Lately I have been quite consumed with reorganising the way we do things at home, little by little, in order to create a less frantic environment.
I’m encouraged by talking with other mothers, particularly those with larger than average families, because they have so much valuable experience to draw from.
This is the goal I’m working towards, from the Servant of God Elizabeth Leseur, who died in 1914 but whose writings are so relevant for women today: “The duty of a mother is to provide for and arrange everything, watching over all, but not claiming the right to do everything herself. These household cares and the organisation and arrangement of her home, accounts etc, do not take up all her thoughts, when things are done regularly day by day, and all is in the right place.
“What a mother…alone can do, is to look after her children’s moral development, to acquire an insight into their minds, and to awaken in them the highest aspirations.
“By merely coming into contact with them, she can give them a sense of quiet strength that nothing is able to ruffle.”
I don’t know about you, but I found that passage very inspiring when I first read it a few years ago and it continues to give me something to work towards.
My research from grilling other mothers about how they do it or have done it is telling me that it is definitely possible to run a home smoothly day-by-day which has a bunch of young children in it.
It requires planning, delegation, and consistent execution.
And flexibility … otherwise everyone could end up very well organised and in a perfect show home of a house, but completely miserable.
I’m aiming for a level of efficiency, but not an unrealistic perfection.
I’m still in the setting up stage, and we’re training the children to take on some more of the chores at home, which in itself takes up a lot of time and mental space.
And so practical things are taking up most of my waking thoughts, and the children’s as well, because they really have to concentrate when they are stacking the dishwasher or pegging clothing on the clothesline at the moment.
We aren’t at the ‘chat while we work’ stage yet.
But hopefully I will little by little be able to carve out more time each day to spend on the sorts of conversations and encounters that I know the children really love, and which give me an insight into their minds.
In the meantime we have opportunities such as the weekend away at a mother and daughter school camp that Naomi and I have just enjoyed.
What a luxury it was to spend lots of time just having fun with her, to write her a love note, play games of her choosing and talk to her friends and their mothers!
We’ve neglected holiday time – actual getting away from the house for a few days – for years, but we both came back so refreshed from our weekend away that I’m already planning a family trip for very soon.