, Brittney, gave me some of the best advice after I left my job. My life had gone from working a strenuous job in college athletics to keeping up the house, managing our children's schedules, and sprucing my resume. Brittney reminded me that "anything you do, even the smallest things, can be used to glorify God." Are you folding clothes, cooking, and checking homework to help and serve? Or, like me, do you do those things because you grumble at the assumption that no one else will do them? In your morning asking, also request awareness for where the line is between "this will help me function better as a leader" and "I don't have time for that because I need to do this."
2. Schedule the one-on-one time- time management is a skill that even most adults don't have. Children don't have the slightest clue about how long it takes to do things which is why my six year old asks me to read The Chronicles of Narnia after I've just spent forty minutes getting her into bed. It's up to us to schedule the uninterrupted alone time. I am the world's worst about reading a book or playing with the girls while simultaneously starting the laundry, sweeping the floor, answering emails, and half-listening. The lie I tell myself is that I have a million things to do and I can only work in the quality time around the to-do list. But what actually happens is that I can get all of those things knocked out in about thirty minutes so I start playing "beat the clock" with the dryer timer and seeing what else I can get done. My children are 6 and 3 years old. If I could give them fifteen minutes of undivided attention, not only would they notice and appreciate it, but I guarantee it would positively affect their behavior for the rest of the day. The longer I put them off, the more they fight for my attention, and the attempts get worse and worse.
4. How do you want to be remembered? Moms, dads, your kids won't remember how many loads of laundry you could do in a day, they will remember whether they had clean clothes to wear. They won't ever know how many emails you sent out, they will remember when you said you were done working and meant it. They won't remember how many times you picked up their toys, they will remember you teaching them how to take care of their things. They won't remember their schoolwork, they will remember their parents helping them get to the next grade. If we live in an attitude of busy, then everything has the potential to work for evil instead of good.
Be a Mary instead of a Martha! One day this will all be over, and I don't mean the pandemic. I mean kissing boo-boos, reading stories, playing in the water hose, tickle fights, cartoons, and living together.
Value effectiveness over efficiency. What's the difference? Efficiency is about ourselves, effectiveness is about others. If none of the chores got done but you found cause to celebrate or appreciate someone else, this time can be one of the most enjoyable times for those that are blessed enough to stay home without sickness.
The Church starts at home!