Have you ever had one of those days where every time you try to accomplish something you are quickly interrupted? “Mommy, Mommy! Come here! I need you!” or “Mommy! Come play with me!” or as my 10 month old likes to put it, “Ma Ma Ma AHHHHHHHHHHHHH AHHH MA MA MA MA” and on and on it goes until “MA MA” drops her task and gives them her full attention. I have a lot of those days. In fact, I do believe every day is one of those days! It’s very sweet that my children are so excited to spend time with me but many days there are things that really do need to get done! I mean I could wear dirty underwear but should I wear dirty underwear? 😉 It might be laughable but clean laundry is no easy thing when you have three littles competing for your attention and time. So what’s a girl to do? I find that as is the case with most things, there is no simple answer. Often times when we come across a problem or road block we tend to be reductionistic. We oversimplify and try to put everything into a neat little box but we have to be careful because in doing so we often gloss over the root problem and rob ourselves of an opportunity to examine our hearts and the hearts of our children. That being said, instead of asking yourself something like “How can I get stuff done despite my children interrupting me?” or “How can I get my kids to stop interrupting me?” it might be more profitable to ask yourself more probing questions such as:
“Why do my children demand my attention every time I start to clean house?”
“Am I spending too much time cleaning and not enough time with the kids?”
“Am I spending too much time with the the kids? Am I teaching them that they always need to be entertained by someone?”
“When I spend time with my children, is it quality time that nurtures their soul and leaves them feeling loved?”
For me, the answers to these type of questions change mostly depending on how well my relationship with the Lord is going. When I am not being intentional to spend time in prayer and time meditating on the word, my priorities tend to get out of whack and the time I spend with my kids tends to have less impact or rather not the right kind of impact. The past week or so, my children have been a little more demanding than usual and after asking myself the above quesitons as well as talking to my husband and asking the Lord for wisdom, I am pretty sure that the problem is twofold. One: I am not spending enough quality time with them. I have been putting too much emphasis on creating a “well oiled machine” and not enough emphasis on shepherding my children’s hearts (which takes focused time). Two: I have been inadvertaintly training them that they need to be entertained 24/7. Because I’ve been trying to get our house in perfect order, I have been setting them up with a myriad of crafts, shows, and activities to keep them busy and distracted. Crafts and activities are not bad in and of themselves but it’s important that we don’t model or teach our children that they need to be entertained at all times. Our goal in life is not happiness–it is holiness.
You might be saying, “That’s all well and good but I still need clean underwear!” Yes you do! I do too! But maybe I don’t also need to clean the baseboards today or cook that new complicated recipe I found on Pinterest. Maybe instead, I will plan something easy for dinner, get the kids involved in folding laundry, and when conversations inevitably turn to Christmas lights I can take the opportunity to talk about Jesus–the Light of the world.