Not long after, I read a blog post about making your situation right so that you will be more pleasant to be around. Then, I recently began reading Seasons of a Mother's Heart in which Sally Clarkson does what she does best -- encourages mothers to live a life of joy, peace, and love. One of her first "assignments" for readers is to list the things that are keeping you from experiencing joy, and work on fixing those situations so that you can live in joy as a mother.
I looked back at the circumstances I listed that morning: I had gone to bed too late the night before and woken up too early that morning, the house was a mess, the kids were ravenous and I didn't have anything to feed them that was not going to take considerable time to prepare, I had already had a little spat with J, and I just wanted to get a way for a minute to collect myself a bit.
That list of unfortunate circumstances pretty much sums up the five things that most often keep me from experiencing joy as a mother:
- Lack of sleep leading to weariness and sometimes exhaustion.
- Lack of cleanliness and organization in the house.
- Lack of a well-thought-out menu and stock of food in the house.
- Lack of peace in my marriage as evidenced by a tendency to argue.
- Lack of quiet-time to prepare myself or calm myself down in the midst of the stress.
And all five of these things are pretty easy to remedy:
- Get into bed by 11:00pm, Sunday through Thursday.
- Find a system, any system, that works to get and keep the house clean and organized. For me, the Sidetracked Home Executives' (fore-runners of the Flylady) material has worked literal wonders.
- Make a meal plan and stock the kitchen with groceries that will keep the kids well-fed and me sane (still working on this one -- I've got four really good eaters).
- Commit to not arguing. Just don't do it -- with J, the kids, or anyone else.
- Guard a daily quiet time, and take the time to get alone for just five minutes when things get really hairy.
So, I've committed myself to slowly making these five remedies to "wrong-side-of-the-beditis" into habits. I'm reclaiming joy -- the joy that should come with the blessings of loving a husband, raising wonderful children, and keeping a cozy home.