A confluence of thoughts and experiences led me to blogging today:
Last week I read that 500 women were raped in Congo in July and August by both rebel militias and government troops and cried whenever I thought about it for the rest of the day.
I've been thinking and praying about how to have more patience with Anna and how to say yes more and no less.
My mom shared what was said at an area conference about mothers being online and/or working while at home.
I read King Benjamin's address about teaching our children.
I listened to an interview with Julie Beck and her daughters on the Mormon Channel while I folded laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and got dinner started.
With all this stewing in my mind, I've been really analyzing how I spend my time. Do Anna and Levi have my attention while they're awake? When am I crossing over from relaxing down-time to brain-draining wasting time? Am I productive with the time I'm online? Are my priorities right? Are household matters getting attention before my personal entertainment? Am I pulling my weight in our marriage and parenting duties?
I used to devote quite a bit of time to reading the news. But on that day that I read about the rapes in Congo, I thought, "What good is this doing? What on earth can I do for those women, for that country?" I said many prayers for the Congo that day, but it was truly draining to feel the weight of those wrongs all day and feel helpless to do anything about it. There are others who can act. World leaders, church leaders-- it's their job to know about these things and decide how to act, and what aid can be given.
But my job is to provide a peaceful and happy home for my family. And to do that, I need will and energy. When I spend to much time online (reading the news or otherwise), reading magazines, shopping, or watching TV, I can feel that energy being suck away by the world, into its problems and injustices, into self-doubt, into wanting what I don't need, into thinking I need to do or be more than I am.
So more and more I am exercising my will and closing my browser. In the time I used to spend on the news or blogs, I do family search indexing. All the parenting magazines get a quick browse for helpful articles (like one I recently found with FABULOUS ideas for teaching toddlers about all sorts of things) and then get tossed in the recycle bin. I've unsubscribed from about a dozen email lists.
I can tell things are getting better. I am saying yes more often. Anna's happier, I'm happier. I create more, sew more, cook more, and have more fun doing it. Anna's more polite and helping with chores and becoming amazingly creative.
We're no where near ideal yet. I still slip into vegetation and have plenty of bad habits yet to be tamed and broken. But it feels so good to know I'm on the right track.
Julie Beck said, "Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world's goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord's kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power."
I feel the power and I'm starting to know.