Intentional Mothering

What Children Do When They Don’t Attend Preschool.

By on August 13, 2017

People often ask me what our days look like with both my children at home everyday. Some are curious, some are perplexed, some think we’re just a bit weird (which is okay, really, since we are). Because most young children spend part of their weeks in childcare/preschool, I’m sure people must wonder how children who don’t fare.

It’s been well over fifteen-months since we pulled our son from preschool and I can’t imagine life any differently now. It took a few months (after the initial Sigh-of-Relief period when everything was hunky dory) to adjust to having two little ones with me all the time, but now – like I said – this is normal, everyday life for us.

So what do our days look like and what do the kids get up to?

A Preschooler’s Life at Home

We read. A lot. My 4-year-old now sits through some chapter books with me.

We go on outings.

We take a moment to explore new weather experiences.

We garden. And make nests.

We do lots of walks.

We climb hills.

We get messy.

We discover God’s world.

We learn letters.

And we learn new skills.

We do many, many other things. We play together. We bake. We build with Lego. We make huts. We play Play-Doh. We ride bikes. We jump on the trampoline. We have playdates. We go grocery shopping. We go on errands. We go to gymnastics. We go to church.

I do not believe our children miss out on anything. They have a wonderful life at home where we are all learning how to be a family. How to laugh at our weaknesses. How to say sorry when we hurt each other. How to work as part of a family around the home. How to build each other up. How to know we are loved even at our worse.

It definitely isn’t easy. There are fights and bad days and grumpy moods and times for discipline (as much for me as the kids!). This mama is often praying for the Lord to help her know what on earth to do about either – or both! – of the children.

I think this is the greatest blessing of homeschooling: because we are together most of the time, we are doing real life together as real people. And I think that is one of the best things parents can pass on to their children: teaching them how to relate to one another in a way that is real, messy, familiar, and safe. As the years go on, the roots will deepen so the fruit of this living-together will be born when they are older and relating as adults.

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Intentional Mothering

The Best Thing A Wife of a Busy Husband Can Do

By on August 8, 2017

No wife ever feels that she is experienced enough to share snippets of wisdom learned through her own marriage. We always believe that other wives will know more or understand how to love a husband much more than we do. And, in some ways, this can be true.

But I do believe that God uses all marriages – however short or long they have been going for – for His glory and His purposes. And part of those purposes is encouraging other wives in their commitment to loving and helping their men.

In our marriage, one experience I can share on is being married to a hardworking, busy man.

My dear man is a man of integrity and works always to the very best of his ability, working for his employer like he is working for the Lord. This means that when he walks out the door in the morning, he’s not coming home until he believes the work has been done for that day.

Being a commercial builder, this means long and physically hard days. From 7-5pm, with some Saturdays, and even very early mornings (like 2am) on concrete pour days. Also, as he works his way higher in position, so it comes with more responsibility and pressure.

But my husband not only is busy with work. He is busy writing and leading a Bible Study group, serving on two rosters at church, mentoring, and catching up with mates when he can. Not to mention, the priority in all of this, is being a husband, father, and caring son.

He is a busy man! And, dear friend, I am sure your husband is, too.

I’m sure you feel like the young wife I spoke to at church last Sunday, who said she felt bad about her husband’s busy schedule and her feeling unable to help in anyway. I could sense her feelings of helplessness and guilt when he’s out a lot and she doesn’t have the same responsibilities and pressure. 

What are wives of busy husbands to do? What is the best way we can love and serve our men?

My Number One Piece of Advice Is…

Take it easy. I’m not kidding.

Possibly the worst thing you could do – especially if you have children – is to run around trying to work as hard, in the same manner, as your husband does. You will run yourself into the ground. You will be miserable and tired and grumpy. You will have a messy home and barely-put-together meals. You will use most of your energy on parenting the children. So, when your tired husband comes home, you will have nothing left for him.

Trust me.

Sometimes it is easy to feel guilty as a hard-working stay-at-home wife and mother. Because we don’t have set hours, or employers, or projects that are due in, or pressures, or long meetings, or commuting… we sometimes feel that we are not working as hard or doing enough to match all the things our husbands do.

As easy as it is to do that comparison, we shouldn’t. Do you know why? We’re not supposed to be the same.

Get Rid Of The Guilt

The measuring stick of “hard work” is not the same for every person, in every job, in every role, at all times. The Queen’s busy day would look very different to a teachers, and a teachers day would look very different to a carpenters. An invalid’s day would look different to a pregnant woman’s, and so does a wife’s day look different to her husband’s day.

God gives us different roles with different responsibilities. So don’t work yourself to the bone trying to be like your husband. Your husband may be managing a large company, or driving trucks long-distance, or doing night shifts. In your heart and in your mind, lay out your priorities and see them for what they are: but you are shaping people, molding hearts, directing futures, and creating homes.

Not better or worse, just different. And that role requires a different looking day. Don’t ever forget that.

Mother Culture

So, let’s say, when you are tempted to “keep going” in the hour you have left before you begin to get dinner on the table as the kids are climbing the walls and your man is walking through the door – stop. Don’t keep going. You need a breather.

Schedule out little pockets of time during the day to kick your feet up. Nap. Rest. Read. Cultivate the gifts that God has given you that make you you – piano, writing, art, pen pals, singing, crafting, sewing. 

It is not wrong to do this during the day. In fact, I would say it is absolutely necessary.

Charlotte Mason called these pockets of time, “Mother Culture” (link to explanation). Basically, Mother Culture is when a mother continues her education during the years she is heavily mothering.

Why?

Because she needs it. You, dear mother, need to take time to care for and to educate yourself. Don’t let yourself wither and shrivel and become some unknown person your husband doesn’t recognise. Just because you have children doesn’t mean you become dumb.

And it doesn’t mean you don’t take it easy, either.

So. Plan out pockets of quiet time. Do what you need to rest and refresh yourself. Stretch your brain. Stretch new abilities and hobbies. When your husband comes home from a busy day at work, shattered and in need of companionship (or quiet!), you will be ready and willing and able. There’ll be good food on the table. And the kids will be settled (reasonably) because they have a happy, growing mother.

And your marriage will thrive.

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