Like I spoke to in part 1, getting into a rhythm is something I’m desperate for. As with everything, if I put first things first, the rest usually fall into place. My wise cousin posted this article from the Atlantic a few years ago and re-posted it again yesterday regarding how natural it feels to do resolutions in autumn rather than with the change of the calendar year. I completely agree so here are the final two practices I want to incorporate into my new rhythm for fall.
Reading with my children every day
We have a lot of books. Probably too many books, though others may argue that is never a possibility, but there is no shortage of things to read around here. We also have a box we fill up at the library once every couple of weeks so there is always fresh material should they kids somehow get bored with any of their old standbys.
I was a voracious reader growing up and though I don’t have very many memories of being read to – I know it happened – I read a ton on my own. I’m sure this love of reading came from early exposure to lots of books and the fun their stories can bring. This is something I want my kids to develop a love for as well and the only way to make that happen is to read with them. I love Sarah Mackenzie’s heart over at Read Aloud Revival and following her on Instagram (my most preferred form of social media) daily reminds and inspires me of all the amazing books out there to read to our kiddos.
Some days, like yesterday, we read a ton of books. It happened to be the day we got a new batch of library books so they kids were suuuuuuper excited to look through all of them…and read a more than few. We check them out by the box, remember? I don’t know what the check out limit is but I’m sure we’ve approached it a few times!
Allowing for rest
Ah, the dreaded R word. I left this for last for a reason. It’s more like a dirty four letter word in my mind if you know what I mean. Ask me what’s on my plate and you’ll think instead that I have 17 plates all stacked on one another with each plate having two or three things. I’m notorious for taking on too many tasks and being involved in too many activities. Some people even call me SuperMom (which I really don’t like and I’ll explain why in a blog post that is currently in draft form) to which I respond that I’m doing what I feel called to do and what I enjoy doing. While that is true, I still do too many things, which is why I am taking the year off of coaching basketball this year. Instead of coaching all year at the local high school, I’m only assisting for one season (this one, cross country) and leading (aka head coach) for another (spring track and field).
Rather than signing up my kiddos for what would end being twice weekly swim lessons crammed in our three-days-a-week preschool schedule, I’m opting to wait until we get into the rhythm of the school year to look at adding even more to our schedule. Once we hit our stride, though, the new baby will be here and we’ll have to spend the next few weeks and months learning how to be a family of five instead of just a family of four. Perfect time to add new activities, right?
Swimming lessons is just one thing I’ve wanted to add instead of subtract. I also have several other things I want to either start up or restart that are currently be assessed as to whether or not they allow for rest. Thinking about leading a group of local moms group through a parenting book like Gloria Furman’s Missional Motherhood (we don’t have a MOPS at our church and the women’s Bible study is on a difficult evening for me to make consistently), starting to teach classes about fermented foods like sourdough and kombucha (which have been scheduled but I haven’t prepped for yet), continuing to host essential oil make and take classes (of which I’ve done a few and really enjoyed and will start again this month), and, of course, blogging, are all things that I’m either thinking about or currently planning.
I realize, however, that they can’t all happen if I am to allow time for rest. A wise man once told me that when you’re doing nothing, you’re doing something. And I need to do more of nothing.
How to do more of nothing?
Cut out the stuff – yes, that silly, nonsensical word “stuff” – that consumes my child-free time. For me, that’s the show on Netflix that consumes you rather than accompanying you while you do something productive. This is particularly acute for me because I justify things like that while I wash dishes, fold laundry, etc. What would be more encouraging, life-giving, and gratifying is the alternative I’m turning to as I attempt to initiate this new rhythm: listening to uplifting and challenging ebooks like the one I’m currently on, Lysa Terkeurst’s Uninvited.
It may not be the same for you – maybe it’s a magazine, social media, or some other distraction. Whatever it is, let this be an encouragement to cut out at least one form of “stuff” from your life over the next few weeks. For me, it will be limiting myself to 2 Netflix shows each week. This doesn’t count family movie night or cuddle time with my hubby. But it does mean that when I think I need a distraction or a reward for getting things done (cleaning cloth diapers, anyone?), I will fill my mind with something better, like a recorded sermon a dear friend sent me or another chapter of my latest Audible pick.
By wasting less time on things that don’t matter in the long run, I make myself available to have time to rest.
I don’t know what this feels like *yet* but I do know that it will be the right thing. The thing that Jesus has been wanting for me since He made me a mother 4 years ago. He wants me to be present in the little everyday moments, in the mundane happenings of marriage and motherhood, in the holiness of the simplicity of the family He’s blessed me with.