So I’m having trouble sleeping lately – usually after 3:30am. A child wetting the bed, waking up scared of the dark, or Morgan’s midnight hunger and then I’m awake and can’t shut off my brain. I can’t tell if it’s due to the current round of steroids treating my ulcerative colitis flare or Heavenly Father’s way of helping this mom get a little bit more quiet time to conquer life’s challenges. A combo of the two I’m thinking!
The stuff swirling around in my brain was things that I wanted to add to lists: groceries, errands to run, things to research online, goals I wanted to accomplish. This happens to me a lot during the day while buzzing around chasing kids or doing chores. If I don’t write it down as I think of it, it just won’t happen. Writing it down doesn’t mean it will happen, but it increases the likelihood. These recent early mornings this past week have been pretty wonderful actually because it’s felt like an outpouring of Heavenly Father’s love for me and our family as I pull this head of mine together.
As a side note, I’m currently teaching Sunday School to the 10 and 11 year olds right now and I love that we are learning about the revelations in the Doctrine & Covenants. Many of these revelations as the church was being restored were in direct response to prayerfully studied questions and concerns the prophet or others had as they desired to do the Lord’s will. As we study the Doctrine & Covenants, I am continually impressed with and feel the need to point out and discuss how often the Lord answers our inner-most questions and concerns. The Lord was regularly answering the needs of the Saints then and I know He still does today through the prophet on behalf of the church as well as He does for each of us to help ourselves and our families. I can’t even express how grateful I am for this!
So what have I been working on in the wee hours of the morning you might ask? Besides the fabulous bonus of being able to personally welcome each of my munchkins to a bright new day (light by 5:30) with a lot of snuggling? Ah, sweet joy! Morgan always gets this because she requires her morning bottle, but the boys seem to be enjoying this a lot and I admit it helps me start the day loving them more and being a better mom – at least until 1pm when I really need a nap or at least a Tylenol for the tired headache!
There’s a new daily/week schedule on the fridge for me and the boys. I was talking to my mom a few weeks ago and she’d made a list of everything she wanted to accomplish each day - even the most routine and basic items were listed. When you write it all down, it really is amazing how many tasks each day your cup runneth over with! I’ve been mulling it over and I had a few goals that knit together in my brain at 4am Saturday morning until I had to get up and write them down in hopes that I could then go back to sleep.
Last October, Elder Bednar spoke about a concept I’ve been thinking a lot about in connection to a book I read in January, Merilee Boyack’s “Parenting Breakthrough: A Real-Life Plan to Teach Kids to Work, Save Money, and Be Truly Independent.” She advocates writing out a family plan so you can do the work over the years toward your desired outcome of self-sufficient, happy, grown children. There were many ideas I wanted to incorporate into our family but I’ve struggled with how. I decided I needed our plan written and broken down as a daily, weekly schedule for me and our boys to see and use.
Elder Bednar’s talk is entitled “Pray Always” and I totally recommend it if you want to up your game in the prayer department and make it more meaningful. But I liked how this section of the talk is helping me focus my prayers and efforts through the day with the newly posted Schedule.
From the talk:
“In The third chapter of the book of Moses we learn that all things were created spiritually before they were naturally upon the earth. And now, behold, I say unto you, that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth” (Moses 3:4–5).
"We learn from these verses that the spiritual creation preceded the temporal creation. In a similar way, meaningful morning prayer is an important element in the spiritual creation of each day—and precedes the temporal creation or the actual execution of the day. Just as the temporal creation was linked to and a continuation of the spiritual creation, so meaningful morning and evening prayers are linked to and are a continuation of each other.”
Guiding me on Saturday were the following desired outcomes:
- Train my slaves . . . er, I mean teach the boys basic cleaning skills and incorporate them into a predictable daily routine of independence and contributing to our family
- Stop letting housework haunt me, filling me with contempt for my housekeeping role and those makers of messes, large and small
- Make better use of free moments to accomplish goals
- Take more opportunities each day to teach my kids life skills and the gospel
Hopefully having our one page Schedule will “free my mind, and the rest will follow.” Can you name the random song these lyrics are from? I am proud to report that the said schedule is now printed and posted on the fridge. This is a big deal since I’m great at letting the ideas flow, but to get it printed and posted is akin to me getting things in the mail - an inherited, somewhat universal challenge for me. (Even at this moment, I have no idea if we even have stamps in the house! German or USPS. Add to the errand list.)
As I write this, I already need to print a new Schedule with more of my goals better defined. It’s now 10am on day 1 of our new Schedule and nothing has been started. I just put some Cheerios on the newly swept floor for Morgan to buy me a couple more minutes to finish this. I'm such a great mom! Now she's got a Cheerio hanging from her lip by the snot flowing from her nose. Teething or cold, I'll never know. Glad I gave you that visual? I've got Mother of the Year all wrapped up!
There’s no school today so I’ve got plenty of time to begin my day, right? Besides, journaling this process is important and I feel it’s been a good use of my morning even if it wasn’t on the Schedule! I’ve always resisted having a schedule because I love a laid back life not running here and there, creating busy-ness. I knew that our life would become busier as the kids got older and had activities, so I’ve tried to stave it off as long as possible. But with Easton starting school in the fall and McKay starting to go to kindergarten with Easton this week, it’s time. Time to make better use of my greatest gift – TIME. Anyone hearing a Mormon ad with a roll of the eyes or a faint half smile? "Family . . . isn't it about, Time?" Sorry, couldn't help it! If ya wanna see the Schedule, post a comment or email me and I'll send it on. It's nothing fancy, but I hope it works!