We opened our time capsule on New Year's Eve and as we read through the children's resolutions from last year I was flooded with guilt about not help them achieve their goals. But then again, maybe they have to learn to really work for want they want out of life.
No, no, of course we have to help them, at least with the formation of the habits. Bigger goals they have to dream up themselves, but we mothers can help with the daily things, right? Even though it's no longer Advent and not yet Lent I put slips of paper in a silver pail for them to draw each morning. I figured it would be easier for them to have one goal each day such as:
- turn off the bathroom light today
- clear plate before leaving the table today
- sit with good posture today
- use your very best handwriting today
- chew with your mouth closed today
- stick to your schedule today
- be the first one in the van if we are going somewhere today
- flush the toilet after you use it today
- begin requests with "May I please . . . ?"
- pray for our family today
- pray for extra help to do your best
- go potty before leaving the house without being asked
- put your dirty socks in the hamper
- put your dirty underwear in the hamper
But what about husbands? Mine is unusually stellar. He replaces the toilet paper roll the correct way and puts dirty clothes in the hamper. He makes coffee every morning and breakfast while he's at it. We have separate tubes of toothpaste. He takes out the trash, pays the bills, changes poopy diapers and most nights he does the dishes. But why in the world doesn't he button his shirts when he hangs them on a hanger? Why wouldn't he put diaper cream on the toddler's bottom before bedtime if she has a rash? Why does he forget things I asked him to do and make the excuse that it went into his "nothing box"? Why does he like to lie in bed as long as possible every morning? I joke with him, "Laziness is a sin you know." His reply, "Laziness isn't a sin if it's done in moderation!"
He can be so exasperating.
I try, I really try and still try not to make to-do lists for him anymore. Many wives think this is a demeaning practice and a way we tend to treat husbands like a children. When we got iPhones I gathered all the paper to-do lists I had made, placed them on his desk and told them he could make his own to-do list on his phone and be in charge of it from now on. This was in October. You guessed it - all those lists are still sitting on his desk and I still formulate a to-do list at least one Saturday a month.
(If you are reading this, honey, you know I love you anyway! We both know we have more serious issues to work on!)
I am absolutely positive he tolerates many more of my flaws then I do of his. He just has the good sense not to nag me about them.
I have been reflecting more on my Bucket List and truly appreciate your comments cheering me on. It edifies me to know that others think I have some good ideas. I just have to tell you though, that you are welcome to beat me to the punch with any of them! I would love to see things like a Mary Garden in a packet or an Aesop Unit study available for purchase. I am not convinced that God is telling me that I am the person to do it. I think I could if I had the time. Maybe someday I will, but it sure doesn't look like it will be in the near future.
Another email arrived that seemed to speak directly to me and my goals from Proverbs 31 Ministries:
Recently God's been showing me that when I constantly want more than He has given me, it reflects a heart that is discontent. What I'm saying to God is, "I'm not satisfied with what You have provided for me. I want more." In wanting more, I place undo pressure on myself in an attempt to get what God hasn't provided. Naturally, anxiety is the result when I focus on things other than God and His will for my life.
I think that for me, this applies to both material desires as well as the time and money for travel, experiences and projects. God has provided so much for me - a wonderful husband, beautiful children, a comfortable home, a beautiful yard and the calling and ability to home school.
I have to admit that there are times when I want to do "so much more", whether it be the things on my Bucket List or just the half a dozen craft projects I would like to do (and thought I would have time to do over the break but didn't). Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed and disappointed about not having time for these things I feel like crying.
Even though my goals and dreams have their place I have to remember what place they should hold. Right now I need to focus on what God provides for me this year, this month, this week, this hour. I hold a conviction that there is nothing more important than doing what I do as a mother and wife day in and day out. Everything I do is a creative project on a large scale and blogging is one way of turning all my efforts into something beautiful and a little more tangible to share with the world. A second income and financial security, utilizing my graduate degree, travel, ample time for my own interests; all of this can wait until the time is right. God has lessons for me in the here and now - like serving my family cheerfully and promptly. Is is any wonder that the the lack of cheerfulness and promptness is my children is what irks me the most lately? Where in the world do they learn it? From me of course! I am often reluctant to stop what I am doing to help one of my children. I have a difficult time getting out of bed and getting ready before they wake up. The constant demands of our two year old too often cause me to sigh, roll my eyes and ask another child to take care of her. Cheerful service is a virtue that really should be first on my 2010 resolution list.
Hopefully I can indulge in what Charlotte Mason would call "Mother Culture" along the way. And I do - I try to carve out some time for myself and my dreams. I have to keep my soul alive. I am reminded of a junior high school history teacher (Coach Dugan?) who posted inspirational quotes all over his walls.
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
~ Langston Hughes
as well as
The greatest kind of pride is that pride that makes you do your best even when no one is watching.
I think I have three lessons for 2010 - to do my best in my little somewhat hidden life, even when no one is watching (i.e. even if I didn't blog!), to hold fast to my dreams - to continue to be inspired by goals I may may never accomplish, and to be content and satisfied with the time and experiences God provides for me.