I confess that I am overwhelmed at the response to my first post in my Keepers At Home series! It was comforting to know that so many other women face the same struggles.
A couple of wise women brought up a point that I want to quickly address. While my post last week addressed my attitude and sin of envy – which are wrong, I want to take a few moments today to encourage us all that the longing for a break from the kids and cluttered houses and the need for alone time – even pampering ourselves, is not wrong. In fact, it is needful to keep mom sane and couples in love.
Most marriage and family counselors encourage couples to schedule weekly date nights. For some (like me) this may not be possible. So when you do have an opportunity for a moment away, enjoy – and do not feel guilty!
I ask myself: why did Titus feel he had to instruct the older women to admonish the younger women to love their husbands and children? That sort of seems odd. Of course we love our husbands and children! I don’t know a wife or mother who doesn’t love their husband and children.
And yet, there must be a reason why he felt the need to instruct them in this.
I pondered this a lot, because it really does seem almost insulting that someone should feel they must admonish you to love your husband and children.
So, I asked myself a few questions:
“Do my husband and children know that I love them?”
“Do my husband and children feel that I love them?”
“In what ways do I openly express that love for them?”
And suddenly, I began to realize that there are times when perhaps I get distracted with all of the “doing” that must be done that I miss opportunities to just enjoy them and love them.
I think this is a tendency for most women, and I believe this happens on two fronts:
1. The Nurturing Front
As nurturers we naturally want to do everything we can to make sure our family is fed, clothed, warm, and clean. Often this leads to a bunch of “doing”. If you are like me – and are a little OCD on the cleaning-thing this can lead to an abundance of over-doing.
To complicate our natural urge to nurture, we have Pinterest to remind us that our homes no longer look like the front cover of Better Homes & Gardens and that our child’s birthday party was mediocre, non-themed, and our cake was store-bought. So we spend hours and hours trying to do more because our family surely realizes how un-Pinteresty we are…and that is sooooo embarassing!
But nurturing must go beyond the physical needs and reach the soul of our family!
Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that our families were content in the pre-Pinterest world, and they will continue to be if we are meeting their soul-needs as well as their physical needs!
Our homes will survive if we fail to properly dust one week, because we chose to cuddle our babies a little longer
Our health will not suffer when we eat sandwiches for dinner, because we chose to play a game of tag with them out in the yard instead of preparing a well-balanced meal
The universe will not come to an abrupt end when we fail to change the sheets for 3 weeks, because we chose to spend a few mornings doing Wii tournaments or baking cookies together
But they will know you love them because you chose them over work; you chose to make memories that will stay with them and you for a lifetime. And when all is said and done, we will not regret having a laundry basket that was overflowing more often than not, or a little extra dust in the house – but we will regret the moments we passed up to actively love on our families while we were so busying “doing”.
2. The Social Front
Most of us crave fellowship. While we crave alone time, we also crave adult fellowship – mainly because we don’t get much of it. If you’re like me, the only adults you see, besides your husband, are your church friends on Sundays and an occasional neighbor here and there.
Enter Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, ______ (insert the other myriad of social networks here):
and we have fellowship at the tips of our fingers. You only need an Internet-capable device and you can fellowship all day long with people you probably haven’t seen for years!
And this is a double-edged sword. On one side it meets a very deep need we were all created with – a need for human contact (physical or otherwise). On the other side it is a trap that can draw us away from those who are in our presence right now.
And I dare say it is a trap that many women fall into on a daily basis – a trap that leaves their family craving the attention they are not receiving…feeling lonely and needy for love while we stare into our little blue screens.
Ironically, so often we are busy telling the world cute little things our kids say and do; Instagraming their latest artwork or accomplishment – and yet while we are physically with our kids, we are mentally with hundreds of other people.
And I don’t think the answer is a “media cleanse” or an “unplugged” day, rather I believe the answer is learning to be at home and be with our families; learning that if we turn off our computers, televisions and cell phones the universe will continue to spin on its axis. *grin*
An perhaps we will begin actually living and loving the way we were meant to live and love:
Perhaps this is just what we need to learn to love our husbands and children….truly love them.
By giving them the best of us:
Our full attention
Our eyes to really see them
Our arms to really hold them
Our smiles meant only for them
Our fun side that will be foolish with them
Our abandonment to give them all of us – 100% of us to them and them alone
Our Facebook and Twitter friends will be there at the end of the day when they’ve all gone to bed
Our blogs will not suffer if we don’t reply to our comments for a few weeks (don’t ask me how I know…)
Dear friends – This post was written from a place in my heart that has been deeply and profoundly under conviction. Both of these areas are a major struggle for me. Not only do I have a tendency to get sucked into virtual fellowship, but I often hear these words from my husband’s mouth, “Will you PLEASE sit down and rest for a bit” followed by THESE words from my mouth, “Just a second, I need to scrub down the stove and sink…and then put another load of laundry in….and then….” But I am trying – I really am. And I find myself shutting my laptop and ignoring the housework more often than before to just enjoy my family – because social fellowship will go on without me and housework will always be there, but my family deserves to have me – the 100% me – without my hands busy with a vacuum cleaner or the 650 virtual friends I have.