Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

The winter doldrums usually never visit the Schaub household. With four children participating in homeschooling events and a house lined with books, there is rarely a dull moment. But, alas! The doldrums came knocking this year. It wasn’t during the winter, but the early Spring just as Mother Nature teased me with two days of warmth and sun which she nestled into the bosom of a month of cold and rainy days.

In those two days, I gardened until I had to chip the dirt from under my fingernails. My arms were slightly red, my eyes were dry from the intensity of the sun, and my back ached from tilling the soil. Overall, I felt alive.

100_3861

When Michigan’s April spring temperatures returned, the weather forced me back inside. The tasks that a mother needs to attend to cluttered my day; meal planning, actually making those planned meals, laundry, homeschooling and the endless list of trivial to-do’s.

As that to-do list grew longer every day, I noticed that my drive to cross things off that list was waning. I had entered a slump. A swampy-low dump. Not a happy place to be.

“When you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun.

Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”

-Dr. Suess, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I needed a little inspiration, a bucket of motivation, and a reward at the end.

My inspiration? To model the behaviors of dedication to my children. To inspire others to read more, learn more, to find positive associations that will build their lives toward love of God.

My Motivation?

Wait…how is that different from inspiration?

Inspiration is the fuel that drives me.

Motivation is the destination to which I’m driving.

I needed to remember that my motivation is to live a life steeped in the riches of God’s love and passion. My husband and I are the two major players and driving forces in our family. While we aren’t perfect and our children certainly know that, we are expected to live well, learn as we go, and do our best to not repeat mistakes. If we can work our way toward establishing an ever-developing strength in our marriage, that will carry over to our children and their perception of live, love and faith.

My reward?

Before I can select a reward, I need to measure the rate of my success. Yes, I’m a Type A, Dominant Personality, a Choleric-Melancholy, for those of you familiar with personality types. My children tease me about the amount of notes, charts, and the depth of detail I go into in our family life, lesson planning, writing (plot organization) and budgeting. But, heck! It works 🙂

What is success for me? Well, I have a goal for this year that will lead me to my 5- and 10-year goals. To reach that annual goal, I have an ongoing list of books to read and write, articles to explore for this blog, people to learn from (including my children). There are places to visit, experiences to have, and communities to participate in.

With my 10- and 5-year goals charted, I wrote down what I could do this year to make that possible. Every month I revise my “This Year” list to bring me closer to my 2020 goals. I also reserve the right to change those goals for 2020 and 2025, but only in an upward direction. If I find that I’ve underestimated how many books I can sell each month, I will raise that goal, but I will not lower it.

Getting back to the reward…each month I set down a list of to-do items. The typical list includes:

  • listening to 2-3 inspirational and informational audio recordings each day, which can accomplish as I drive my children to their activities, while I cook, fold laundry, or walk.
  • Reading 3 books on personal development (see my current reading list here) and 1-2 novels in the genre I write.
  • Write a blog post each week
  • Make an actual dinner (pre-planned, prepared and enjoyed) at least 3 times a week. That might sound like a low goal. I do have four children who do eat dinner seven times a week. They also eat breakfast, lunch, and two snacks a day–all at home. Three of them are old enough to prepare meals on their own, so I have them do that. You can call it Home Economics. I call it ‘time to write’.
  • And because I need to stay healthy, I set an exercise goal for each month. In warmer months, I’ll set a walking/jogging mileage goal. In the winter, I set out a stack of 4-5 exercise DVDs on Sunday night and do them all by Saturday morning.

If I can put a check mark next to each of these goals, then I know I have earned my reward. Sometimes it’s a Saturday morning specialty coffee from an upscale coffee shop. Sometimes I will take an entire day or, if possible, an overnight mini-vacation to a local retreat center and just relax, read and write. This month, the reward is a trip to Barnes and Noble where I will spend all the gift cards I received for Christmas.

A friend of mine laughed when I told her what my reward was for this month. “You already have the gift cards, just go and spend them!”

But I didn’t earn those cards. If I gain something, I want it to be because I’ve done the work and have earned it. It means more.

I encourage you to do the same. My mentor inspired me to try this reward system, using the idea of delaying gratification from the simple, easy-to-buy things until I had completed the work toward a dream. By adding this reward process to my life, my dreams of becoming a writer, author, and public speaker aren’t just pie-in-the-sky wishes, but realities. If there was ever anything you want, make a plan and implement it. At all costs, make it happen. There will be hard work and set-backs, but there will be no regrets. If you work long enough and hard enough, every dream can be reached.

This post was inspired by the book: Ladder, Climbing out of a Slump published by Obstacles Press.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I don’t understand reality shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I realize I am in the minority in this opinion and that frightens me. When this show was first released, I was certain that it wouldn’t last. Boy, was I wrong! What is the attraction to watching a dozen different women fight over the same man? What compels a person to participate in this program? It certainly does nothing to their reputation, unless they are trying to come off as easy and desperate – neither quality is attractive, by the way. And I guess that’s the point that attraction is only skin deep, therefore we need everything they sell during commercials to lessen wrinkles and lose weight.

What about compassion and unrelenting forgiveness? Those are two qualities absolutely necessary in any successful relationship. Do these bachelorettes really compete to be romantic for a few hours and expect that to lead to a good marriage? FYI: Romance is a sad measuring stick for a good spouse. It takes devotion to the Sacrament of Marriage, dedication to be with one person forever, love beyond comprehension to get past the obstacles that are certain to come, and forgiveness – loads and loads of forgiveness. Communication and sacrifice should always be in stock as well, right next to patience.

