Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘workload’

Mistakes are simply mislabelled lessons …

…. and the consequences are the school fees.

Sometimes, the fees are expensive.

Until very recently, I was obsessed with getting things right. I really and truly believed that there was a clearly defined right and wrong course of action in every single situation, and that the only path to success was to identify and follow the right course. In retrospect, that is undeniably naive.

Recently, after a run of rather serious and far-reaching mistakes, I have realised something important. Mistakes are lessons. We learn what not to do, how not to respond, who not to be. For the most part, people don’t die from their mistakes. All we do is learn and grow.

In that way, a mistake can be seen to be a good thing, an opportunity to become a better version of ourselves.

Applying what we’ve learned

About eight weeks ago, we decided to do a broad-spectrum experiment in rearing our children. Essentially, we scaled the rules down to the bare minimum:

  • Make sure we’re not late as a result of any of the “adaptations”. For instance, a messy room hiding all the clean clothes is not an excuse for us being late for Church.
  • Supper time is family time.
  • No bed time stories if Mama can’t reach the bed because of the toys.
  • No pocket money if no chores are done.

Based on everything I’d read that led me to give the experiment an honest go, a natural outworking of this experiment would be that everyone would begin to see the value of pitching in and doing their share. After a while, it would just be easier (and more fulfilling) to establish our own sense of order, and then put in the small amount of effort required to maintain it.

The results of our experiment

Just over a week ago, Red had a birthday. Her gift from Grandma was the most beautiful heart-shaped silver locket. It was the perfect “growing up” gift, and she treasured it. For almost three days. By the end of the third day, it had disappeared into the chaos formerly known as “Their Room”. This was about six weeks after our experiment began. In that time, virtually every dish washed, was washed by me. The dogs pretty much only got fed if I fed them. And it goes without saying that meals were prepared and dishes washed by yours truly.

I lost it.

I explained in low, calm, measured tones, that “Fun Mum” was gone. OCD Mama was back. Order and discipline would be restored, and things were going back to the way they’d been before.

Now, we have a tidy house and order reigns. I can breathe again, and I’ve decided that the free-to-be approach to parenting simply isn’t going to work for our family. It was a mistake, and I’ve learnt from it. I’ve learnt that what works for me is at least as important as what works for the rest of the family, If not more so, since I’m the one who has to make it happen.

So we’re going back to what works for us, with the confidence that it really is what works best for us.

Lesson #16: If God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying before, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I have been struggling with my workload and time management. I felt resentful that I had to do so much of the housework, the home education, and earn a living on top of that. My beleaguered soul cried out, over and over, “It’s too much! I can’t do it!” I started to notice, more and more, that the refrain was changing to, “I shouldn’t have to do it.”

Angry and bitter, I poured my heart out to the Lord. I apologised for my attitude and asked Him to change it. I explained the predicament and promised that I would do as He told me, since I was already learning that feeling like doing something often follows actually doing something in faith.

I was led to two key passages. The first one is in Titus 2:3-5, where women are encouraged to be “keepers at home.” I prayed about this and understood that the Lord has a clear role for me in my house. It is my job to keep things health, clean and in order. What’s more, I love to do it and feel fulfilled when I do. I do need to train my children to keep their own spaces neat and tidy (that’s part of my job as their mother, educator and mentor), and I can lovingly encourage Papa Bear to do the same. But ultimately, it really is my job and I need to “do it all to the glory of God.” 1 Cor. 10:31

The second passage which keeps coming to mind is Proverbs 31. We all know the story of a virtuous woman – so hard to find. She does her husband good and not evil all the days of his life. His heart safely trusts in her. I have been such a failure in these areas and I confessed that to God. My continual prayer is that He will bring this passage to mind before I cross the line and sin against my man, and so far He has. Not that I’ve always heeded His gentle admonitions …

The other thing about this virtuous woman is that she has a number of enterprises on the go. She buys and sells cloth and land. She plants and harvests. She makes clothes. She sells the goods she’s made and she gives generously to the poor. She works late and rises early. She makes sure her staff have work to do, and that her family have food and clothing. Because of her industry, her husband is well respected and confident to appear in public, in a role of importance. He knows he will never be ashamed by his wife’s actions, words or tales. In fact, he blesses her and teaches his children to do the same.

I have a lot to do but I am in no way as accomplished or enterprising as this lady. And my attitude to it all stinks. I was behaving like a spoiled child, and I realised that we have the assurance from God that “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Cor. 10:13

The things I have to do at the moment are all things that I really do have to do. It’s not a matter of poor time management or an unfair allocation of roles and responsibilities. This verse (above) means, in essence, that if I have to do it, then I can do it, because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13

Realising this truth (on a daily basis) has encouraged me enormously. I have come to see each challenge as an opportunity … but more on that later.

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