The ramblings of a woman,
wife, & mother, who loves:
Jesus / my man / the three,
learning about parenting /
mamahood / childbirth,
cooking foods healthy /
international / yummy,
pretending to garden /
write / design,
attempting to run /
exercise / lift weights,
enjoying traveling /
camping / adventures,
finding ways to love /
serve / sacrifice for others.

It is not to say she does these things
with style or grace, or even skill.

Do you work at all?

September 20, 2008 - 3:48 PM


I know my old friend meant no harm by the question, but since they asked me that, I quote it often while I am running around juggling life... *sigh*... no truer words have ever been spoken.

Why do I forget to clean the downstairs bathroom?  Why is my laundry always in piles or baskets?  Why can my husband not find the matching black socks?  Why have I yet to respond to your emails or voice messages?  What do I do all day?

I train our kids in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not turn from it.

You want me to be specific?  Here it goes...

We spend time in prayer. 
We pray for our day, Dad's day, others's needs that we know of, then a few more times for our hearts to obey.  We pray often throughout our day as needs arise for others or ourselves.

We spend time in God's Word and in memorizing it. 
We have a Bible lesson plan we read with our kids, as well as have an extra devotional book called, "Leading Little Ones to God."  I know there are a lot of other great tools out there that I am sure many of you have found.  Tis true - it is way easier for a child to memorize a verse than an adult. 

We train ourselves to sit quietly. 
For us this means to sit still in silence, either on a chair (without a desk) or on a small blanket.  This is good not only for them to learn self control but also when we go to church or doctor's appointments or simply waiting in line at Wally-World.  This is nice for me so that I can read my devotions when I oversleep, which often happens!  Also, we do this during our day when one child needs specific direction for school work or whatnot, so needless-to-say, we practice this A LOT.

We work on those glaring character issues that would be so much easier to avoid. 
Not being bossy or being antagonistic or sharing or lacking self control or working with a joyful spirit or whatever, we put ourselves in positions when we can work on those specifics.  After a day like the other day, I would say that we work A LOT on character and wisdom.  This is another grand perk to home school as I can more quickly see an area we need to work on and then we can address said area.  (This also means that God works on my character a lot during each day!)

We home school.
We think our kids are (and want our kids to be) geniuses, but we do not live like that is the most important thing in the world or let that desire / pressure control our days.  In addition, we do not limit what they learn and if they desire more, or are capable of more, we happily cater their learning to that school subject.  We can move ahead in grades more without any interruption or social awkwardness too.

We go way above and beyond the state requirements for our boys who are school age but we do not put those specific requirements on our 3.5 yr old.  Granted, she learns A LOT through being around her boys schooling since she has to sit with us for reading times (her understanding of topics completely amazes me) but we subscribe to a little different thought on this topic of when to start school.

My point is, we are not trying to recreate public school in our home - our family's life mission statement is different than that.

We work on loving others more than ourselves and our schedule. 
This comes in being flexible.  Sometimes Dad has something we need to do for him, or sometimes there is a service opportunity or a moving family or a meal to be brought or a sick friend, and we are able to meet that need by being flexible in our days' schedule.  Again, we still meet the school requirements and we work on our character, but maybe we finish up later in the day than normal or start earlier than normal or whatever.  Again, my point, that we are not trying to recreate public school in our home.

We spend time in our community. 
While we do have to spend more actual time working on character and school this year than last, we still do our best to be out in our community through field trips, sports activities, etc.  Their timing in our days is later in the afternoons, but still possible and a great way to also see if the lessons learned at home work in the "real" world.  Sometimes this means we go through tough stuff too, like the other day at the park.  It was a tough and very scary experience for the kids and I, but at the same time, we learned a lot through the experience.

We work!
Wo/man does our house get messy in a day, half day, or even an hour!  The kids do chores both as a team and as an indivicual and we do them over and over and over, every day.  I must admit, our home is not nit-picky clean and that is due primarily to cleaning being a family activity not a mom-only activity.  I really had to come to grasp with it being ok that clothes weren't folded properly because it is more important that our child of 3 know how to fold clothes than fold without wrinkles.

We play!
We know how to play and play hard!  We get exercise, ride bikes, go to parks, design art projects, cook, garden, build airplanes, design cities, do puppet shows, write stories, sing songs then write lyrics of our own, design books, etc, etc, etc.  Suggestions from books or being creative as much as my brain can allow and then hopefully their creativity starts to piggy-back mine and we're off on some project or a field trip or whatnot.  We wrestle, tackle, create, destroy and create again.  Seriously, with 2 boys whose energy is endless and who learn so much better in doing rather than sitting, can you blame us?  It also helps that we have a little girl who is happy to do anything, from tea parties to dinosaurs and can go-go-go with the best of them.

