Jay was having a tough stretch at work, a couple weeks of no progress on an important project. It was a Tuesday evening, and through a (what I believe was a God-ordained) fluke, everything at home was perfect:
Elisha slept all afternoon, so I was able to clean the kitchen; the girls wanted to dress-up and dance (which we all did); and then we had to clear the living room to make room for dancing (to praise music, at their request); then we were all tired at the same time and I started dinner while they played (nicely!) together.
They “helped” me make biscuits while I made soup for dinner, and Jay opened the door right as the timer went off on the biscuits. I was dressed nicely (which Jay always enjoys), worship music was playing, the girls were laughing together, and our home was the peaceful, joyful haven Jay had needed at that exact moment.
It was all so perfect I tried to make it happen again the next couple evenings, but it didn’t, and that just drove home for me that it was a special grace given to us for that needy time.
This is the image I return to when I question if I’m not focused enough on my home: the reality that God gives gifts and abilities where and when they are needed. That he provides for those challenging times. (That evening happened not long after my Grandmother died, and I think God was encouraging me as much as for my husband in helping me create a peaceful home).
Sometimes I wonder if I never read (for just myself) or wrote, whether my house would be maintained at a higher level. The answer has to be yes, if only from a mathematical standpoint, but I have to wonder if the amount of improvement would be worth what I’d have to give up.
So far, I’m thinking, No.
Side note: I recognize that everyone needs some time to recharge, or there will be nothing to give, but I get prickly when women start getting off on claims (demands) that they deserve this or that. Half the time it seems like I’m hearing, “I want it, therefore I deserve it.”
This is not automatically true.
For now I think I’m reasonably balanced. My problem, I think, is that the criteria for defining the balance are nonexistent. At least, I haven’t found them yet.
One nice thing about nursing a baby is that I get several automatic slots each day to sit and do my own thing. (Natasha, like many older siblings, started “nursing” her dolls after her little sister was born. Essential to her ritual, copying me, was having a book in front of her on the couch.)
With this baby I write, like now, when nursing. So my way of doing something ‘for me’ doesn’t take away from the kids. If I confine my writing. And I don’t always.
“Seasons” has a good application in this way. There are definitely some types of service that are easier when your children are older. Hmmm, actually, there’s at least one type that’s easier when your kids are younger too.
(More on those next time.)