never done

As in….a mother’s work is never done!

I ran into another mom at the park one day a few months ago, and we started chatting. It turns out that she was a teacher-turned-stay-at-home-mom, like I am, and we were talking about how much of an adjustment it is. She said something that I think about often – the biggest thing she had to get used to about staying at home is that your work is never finished. When we were teaching, we could do a lesson with our kids, and for the most part, it’s checked off our list – on to the next thing. However, when you are at home, you do something – clean the kitchen, do some laundry, give the kids a bath, organize the toys…but before you know it, there are dishes piled up in the sink, clothes on the floor, dirty faces and hands, and toys scattered everywhere. I didn’t realize it, but this is very frustrating for me. I get very tired of doing the same chores all of the time (like unloading the dishwasher! YUCK!), and I am CONSTANTLY trying to think of ways to make my life easier. Pinterest has filled my brain with ideas, but when I try to put them in place, I fail miserably…I really lack the ability to transfer the creative ideas I see into my own home!

Andrew comes home pretty much every week to the furniture moved around, a new basket somewhere, things rearranged in the kitchen…and I still can’t figure out the best solution for “domestic satisfaction.” In fact, I put off cleaning now more often than not, because I know that once I start, I might not be able to stop!

Ugh!

fresh look

The girls somehow made their way outside as their daddy left for work this morning.

I went with it, and we ended up staying outside for about an hour.  Mumford and Sons played in the background as we laid around on the hammock, snacked on crackers, rode the scooter, and raked some leaves (this quickly ceased when I raked up a baby brown snake! YUCK!). Carlyn ran around trying to find red leaves, and by the time we went inside, she had a nice little pile.

As she searched for her leaves and gasped when she found the red, orange, and yellow colors, I sat there thinking of how lucky I am to have someone around me 24/7 that is so excited about the little things in life. There is something about a child’s excitement that is contagious. Carlyn is exceptionally happy most of the time – in fact, it’s exhausting some days. However, I often find that when she gets excited, so do I.

I posted just the other day on Facebook about how Carlyn found a little container of bubbles, left over from a wedding reception we had gone to. She was so excited, and when I blew the bubbles, she and Blakely just ran around in circles squealing. At one point, Carlyn was twirling with her arms out and she exclaimed, “Oh, what a wonderful day! I love EVERYTHING!” I couldn’t help but just smile at my sweet little girl and admire her joy. (It brings to mind a scene from the movie Knocked Up, where the men are watching the little girls run after bubbles…the dad says something like, “I wish I could be excited about ANYTHING as much as they are about bubbles.” I think about this a lot!)

As she exclaimed over and over again about her leaves this morning, I realized that I have not enjoyed fall (or summer, or spring, for that matter!) as much as I have with my children in a long time. Before my kids, I rarely took the time to look out and truly enjoy the changing leaves, the clouds in the sky, the seashells on the beach, or even the cows and horses in the pastures along the road. I was missing out on the beauty surrounding me – I didn’t have someone as innocent as a 3-year-old child reminding me, on a daily basis, to slow down and notice it.

In The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, he talks about something that has stuck with me ever since I read it. He talks about the grace given to us from God through Jesus Christ as a gift that we don’t have to do ANYTHING to earn…us receiving it has nothing to do with how good we are, or what we have done for God in return. He talks about how Jesus told us to become like little children, and he says we don’t take this seriously enough. He compares it to a child on Christmas – a child doesn’t hesitate to take a gift from you; they expect to receive it, and they are joyous when they do! They don’t get caught up in the details.

Why aren’t we like that with the free gift we are given – salvation for eternity?

Anyway, as a parent, I feel a constant responsibility to take advantage of every teaching opportunity that is presented – which, with a 3-year-old especially, is ALL THE TIME. Every moment is a chance to teach spelling, or counting, or shapes, or colors, or manners even.

However, I feel like my girls are teaching me just as much as I am teaching them. Because of her and Blakely, I take time to look up at the blue sky, or have a random dance party, or pay attention to the bugs and sticks in the yard. And I’m thankful for that.