As I thought about my resolutions for 2013, I kept coming back to the idea of creating calm. I was feeling rushed and harried and like I didn’t have a good handle on all of the things I was juggling. So when I made some of my specific goals for the new year, I included things like making time for more quiet interaction with my kids, deeply connecting with my family and others, and creating calm by underreacting to situations rather than my default response, which is to go into turbo mode whenever possible. :)
In January, I managed to “create calm” exactly five days. I was able to put a check mark next to “don’t hurry” only three times. Some of the other resolutions about connecting were more successful, but somehow I was not getting a lot of traction on the whole idea of slowing down and creating calm connections, especially with my family.
Then, unexpectedly, after the worst stomach flu of my life, I wound up spending the last week of January in the hospital with preterm labor and a baby in distress. I was sent home for the first day of February on bedrest, and my OB advised me to consider which things I could slow down for the next ten weeks, in hopes of keeping my baby healthy and giving her long enough to grow before delivery. It was a scary time for me, and a good reminder that even when I feel like I have all the plates spinning effectively, God is really the one in control, not me.
Before I went into the hospital, I read Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood, which you can get free from Grace Full Mama. It’s a short e-book, but full of challenging and convicting thoughts about how to really make time to effectively interact with your children. The author writes about how busyness gets in the way of truly enjoying the people in our lives, and prevents us from finding joy. While she doesn’t offer untenable prescriptions for helicopter parenting (she’s a mother of five and presumably knows that even the most simple day can only be so simple when you have kids!), Joy gives encouragement to build margin into our lives and really slow down rather than always being tired and stressed and overwhelmed. The book wraps up with practical ideas for implementing concepts like constant love, consistent training, and continual teaching.
I had made a lot of notes as I read, but wasn’t really sure what to do with the ideas. I’m not going to lie to you–while slowing down really appeals to me, I have no idea how to implement it. The task of paring things back seemed more stressful than just carrying on. However, now that my vague feeling that I need to cut back and focus is actually being medically enforced, I am looking forward to being less busy and enjoying more time in the margin.
If you’re looking for encouragement in motherhood or inspiration for living more calmly and deliberately, I’d recommend Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood. As I mentioned before, it’s free, and won’t take too long to read, but will doubtless be helpful.