“Our boys survived on Cheryl Surprise,” so my husband says. You know, that something you conjure up in the kitchen last minute and you add anything that is edible and make a new creation? When your kids say a few days or weeks later, “Hey Mom, can you make that whatever it was again?” and you have no idea how you made whatever it was? Stan’s comment was not necessarily a criticism (he liked it, too.) But, he recognized that sometimes stuff in the home just didn’t get done. I was busy. They were busy. We were busy doing something fun together.
Raising our children in the 80s, we did not have computers … or iPads … or iPods … or cell phones. OR texting, email, and internet. Gee, how did we survive? We survived by doing other things–like hiking, fishing, picking blackberries, catching critters, and turning my turkey roasters into terrariums.
Four boys in less than seven years, active boys who wanted to be outside all of the time. The problem was that the laundry and the cooking and all the other chores were inside.
You might think we had no distractions. But, we did. Different from today, but we had them. The laundry and dust stared at me every day; we had closets to clean, errands to run, and millions of white socks to sort. In fact, all of the boys’ socks were white in four different sizes. And, one was always missing. And yes, we did have land line telephones.
Bible studies and several church ministries added to the mix and, in the late 80s, I went back to full time teaching in the neighborhood elementary school. Some days, I had to look up at my bulletin board to remind myself of my name. Those were the days of major Cheryl Surprise meals.
Earlier this week, I heard an interview on Focus on the Family with Rachel Macy Stafford, author of Hands Free Mama and Hands Free Life. Many years separate us, but oh, how I could relate to her stories of frustration with trying to do it all. Even raising my children without the technology overload we deal with today, I knew how she felt.
My sons are all in their 30s now but I can still recall times when I winced at the negative tone in my own voice when speaking to them. I desperately wanted to build up and not tear down and never wanted my boys to feel that they were bothering me. I remember consciously putting down whatever I had deemed so terribly important, and turning my attention to them. All of my attention. There was nothing more important than that.
Even “back then,” giving my children the time I desired to give them was sometimes difficult. I learned the hard way with stress, health issues, and frustration. As demanding, time-consuming, and critically important as parenting is, it will be difficult to parent well if we are always distracted. With the massive amount of technology that has placed itself in our lives, this will be a struggle for the remainder of our years. It will go on endlessly, even for this grandmother.
The desires women have all flow from the gifts God has given us. We want to do it all and we want to do it all well. However, we can not let the pace of this world disrupt the glue of our family lives. The emails, text messages and chores can wait. Have fun with your children and give them yourself and your time. Enjoy the moments. Grilled cheese and tomato soup go down just fine.
Do not let the pace of this world disrupt the glue of your family life. Enjoy the moments.
To read more about Rachel Macy Stafford http://www.handsfreemama.com/