I'm sure finding balance in life is a challenge for many people, but I think it has to be an even larger challenge for big families. Like all large families, I have many children that have individual needs and there's seldom enough time for JD and I to meet all of their needs and interests. Since that challenge is obviously going to be an issue for me for many more years, I'm deciding that I need to focus less on pushing myself to meet all the needs and more on my attitude while I'm meeting the ones that I feel take priority.
I tend to pick the strengths in others and try to rise to that level. When I see how magnificently some homeschool their children with fabulous projects and lap-books, I feel like I'm really failing plugging through our workbooks.
When I see the amazing crafts, quilts, etc that some make and feature on their blogs, I can become slightly resentful that I never get to do anything fun for myself that I was accustomed to many children ago.
When I read the cooking articles in magazines (only sitting in Dr. offices,) I dream of creating exciting new dinners. When I come home at 6:00 and there's nothing even in the plans for dinner, it causes me to just sigh.
When I'm at the soccer games, I'm so thrilled with the progress I see in whatever child is playing, but the rest of the week soccer is an incredible inconvenience that hits right at dinner time.
I am dealing with the reality that I have nine children that would get a lot more catering to if they lived in a family with only two or three children. They would, however, also miss out on the natural benefits that large families are blessed with. It is also a given that I am unable to homeschool, cook, craft, garden and clean like they are each the most important focus in my life. While I want to do all of the above decently, I have to find the balance that each deserve in my schedule and not allow guilt to enter into the equation when all of them are done less than I wish.
I am working to grasp the "let all you do, be done to the glory of God." I'm thinking that means less about the quality of the meatloaf than it does about the presentation of the meatloaf.
What I really want to focus on is not allowing the demands and schedules to become stressers that zap the joy out of mine and my children's day to day life. That is going to mean putting the attitude and joy above the task itself. In reality, wouldn't most kids rather have PB and J with a cheerful, joyous mom than stuffed turkey with a mom that is barking orders at them and complaining?
I have to say, we do stop and laugh many times a day at the antics of Elijah; it's a welcome break when we are concentrating. Here's what he was doing today while I was desperately trying to explain infinitives to James and Ben. He was showing his muscles (and balance.)
Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. Prov. 21:9