I am continually struck by the need for balance. Life is all about finding the balance in time, money, emotions, activities...and the list goes on. Taking the scales too far one way on any subject will create problems.
Go to church too much vs. not go enough.
Eat too many calories vs. not eat enough.
Play with my children too much vs. not playing with them enough.
My house too clean vs. not clean enough.
With four kiddos in my nest, balancing motherhood is my hardest area. Author Jean Fleming shared these three surprising points in her book A Mother's Heart: A Look at Values, Vision, and Character for the Christian Mother (Pilgrimage Growth Guide).
1. A mother's world must not revolve only around her children.
I believe that as a culture, we label mothers as "good" or "bad" depending on the amount of time that the mom spends on the floor entertaining her children. Facebook is a prime example of this. Those who leave posts containing a detailed list of games and activities that they just did with their children receive comments of, "You are such an awesome mom!" or "Your kids are so lucky to have you!". Jean Fleming is warning us not to focus 100% of our attention on our children.
Here are a few reasons why I believe this is an important tip. First, children need to learn to entertain themselves. This is important for mommy sanity and their imaginations! Second, little people need to understand that the world do not revolve around them. This is important for character education. Next, I believe that God desires our husbands to be our top priority. This can't happen if our children have our attention at every whine and whimper.
2. Children are more important than housework, but parents must still do their work.
Children need to understand that chores have to be done and meals have to be made. This is important because we are setting examples of how they will be as wives and moms. Also, we are to take care of what God has given us. Cleaning our home is part of being good stewards. Last, proper time management demonstrates work ethic, perseverance, and self-control. Real life is not one big party!
3. Mother is a person too.
This point is so important whether you are raising boys, girls, or a combination. Our children need to understand that adults (mommies) have emotions, needs, and wants just like they do. How we handle our emotions is the example of how our children will handle their emotions.
As children get older, respect becomes another issue where this point is concerned. Rude tones and words are hurtful not matter what your age, and children need to understand this. When children grasp this concept, they will be able to transfer it to their teachers, leaders, and the other adults in their lives.
Of course you can take these points too far, just as you can with any other area of your life. But, I encourage you to think through your week. Examine how you spend your time. Are you living a balanced or unbalanced life?
Found more ideas in our "Scheduling Success" series.
In how I spend my time, focus, and energy, where am I unbalanced?