Too many times I have found myself "behind" all day long. Those days are hard for me because I WANT to be able to say yes to those cute dimpled hands that want me to color alongside them, but instead I have to make breakfast/lunch/dinner, do the laundry, check math problems, make bread, give baths, juggle 25 different things while smiling (okay, maybe I'm not smiling for all 25 things!!). :) Soon it's bedtime, and I wonder why in the world I never got a chance to color in that coloring book (or read that fun book or take that walk).
Ahhhh...and then there are the days I love! The days when time has a beautiful pace. There's time for the walk to pick up colorful leaves. There's time to make those scones that we've been wanting to make for a long time. There's time to sit with the younger ones and color a whole page without rushing. It's in those moments when they seem to open up and share secrets. They seem to swell up with love for me, and a spontaneous "I love you" with a hug is placed a round my neck. It's THOSE moments that I stick in my pocket and want to keep forever and ever in my memory.
For me, the key to finding that unrushed pace has been in getting an early start. It's choosing to get out of that warm bed and get downstairs. It's the quiet time alone with my Heavenly Father, seeking wisdom for the day (and please help me be a good Mama today!). And it's the "early work" that has made a huge difference for me.
If I know the things I have to do for the day, I can easily see what needs to be done before they wake up so that I can focus on more important things during the day. For example, if I blog when my children are awake, everything starts to come undone in the house (Mama loses focus on the things at home and gets sucked into cyber world!). I've also found that starting my bread dough takes much longer if I wait to do it when everyone is awake for the day. I find myself trying to teach 2 math lessons, direct the preschoolers to activities and get my bread started. So, right now before my children are downstairs, I'm blogging while my Kitchen Aid is kneading my bread dough (I blog, go add more flour, blog, turn up the speed on the Kitchen Aid, blog, go add more flour). Soon I will set the dough to rise, and when little angels are downstairs for the day, anyone who wants to can help me form rolls with the dough, as I've found this to be a fun and easy activity to do with them.
Today has a good rhythm...a steady calm rhythm...without Mama rushing to juggle too many things at once. Laundry has just finished washing and needs to go in the dryer. Little ones can help fold, and big ones can help put it away. These are things that we can do together...AND they are things that fit nicely into a steady rhythm in our house (laundry is put away every afternoon when they get their rooms ready for night time).
Breakfast is scones,bananas and hot tea (ready to go on the table). Lunch will be fresh rolls with apple butter and fruit (dough is rising). Dinner will be chicken salad sandwiches (chicken is almost thawed and will soon be marinaded and then baked...later I will shred the chicken with one or two helpers).
There's peace in knowing what lies ahead of us today. There's a steady rhythm that allows for the flexibility of reading that extra chapter in our quiet time book when they plead with me for "just one more chapter, Mama!" There's a rhythm that fits in the must-do's and allows time for the oh-I-wish-we-could's.
And it all begins with me pulling back the warm sheets when it's still dark outside and then submitting to the "early work" that otherwise would throw off the calm routine.
I'm actually on track this morning. I'd better put the blog to bed before it all comes unravelled. :)