February is surely the dullest month. March arrives with hope, but it’s still cold and dreary and I long for spring!
Lent is a good time to focus on God and my family instead of myself. All the weather discomfort reminds me that I am not in control.
And there’s hope in another month or so. SPRING.
I have to be proactive to ward off depression when the clouds continue to roll in, both literally and figuratively.
How I Stay Focused on What’s Important
(When I often want just to lie around and read and drink tea, but I know I have responsibilities…)
I relax on the schedule.
We alternate history and science every other day. We sometimes skip math to do other things. We occasionally watch the movie instead of reading the book. I know – gasp! But I have to let it go and realize that I can only do so much with four kids.
With my younger ones, I know I have plenty of time for them to learn long division and another go-round or two of our history cycle to learn it more in-depth.
With my teen, I focus on the big picture and minimize her checklist. I encourage her to keep track of her own assignments each week. If she doesn’t finish the list in a few months, then she can work through the summer.
Is the sun suddenly shining? Go go GO to the park to play and soak it in! We love having that freedom for spontaneity.
I make sure we stay healthy.
I load us up on whole foods – especially vegetables and supplements – to stay healthy from inside out. Meals are important for our family, and we enjoy looking at recipes, grocery shopping, cooking, and eating together.
I recently bought some exercise DVDs that I can do in my pajamas in the privacy of my living room because I know that will help me feel better as much as I hate exercising. On the days that the sun shines and it’s not freezing temps, I go for a walk outdoors and feel so much better!
I make sure we get enough sleep so our immune systems aren’t weakened. The kids have early bedtimes so I can have some quiet time in the evenings when I work my best. My son wakes up before dawn. I make a hot breakfast every single day. I used to be resentful of this schedule, but I realize this works for us, and I roll with it happily now.
I limit social media.
Some days, I just.can’t.even.
The meanness of self-proclaimed Christians who hide behind their keyboards saddens me. The controversy online disgusts me, and I don’t want to get dragged into a fight that isn’t even mine. I have enough turmoil inside, and I don’t need any help from the Internet. I loathe reading the headlines of the news. I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I hate the mommy wars, military wife battles, and homeschool assaults.
So I have to turn it off and walk away. I pray and read and interact with my kids. It’s better.
I set limits on my time.
I used to have trouble saying no. I’ve grown out of that anxiety and it feels so good.
If I don’t want to, I don’t have to take a position of leadership – at church, in our homeschool group, with the base spouses group, or pretty much anything.
I don’t have to follow every page or person online who follows me. I don’t have to subscribe to RSS or newsletters if I don’t have time or interest to read them.
I don’t have to sign my kids up for every sport and extracurricular activity that is available. I am not competing with anyone and I don’t have to compare. My family understands our limitations on time, budget, and my lack of desire for being a taxi service.
I like having free time and my kids not being scheduled every minute of every day. Boredom is actually a good thing. My kids get creative when it’s cold and rainy out and lessons are over for the day and I’m busy. I’m not their entertainment 24/7. They need to learn to play with each other or alone. I refuse to feel guilty because I make sure they get their love tanks filled so they aren’t resentful of that time I tell them to go find something to do.
My kids need me to be a mom even when I don’t feel like it. And I need to model servant leadership if I expect them to exhibit those behaviors.
How do you keep focused on what’s important? Have you learned any tips you can share with us? Is this something you struggle with? We’d love to hear your comments!