All in all, we attempt to focus on character first and with that, the knowledge will come, and come more easily.  I am NOT saying we have the character thing down, far from it (we definitely understand our verb tenses and sentence structures better) but we are working toward those goals.

As our particulars, this is what works best for our family mission and our children.  As a principle, going before the Lord with our husbands to learn that mission statement is important.  There are families who live on a stop watch and others by the seat of their pants, those who never leave the house and others who spend time outside, all of whom love the Lord will all their heart, soul, mind and strength.  God calls us all to love Him first and love others second and then when we ask Him, He can show us what that looks like for our strengths and weaknesses, and to work through those strengths and weaknesses.

It would be so much easier if we as parents could coast through life, but we need to have our hearts ready to be shaped and molded along the way - God is not done with us either.

Response to Do you work at all?

  • Holly Anderson said on September 20, 2008 - 7:37 PM

    Oh wow! I got that the other day from a friend of mine. We were chatting about daily duties of new wives. She was saying it was difficult to juggle work and home duties, and I told her that I understood. She replied, "Ha! You've got it easy! It's not like you do much during the day." She was serious. At the time, I felt the slightest twinge of shock and indignation! Then I laughed to myself and thought, "Oh sure! Staffers and pastors only work every other Sunday. The rest of the time we just hang out at home reading our Bibles." Wow... if people only knew the amount of hours our pastors really put in, they'd feel ill... and staffers, we don't have nearly the responsibilities, but our hours and workloads are similar. After some prayer and verse reading, I've decided that I will not be offended by such comments from my friends and family. Our God knows the work we do as wives and mothers, and He sees our hearts. God knows how you are sacrificing your life for your children, and He is honored by that, and I am proud of you Dana! It is funny how automatically, any woman who doesn't work an eight to five job is somehow thought to work less or is more of a slacker than a woman who does. But, I believe that both women who work outside of the home and women who work inside the home, put in long hard hours and make sacrifices for their families. God is working on all of us through our lives and present situations, and He'll continue to do so. I feel blessed to be able to work as a full-time mom (when baby is born) and only part-time as a staffer. I know, as you have found, that this experience will grow me. Hang in there!

  • leah said on September 20, 2008 - 8:43 PM

    dana, thank you for the encouraging words. i have felt like i do "nothing" productive all day long- but then as i read through your post, so many of those things are what we do all day! i appreciate your honest and detailed version of your day... thanks again!

  • Dana said on September 20, 2008 - 9:41 PM

    Oh Holly, your little cutie-in-utero is so blessed to be coming home to you and Luke! I know that if I worked out of the home (which is true of so many working mamas) I would only be switching the home school thing out, and all the other things would remain the same... in my case though, I'd still have the same laundry piles around my house too, :)! And Leah, you are an amazing mama! You are caring for your greatest disciples! (I will never forget the day when you were a young teenager and your dad said that of you!)

  • Sarah said on September 21, 2008 - 9:54 AM

    It's funny to me, but whenever I have been asked "that" question, or been told that I have "nothing" to do all day, it is usually from "working" women my age. Actually, maybe that isn't as funny as it is sad. Now that I've been on both sides of the fence, I will say that I work harder now than I ever did at a professional job. I don't get "time off" or to "leave work early". Plus, my work is 24-7 and I get paid in kisses and hugs (which I love), rather than hard cash, which unfortunately won't get me very fair in the grocery store! However, without fail, every time I tell an older man (like 30 or 40+) that I am a stay at home mom, their response is along the lines of "You have the hardest job out of all of us!".

  • Dana said on September 21, 2008 - 10:40 AM

    My heart goes out to all moms, working in or out of the home. I don't think any of us have it easy or hard. Being a mom is an unquantifiable task by any standards. I hope you all know, I wasn't trying so much to say that one is greater than the other as much as describe a day in our little lives which just happens to be a home where mama stays at home. :)!

  • Emily said on September 21, 2008 - 10:12 PM

    Oh, Dana, I love this! I know we don't need the praise of man to tell us that we're doing the most honorable and all-encompassing work. But, it sure is nice to relate with each other as like-minded mommies. So for all the days you don't get so much as a pat on the back, consider yourself bear-hugged are doing a marvelous job with your disciples. They will rise and call you blessed.

  • Dana said on September 22, 2008 - 7:51 AM

    Right back at cha' Emily!

  • Jackie said on October 3, 2008 - 8:37 PM

    Dana-- I have to say, this is the best thing I've read online in a while. And I've told a few people that. I'm totally inspired and challenged by this and totally want to print it out, except that I don't have a printer. Thanks for posting! I want to ask you about how to go about training kids to be quiet. But now it's the weekend. I'll try to catch you some time soon.

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