Check out a movie like “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” (starring Sarah Jessica Parker) and you’ll quickly catch wind of the running joke that stay-at-home moms sit around eating bon-bons all day…and maybe go to the gym in the afternoon. Now, I’ll admit I keep a stash of dark chocolate Doves in my pantry, but that’s about as far as the stereotype goes. In actuality, I have a very full schedule–one that I thoroughly enjoy. It’s taken me a while to figure out how to fill my days with the right blend of activity and quiet that enables me to fulfill my priorities and enjoy my life. Obviously, my “blend” is unique to me. I have friends who are active in twice as much as I am, and other friends who don’t participate in half the things I do. But if I could pass along one piece of advice to a rookie stay-at-home-mom, it would be to establish a schedule that honors God, suits your personality, and enables you to fulfill your priorities. Before posting about how to establish a personal schedule, I thought it might be helpful to outline the primary commitments that fill my week. I am involved in 4 different things:
I attend an incredible church, called New City, in downtown Macon, Georgia. The two best things about my church (in my opinion) are the solid gospel focus that permeates everything we do, and the high value placed on community. Not only do we have small groups that meet throughout the week, but we authentically live life together.
“BSF,” short for Bible Study Fellowship, is a free worldwide organization that encourages women from all different backgrounds to come together and study God’s Word. For one year you gather to study a particular portion of the Bible–this year it’s the book of Genesis. I absolutely love BSF because it’s a program not just for women, but for their children. For two hours once a week, I sip coffee, discuss the book of Genesis with other women, and listen to a live lecture that always manages to refresh my heart. Meanwhile, my daughters are listening to the same Bible story, singing Bible songs, and learning important aspects of conformity (like sitting in a circle with other kids, following directions from different adults…etc.) that are hard to teach at home. I also like the weekly homework we are given because it’s an easy way to get in God’s Word and stay accountable. If you are a stay-at-home-mom who could use some mid-week biblical refreshment (not to mention a breather from the kiddos), you ought to check it out. There is very likely a group meeting not far from you.
3. BOOK CLUB
I also host one of several weekly book clubs for women in my church. My particular group is reading Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart. While BSF is a time to dig deeply into Scripture, this is a time to laugh, fellowship, and talk about how Jesus impacts our daily lives. No, we don’t have childcare, so it’s also a somewhat chaotic time! But this, too, is beneficial. I want my kids to be comfortable playing with other kids, and respecting the boundaries of adults. So even though we may face anywhere from 5-500 interruptions per session, our kids are beginning to learn how to play kindly with one another, let the adults talk about Jesus, and obey even when company is around. Maybe your church doesn’t have anything like this in place, but you’d like a greater sense of friendship and community. Start one yourself! It can be as informal as a weekly playdate that ends with a brief prayer time for one another, or as structured as a book study that grows to include childcare one day. Who knows? God could use you to start something powerful among the women of your church.
4. MOMS MORNING OUT
MMO is my weekly treat. It is simply time to myself. My husband was actually the one who encouraged me to sign up, and I have not stopped thanking him since! Once a week I drop my kids at a local church with an excellent pre-school program, and then I do whatever I feel like doing–write, pray, shop, go to a cafe, read a book….ahhhhh….
So…why blog about this? I guess I just want to make the point that being a homemaker doesn’t mean being housebound. It’s possible to have a full and enriching schedule–one that blesses you and makes quality use of your time. And if in the midst of all this activity, you find some time to put your feet up and eat a couple of bon bons now and again, then good for you!