If there is one thing a mother of four hears often, it’s this: “You’re a busy mom….”
I think I’ve said before that I really don’t feel all that busy… although I am writing this at the end of a day which looked something like this.
- 6:30-8:30a Iron for Travis, get everyone ready, breakfast and cleanup
- 8:30-10:00a Homeschool
- 10:30a-12:45p Homeschool Co-op
- 1:00-2:00p Home for lunch, bathe and re-dress Amariah
- 2:30-3:30p Amariah’s gymnastics class
- 3:45-4:00p Chiropractor appointment
- 4:15-5:15p Home for supper, re-dress Isabel and Elliana
- 5:30-6:15p Isabel and Elliana’s gymnastics class
- 6:30-8:00p Feed kids again, family devotions, kids to bed
I can’t tell if that looks as busy in writing as it really was, but suffice it to say that we were on the go ALL day. So I guess it’s ironic for me to say at the end of this day that I don’t feel as busy as people seem to think I must be. But maybe I just think of “busyness” differently than other people do.
If I could define busyness, it would be
busyness [biz-ee-nis] noun 1. an overload of input. 2. the state of being overwhelmed by incessant noise such as that made by four happy, energetic, make-believing children.
That’s “busyness” for me. It’s about an overcrowding not of the calendar but of the air waves. (Is anybody with me here?)
It’s true. I NEED peace and quiet. I need time to THINK and not hear. I need time to listen to my own thoughts and not the play noises of two 3-year olds. And you know what occurred to me? They do, too… even if they don’t know it.
We go to the chiropractor every two weeks. Everything about the office is kid-friendly. And we are there so regularly that we’ve gotten comfortable. I can’t pinpoint exactly when “comfortable” turned from a good thing to a not-so-good thing; but I realized a few weeks ago that it had. My kids had gotten so comfortable in Dr. Mike’s office that they had become almost oblivious to the fact that we were in a public place of business. They played. And they played LOUDLY. And they played without stopping. They played like it was their job.
But it wasn’t. It was Dr. Mike’s… his business, that is. And I realized that I, too, had gotten comfortable, and I had let the familiarity of the office–and the familiarity of the noise–make ME oblivious to the fact that we were in a public place of business.
So I cracked the whip. Momma raised her expectations. And now my kids sit–four in a row, no talking, no playing–and they LISTEN and WATCH during the whole appointment. Silence. Order. Obedience. Respect. It’s one of the smartest things I’ve done in a while.
And then there’s bedtime. It’s one of my least favorite times of the day. Trying to corral four wound-up kids and keep them focused on the tasks at hand–potty, brush teeth, put on jammies–so that the bedtime routine can be as quick and efficient as possible? Some nights it feels nearly IMpossible. And the chaos of all that directly preceding family devotions, a time which is to be serious and focused and edifying? There’s nothing like yelling at the kids to quiet down so you can read some Scripture….
So I got smart for a second time. One night at bedtime I just couldn’t handle more noise. Travis was gone, the kids had finished getting ready for bed, and I wasn’t quite ready to start family devotions. In a moment of needing to buy just a couple extra minutes, I told everyone to go to their beds for some quiet time. I wanted no talking, no rustling, just complete silence.
And so a genius idea was born. I get a two-minute escape from “busyness” (see definition above), and the kids get not only practice in obedience and a chance to calm down before devotions, but also exposure to a godly discipline–to just. be. still.
It’s a rare thing for the people of today, I think. We are surrounded by “busyness”–radio, television, smartphones, electronics. Our brains are in a constant state of stimulation, bombarded with input; and unless we do it on purpose, we don’t get a chance to just. be. still.
I NEED peace and quiet. My kids NEED peace and quiet. YOU need peace and quiet. Two of the smartest things I’ll do in 2013 have come in the first 10 days. I have facilitated peace and quiet for my kids. And you know what I noticed tonight as they sat quietly in their beds? They were peaceful.