Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Mom's "To Do" List

How often has a Mom stopped to pause at the end of the day, lamenting that she hasn't really completed all that she has set out to do? Her "to do" list is left unchecked and she feels a bit frustrated or disappointed because she feels unaccomplished. I like to remind mothers that their true "to do" list is in the care of their children, family and household. While a mother may want to spend more time in prayer or get more projects completed, she is positioned there in the heart of the home where our good Lord has put her to care for her family. It is actually wrong to leave the family to go off alone to pray, while the family is in need of her care. Of course, a Mom should strive to seek those quiet moments with our Lord, but never while neglecting her little ones.

A mother need only reflect for a few moments about what has actually transpired during her day and perhaps she won't feel so unaccomplished. I offer you an excerpt from my book, The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home.

"Each morning we open our eyes to a brand-new day full of hope, promise, challenge, and opportunities. 'How will we use this day?' we ask ourselves.

Even our best-laid plans and intentions may not see their way to fruition. The care of our family and household can mean that all of the items on what we thought should be our 'to do list' just might not get checked off. Attempting to keep up with the never-ending care of our family--including housework, mounds of laundry, and a kitchen sink that seems to automatically refill with dirty dishes--can cause us to feel tired, disappointed, or inadequate.

On the days when we do not see the fruits of our work--errands completed, phone calls made, clean laundry nicely folded, kitchen counters sparkling, and floors dust-free--we need to reevaluate what is most important in life.

When we are feeling particularly unaccomplished, it's wise to reflect for a few moments on the events that have, in fact, filled our days. We need to remember those smiles that we brought to our children's faces. after drying their tears and cheering them up. How about all the sibling squabbles we refereed? What about our role of peacekeeper and treaty maker?

Then there was the walk out in the fresh air that we took with our young ones. It was not only healthy and a welcome change, but educational as well, since we talked about nature and about God, who fills the earth with beauty.

Maybe that trip to the grocery store with the crew provided us with more than just the essentials for this week's meals. Perhaps it also served as an opportunity for a short discussion about what foods are healthy and body-building and which ones are junk foods. (I say 'short discussion' because there is not a whole lot of time for in-depth articulation as we try to put the sugar-coated, pink-and purple-dyed snacks back on the shelves and quickly zoom down the aisle before the kids grab some more attention-grabbing stuff!)

We guide our children through the course of their day, reminding them to do their homework, pick up after themselves, take their showers and baths, and then reward their good behavior with lots of praise. We can teach them about cleanliness and responsibility when we recruit them to help with household chores.

Bringing them together in prayer around the dinner table, keeping them focused on what's really important, and encouraging them to think of others are not easy tasks in today's world. Yet these lessons are invaluable in helping to build our children's characters and mold their consciences.

Let's start every day with prayer. Each time we open our eyes to a new day, we have a wonderful opportunity to start with a new resolve to serve God even more lovingly. It is a practice that takes only a few minutes but can help transform an insignificant day into something quite beautiful and even holy."


Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur said...

Thank you for this post. It is a wonderful reminder of what is important.


Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle said...

And thank YOU, Patrice for all of your wonderful work I see so often on Catholic Exchange in support of the vocation of motherhood! Feel free to submit something to me for my Carnival coming up and also for my "Friends on Fridays" segment and "Tips on Tuesdays" segment for Moms.

God bless!