Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Helpful Habits

I was thinking recently of things I do as a mother that really help me, my children and our family to enjoy each other and live in harmony. I love verses that paint a picture of what our homes are to be like... 

"Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!" Psalm 118:15

"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain." Psalm 127:1

"Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table."  Psalm 128:3

"Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars." Proverbs 9:1

"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Proverbs 14:1

Words like joy, wisdom, fruitful, and victory are wrapped up all in them.  As if the habits of our day reflect these qualities...

Our home isn't always delightful, peaceful, full of wisdom or joy... but I am thankful for older women who have taught me some habits to help our home be full of these qualities:

Habit 1: Get rest and a full nights sleep. 

More than any other thing this helps me to be joyful and a better mom. I have put lots of time and research into developing a plan that fits our family... but honestly, I always think... nothing is worse than sleep deprivation. Get your babies to sleep... any means! Recently I was talking to another mom who said, "I use to think it was weakness to take a nap or get rest during the day. Then I realized if it makes me a better mom, it makes our family better."  Get rest, you'll find your children are much happier when you all get rest.

Habit 2: Speak lovingly and no shouting.

I often find that my children model what I do... recently I've been practicing speaking even softer when I am serious... it is amazing how it works... shouting does no one any good!

Habit 3: Alone time.

Starting when my babies are a year old they do "room time" or a measured amount of time playing alone (30 min-1hour). Right now all my children are in there rooms playing happily while I finished vacuuming and am now getting some TLC... in 10 minutes we will all play together. I don't know how to express how much this has helped me during hard seasons, pregnancy, sickness and busyness.  And, they learn to love it too... my oldest daughter askes, "Is it room time, yet. I want to play doll house."  

Habit 4: Breast feeding.

This isn't really a habit, but a method or feeding your baby. But, it has saved my sanity on many occasions... easy, warm milk, ready any moment you need it... no cost, no preparation needed.  Plus it gives me a reason to sit down, relax and enjoy my sweet littlest one. 

Habit 5: Reading aloud.

Reading aloud to my children use to be a chore to me... I thought of all the other things I should be doing while reading a drawling boring book for the 1000th time!  Not so since I decided to start reading chapter books... everyone listens, 4 year old, 2 year old and baby playing on the floor... It is an instant calmer and most of the time I end up crying when I read "Little House." It inspires me to be a better mom.  

Habit 6: Conversing with the Almighty.

I am really working on "practicing the presence of God."  It is discouraging at times.  As I seek to always be in God's presence, conversing through out my day with Him, coming to Him as I work, teach, train and care for my children... I find I am hardly ever in His presence... but even that makes me long more for Him and that is a good thing.

Habit 7: Laugh!

I laugh easily, maybe too much so... but it keeps me joyful and puts my heart at peace... laugh when you are frustrated, angry or overwhelmed... it will give you joy.

Habit 8: Seek out wisdom.

"If things aren't working for you, change it..." - A friend/mentor and mom of 7 once told me.  Those words have often reminded me that wisdom makes a difference in our daily lives and that I am not a victim of my circumstances. 

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