“In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them… a quiet growing time.” -Charlotte Mason
My oldest is at school this year, so it’s just me, my homeschooled 4-year-old, and my 2-year-old during the day. I don’t have the girls in any kind of Mother’s Day Out or early childhood “school.” In the mornings, we go to the YMCA, drive somewhere for a playdate, spend some time homeschooling, go by and feed stale bread to the turtles at the pond by our house, run errands…or just stay home. Sometimes my mom babysits for me while I go record a radio show or go to a doctor’s appointment (a perk of living with your parents).
Our one-day-a-week after school activity for the fall hasn’t started yet, and so afternoons are almost always spent at home. After picking up Gabe from school, we come home and the kids play in the backyard or chase each other around the house with our fleet of child-sized shopping carts and strollers. I serve dinner between 5 and 5:30, and the children are in bed by 7pm.
It hit me recently that if I had all the money in the world, our life would look different.
I would have filled my children’s schedules with more things. Good things, of course, but still more. My kids would be away from home more. I’d have put my two-year-old in Mother’s Day Out a couple of days per week, and my PreK-er would be in PreK full-time. I’d have the older two kids in a great music program here in town that didn’t work out for us this fall. Dinners would be more rushed. We would spend more time in our van driving to activities (in addition to the two hours per day we’re already in the van driving to and from carpool at Gabe’s school).
I think God is the one behind this quiet growing time for my children…and for me.
Left to my own devices, I would have chosen a busier life. (Not that busy is necessarily a bad thing. And not that we’re not busy.) I’ve had to slow down this past month or so. God gently reminded me that I’m not an airplane: the sky is not the limit for my parenting, my children’s education, or even my writing and media ministries.
He is asking me right now to do well the work He has placed before me, to continue to cultivate self-discipline and skill in caring for the people and the work He has entrusted to me.
So that’s where I am. It’s a quiet growing time for me, too, these days. Although, with three children under six, it’s never quiet around here unless they’re sleeping.:)
My children are happy, happy, happy. I wonder and rejoice at how happy they are. And they are so happy without all of the things I thought I needed to give them. There’s time for all of that. For now, digging up the backyard and getting enough sleep and snuggling with mommy and a read-aloud chapter book at night must be all that they really need.
If my children needed more, God would have provided for it.
If their mother truly needed something else, I’d already have it.