I have been reading the book, Balancing it All, by Candace Cameron Bure for our playgroup’s book club. It has really brought some topics to light regarding family and what my influence is a parent and wife. It has had me reflecting on ways to redirect my family’s focus and I cannot think of a better time to employ positive change than during Lent.
Coming to the conclusion that I have been slacking as a mom was not easy to admit. Slacking how? Well, structure for one. 2014 has not started off well. With all the snow days and the uncertainty of what the week holds I have become too flexible, too lenient, and structure has fallen by the wayside. I have fallen into a horrible pattern of just doing things myself. Landry, dishes, cleaning rooms, emptying trash, etc. to the point of exhaustion. I had never worked so hard and yet, I was being a lazy mom. I haven’t been nurturing in the evening, I raise my voice more often than I would like to admit, and I have not been doing the things I enjoy doing with the children, like reading stories and saying the Rosary in the evening.Thus I have come to the conclusion that the following need to be implemented in order for our family to redirect our focus on what is truly important, growing together in faith.
I have narrowed it down to 3 main areas in our lives that distract us away from God and God’s plan for family: Stress, Screens, and Materialism.
1) Start our Mornings off right. Instead of the kids having breakfast alone while my husband showers and gets ready for work and I run around like a chicken with its head cut off in search of pants, clean underwear, homework, etc. Everyone will be responsible (with a little guidance from mom) for their own clothes, book bags, etc. the night before and we have breakfast together. The family table need not be limited to dinner. Why not start the day off together. Over breakfast I will be reading LENT FOR CHILDREN, A Thought a Day, by Family Feast and Feria. My hope is to then have a short discussion and end with a prayer.
2) Be accountable for Screen Time. We currently have four televisions in our home and a laptop. The television in the living room has the Wii, Netflix, and cable. The television in the basement is hooked up to a DVD for viewing movies. And the laptop has educational websites and games the children enjoy. Just the other day I realized that between video games, Netflix shows, educational websites, and girls watching a movie that we were each entertained by a screen for 5 hours straight!! It is embarrassing to have to admit but owning it is the first step. We will be eliminating cable. But let’s be honest, that isn’t the main culprit. Netflix, though amazing as it is, is very addicting. I mean who doesn’t long to know what happens in the next episode? You definitely need to have self control when it comes to Netflix. But sometimes that willpower doesn’t kick in naturally so, in order to limit screen time I have purchased a kitchen timer for each of the children and we will be implementing the 2 hours or less screen time chart. Each week the children will receive the chart and they will be held accountable for their daily screen time.
3) Stop being a slave to the stuff! I spend way too much time assisting the children with cleanup of their rooms and family room. I would rather be spending that time doing something fun with them/as a family. The problem is they simply have way to much stuff. More stuff than their little minds can process. No child needs 30 Barbie’s; in fact the most they could play with at one time is 2, maybe 3. They also have an exorbitant amount of books, some are even duplicated. What we don’t have is adequate storage or space for all the stuff. Thus the stuff has got to go! I would love to sell tickets for $25 to enter my house and take what you can carry then use the funds for a family vacation. Unfortunately the hubby wasn’t to keen on a bunch of strangers perusing through our home so the next option, downsize. All nicer items will be sold to a secondhand store (children could use that money for their rice bowls), other items will be donated, and some have simply seen better days. I also like the fact that through this process the children can learn what is truly important and it isn’t the stuff, it is the people, their relationships, and most importantly their relationship with God. It is hard to have a relationships with God when you are surrounded by so many distractions a.k.a. Legos, Barbie’s, Power Rangers, cars, princess, etc. would love to do what this mother did, and who knows once I get started we still might…Why I took My Kids Toys Away.
I will also be incorporating the activities on this site, 40 Ideas for 40 Days.
Does your family have Lenten practices? How do you redirect your focus during Lent? Please share.