"“Waste” time together, make your home the place where life happens, devote your family to growing together in holiness, and allow your home to be nourished with each meal you share around the table. Watch these small acts of love change the world."- Haley Stewart; The Grace of Enough
I was always in a rush to get to everything. I would rush home after work, to get dinner done, and get to bath times. I would rush to the grocery store during my lunch hour, so that I would be able to go straight home after work. I would rush to pack our weekends with a ton of “memorable” activities so that no second was wasted. And I was EXHAUSTED. I think partially it was my poor planning, but part of it is just the life society tells us we need to have. A busy, full life that never stops. GO! GO! GO!
Then suddenly, I found myself at home, full time, with two little boys who wanted and needed all my attention. I was in the habit of always being rushed, so naturally, when they wanted me to read them a book, or snuggle with them, I rushed it. Trying to get to the next thing. Then they would ask for me to read again. Or snuggle more. And I realized that being home, for me, for now, means taking it slow.
I am embracing the slowness of this season of our life. I don't have to rush anything. I can run that errand tomorrow, I can read ALL THE BOOKS ALL AFTERNOON, I can slow cook something in the oven!
It has been one of my favorite things about learning how to be a stay at home mom. I know that eventually it won’t be like this. I know that the kids will go to school, or even if we homeschool, that there will be a much stricter schedule that we need to adhere to. I know that extracurricular activities, sports, or clubs will inevitably make it harder and harder to share a meal together. So I am enjoying this slow time as much as I can.
I know that some mothers thrive on being more productive. I think that is awesome too! I have a dear friend who is ALWAYS on the go- granted she has 5 kids, and was a collegiate swimmer, so she has the drive and the energy to get all the kids out of the house on time to get the oldest to school, and still makes the BEST chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. Her homemade pizza? AMAZING. She is also an amazing mom. That high productivity and gourmet chef style she has going on? Super amazing. She is also so good at making time for her family to “waste” together. The kids play outside, the bake together, the just spend time together.
Another friend of mine is a wonderful artist and has instilled her love of art in all 4 of her children, AND her husband! We stayed with them last year for a couple of days, and walked in to find them all at the dining room table working on different paintings, listening to classical music. I was amazed! 4 kids, mom, and dad, all painting together and talking about art. This is a normal family, like you and me, and they found a mutual love of art and now enjoy making individual art….TOGETHER! Perfect example of “wasted” time not “wasted” at all!
However you approach motherhood for your family, and your situation, I implore you, make sure you are “wasting” time together.
One way that our family does this, other than taking it very slow daily, is once a month we have a family day. My husband and I will plan an activity that takes all day and is only the children and us. Sometimes that is going to the park and getting ice cream. Sometimes it means we go to the Children’s Museum for hours. Whatever it is, it takes a long time, and we don’t rush at all. We usually do shorter versions of this on the weekends anyway, but setting apart one whole day were we KNOW that we will all be together all day, makes it extra special. My husband is involved in many ministries, and I am super social, so it can be so easy for our nights and weekends to fill up and for us to lose that quality time with our little ones. When we committed to making that time to enjoy and savor our time together, it started to seep into our daily life even more. We watch less TV, and play more.
“Wasting” time is literally the BEST way to spend time. If you find that your schedule is jam-packed with social or extracurricular activities, take stock of that and pray about what you can do to make sure that your family is spending time together. Play a board game, go for a walk, read together, paint together, just spend TIME together.
We need strong unified families. Building those bonds, and creating homes filled with love and laughter is what is going to heal our very broken world. I am praying for each of you as you continue to build your Domestic Church, one “wasted” day at a time.