Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I write day after day because I discover extraordinary lessons from ordinary life experiences. I record my visual portraits of everyday life filled with something sacred in hopes that my reflections might bring an insight that blesses my readers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shaping children

Today was a warm and sunny August day. I cherish each new morning. The day brings so many surprise visitors and challenges. One challenge I read on face book was a young mom sharing that she felt guilty because she couldn't keep her house clean , her baby entertained, and her ministry work in balance. She worried because she left her house messy some days.

I remember when I was a young mom I felt that same guilt. Sometimes it wasn't guilt; I just couldn't understand how others kept their house so clean . I didn't have time to read parenting books because I was trying to fix dinner for my husband and kids. I didn't ever get a job completed because the boys had a question, a problem, an issue. I loved playing with them, so I would sit down and play legos or cars or best of all help them hunt worms and snakes outside. All of a sudden, the door bell would ring and there stood my neighbor. She had her makeup on , her blouse ironed, and I knew her house was spotless. I hated inviting her in because there were toys all over and dirty dishes. She didn't seem to care I was messy. She would chat a while and ask if I had seen her boys. Of course, they were usually in our backyard or playhouse. They loved to play in my son's room because they didn't have to put everything away immediately. Consequently, my boys always had extra playmates and a messy room. I made extra lunches and brownies. I stopped to share a craft with them. Then, it was dinner time. I remember clearly not feeling organized or a good home maker.

In retrospect, I realize I truly was a home maker. I made a home where kids liked to play and create. I made healthy snacks they enjoyed , and I would help them scoop up toys into shelves and toy boxes just before dad came home. No, my house wasn't spotless until right before company was coming. I would clean like a mad woman making everything shine and be in place. That was my way of keeping house. I played with our boys and cooked great dinners. I kept the laundry up and made pretty gardens. We went on walks in the woods, we found lonely turtles, we enjoyed watching the clouds. When they were babes, I spent most of my day rocking and singing to them. Nursing my infant was far more important than vacuuming.

I don't regret one day of playing with them. I do regret the times I said, " I 'll be out later. I have to get this work done first." I don't regret teaching them to love to read by reading to them by the hour. I do regret that somedays I used my mean voice to get them to clean their rooms. I told them ,"We have to clean it up at least once a week. " I don't regret our bike rides together. I do regret that I didn't learn to ski with them. I don't regret that we spent grocery money on paints, paper, and paper plane books. I do regret that I didn't hold them longer each time I hugged them.

So, I would say to young moms, houses will always need attending. There will be time later to keep everything in place. Now is the time to tend your young impressionable babe. He will remember warm, sunny August days as times of swinging, swimming, and playing ball with you. You will have shaped his heart, his mind , and his spirit. Who really cares how you shaped your living room pillows?


  1. I'm so thankful I have moms like you to remind me of these things...I find myself caught up in balancing work, home, baby, husband, social life-not sure I'll ever figure it out, but I guess I can play today instead of scrubbing...

  2. That was beautifully written and oh so true. I have many regrets now that my children are adults, but I now look at the good times as I see them as amazing adults. Thanks for sharing Sandi!