These types of reality-programming are obviously great for ratings, but explore for a moment what it does to real people. It uses promiscuous behavior to sell souls. Sure, “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.” Anyone can sling that excuse around to cover anything. To be honest, there is no need to watch the program when the commercials have such juicy teasers, all of which are seen by young minds. What about the people participating in it? What about their parents? What happens to their resume when they apply for a job and are seen as a symbol of sex-selling entertainment? That image doesn’t end when the program is over.

Where did our society lose its interest in protecting our souls? When did innocence stop being a desired quality for children’s upbringing? Turning on the T.V. has become synonymous with opening your front door and inviting in a murderer. That may sound extreme, but compare the status of moral integrity in our nation a hundred years ago to today. Those statisitcs don’t lie.

What are we – parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors and community leaders – willing to do to protect Innocence from further destruction? It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Luke 17:2

Entertainment ratings are killing innocence. When 12-year old girls are giving birth, something is seriously wrong. When 9-year-olds are members of Alcoholics Anonymous, we should ask, “What is going on?” Giving our children free run of the internet becomes as risky as giving them infected syringes to play Spoons. All the issues that have stricken our country stem from the same source – and it’s in every house. Television.

I have three daughters. I protect them from images on our TV by not subscribing to cable. We rent and go to movies that have been approved by http://www.pluggedin.com. I have been accused of being a helicopter parent, but that doesn’t scare me because I know that it’s not true. I don’t hover above my children, shouting out commands and directing their lives. My husband and I are side-by-side with our children, having discussions about choices and doing our best to listen to their thoughts and ideas.

When new issues arrive, we turn to our faith for the answer. What Would Jesus Do? What does Jesus think of his beautiful sisters selling their futures as brides on national TV?

I have happy for my daughters as they have grown up seeing a great husband and father – so watch out future boys who come to the Schaub house! The standards are very high.

My daughters don’t even know there is a show called Bachelorette. They are protected for even knowing the reality of Reality TV because there is nothing true about those shows. Want truth? Open the Bible. Want reality? Go to a mission kitchen and help serve dinner. Looking for an entertaining story about falling in love? Read Sense and Sensibility. Want to protect your kids from dangers? Unplug and see what happens. Worse-case scenario… your kids will thank you for spending extra time with them and being a Real Parent.

One more thought…When these former Bachelors and Bachelorettes have children, what will they say when they are asked, “What did you do before you met Mom/Dad?” Just wondering…

Read Full Post »

Feminine Genius. I like that term. Blessed John Paul II used it in several encyclicals, but it has only recently come to my attention. The concept of Feminine Genuis first appeared at the closing message of the Second Vatican Council. No matter what your view of the Catholic Church or your standing on women’s rights, this is a golden statement about the necessity and influence of women:

“The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling” (Second Vatican Council).

Think about it: Being a woman is a trip! Our vocation is absolutely unique. We are given amazing bodies that can bring new life into the world, we can do everything a man can do (and do it better sometimes) but still can’t open a jar of pickles without straining and looking rather unseemly as that vein on our temple nearly bursts. Our spouses, boyfriends, brothers and fathers, as manly and strong as they are, are dumbfounded at our complexities and unsure how to proceed when we give them “the look”. You know what I’m talking about!

We are tall or short, thin or plump, endowed or ready to run without a bra. We can laugh until tears blind us and our breath comes in gasping catches when our girlfriends tell a story, and we can cry at the death of a baby bird – a creature we didn’t even realize had been born under the eaves of our back porch until its little body is found floating in the wading pool (actual experience).

I was born after the feminine revolution of the 60’s, raised by a stay-at-home mom and now I am a stay-at-home mom. Motherhood is a 24-7 gig. It is the vocation I choose although sometimes I feel like it choose me. I love it, but I will also admit that there are days (usually laundry days or when the baby is teething) that I crave a 9-5 job with nice clothes and a pay check. Instead of swanky office chatter and big business presentations, I endure piano and violin practices, diapers and four little mouths that are always ready for the next meal. My job has no start time and no clock to punch. Vacations are included in the motherhood package, but they are taken in snippets during naps and the infrequent outings with girlfriends or my husband.

I do feel the burden of being a woman and a mother. It wears me thin to think that the mess I just cleaned up will return the next day. I have yet to walk into the kitchen without spying a dirty dish. And the only time that my house is clean is when…well, that hasn’t happened yet and I don’t expect it will any time soon.

Since I refuse to sell the kids and hire an interior designer, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing I can change is how I view my life.

So I will practice Feminine Genius; the art of taking what I have and filtering it through the gifts I have to empower the people in my life. The Catholic Church says that the influence women have on this world has never before been achieved. What do I have? Imagination, baby! I will no longer look at the laundry as a chore, but a mining expedition in search of stray gems hidden deep in pockets and after they are washed, I will be thankful for all the beautiful clothing we have. Mopping will now give me the satisfaction of being able to look back at a job well done, even if it lasts from now until the next muddy boot. Cooking is an endeavor I enjoy with my children, teaching them the art of chopping, smelling new herbs, taste-testing and following a recipe; all time well spent making memories. (It also helps that whoever helps the least in making dinner does the dishes.)

I can practice my feminine genius in many small ways, too. I will read that book for the fiftieth time, dig under the couch for the run-a-way legos, wipe a nose, kiss a cheek and dry those tears. I will do all things with immense gratitude in my heart because God gave me children to love, not spoil or ignore, but love. The genius of a mother finds its source of power in the love that God feeds us. I want to do this motherhood thing well and tomorrow will bring another opportunity to do it even better!

When a woman, no matter what her life situation, gracefully accepts her role as a wife, a single woman, mother, daughter, aunt, employee or manager, the beauty of the feminine genius fills her thoughts with empowering inspiration. And our actions follow our most powerful thoughts.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: