For several months, I had determined to get up earlier than my family, to have breakfast ready for them when they awoke, to have family Bible time, and then to have a day full of adventure and learning. We were doing pretty well for awhile, but then one of us got sick. And then another one got sick. And then we went on vacation. And then we came back from vacation to find out that neither one of our cars was drivable. So then we were spending every spare second shopping for a new car. Our schedule started to crash as we were striving to just get by.
It started with little changes at first. Jamie let me sleep in while he had breakfast with the kids. This led to us getting a later start than if I had gotten up before them, since it takes me awhile to get going in the morning! Because we still needed to take showers, we needed to occupy the kids. So the television was turned on. Sometimes the kids even watched television while still eating breakfast. Then we would rush around trying to get to whatever activity we had planned (which is not as enjoyable when there’s a lot of fussing going on just trying to get there!).
By the time we would get home for lunch, I had had enough of the whining from the kids, who didn’t get a good start to the day because Mommy had decided to sleep in. So the kids would watch television during lunch while I tried to catch up with things that should have been done earlier. The afternoon nap would follow, which always produced a fight with the kids because they weren’t worn out from playing in the morning!
Once the kids fell asleep, the naps wound up lasting until almost dinner time. Because they get under foot while I’m cooking, the television would come on again! By the time the day was through, they had watched a lot of television and had not had a whole lot of quality time with Mommy!
Now I’m not saying that you’re a bad parent if you let your kids watch t.v. I know that some days a Mom just needs to survive. But I had let down my guard this past month, and I suddenly noticed the changes in my children.
Besides not being exhausted from their fun each day, they also weren’t eating as well. They hadn’t had time to work up an appetite. And there were behavioral issues, too. There was more fighting and whining and disobedience. Hannah refused to get off the couch and go play in her room. Ephraim would get up and start screaming and pointing to the television.
That was my breaking point. I was hit over the head that I had become a lazy parent when my 20-month-old started demanding to spend his day in front of the television.
But we are all healthy now. We have come home from vacation. And we are determined to get things back to normal around here!
I didn’t think it mattered if I got up before everyone else, but it sure seems to be a much more pleasant morning for everyone when I do. In fact, I found myself having the opportunity to sit outside on the front porch with my coffee and Bible in hand, enjoying the day that God had created for me.
The Proverbs 31 woman seems like an impossible role model, but I know that my family functions better when I follow her example and “get up while it is still night, provide food for [my] family” (Prov. 31:15a) and don’t let “[my] lamp. . .go out at night” (Prov. 31:18b).
I love being a mom, and I want to be one who serves the Lord. So I write these things because I have been convicted about deserting my post. I have fallen asleep on the job. And my kids need me to step up and stop being so selfish.
I want my husband to be able to say, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all” (Prov. 31:29).