Thursday, March 10, 2011


because i'm a procrastinator, i usually wait until ash wednesday to think of what i should do for lent. it usually leads to a half-hearted attempt at something that is either too impossible or something not very meaningful. and i waver about what i'm going to do because i'm lazy and i don't like to do hard things.

this year, instead of giving something up, because i tend to be an action person, i'm going to focus on doing instead.

i constantly struggle with being a better wife and mother. the boys overwhelm me with their constancy and i'm often cross with tim because i feel exhausted from all of my responsibilities. i've long known that i would do better in my vocations if i were more organized with my time and tasks. when ben was a baby i read "a mother's rule of life" but was frustrated with it because my life was much too unpredictable at that time and i was so sleep-deprived, all i could ever accomplish for a day was nursing and preparing food.

over the last four years, i have written up many, MANY "schedules" and "routines" for us to follow for our days and weeks. but again, i would quickly get discouraged with the constantly changing needs of the boys and work. one day would go great, then the next day the boys would be extra "charming" and nothing would get done or follow order, then i would give up, declaring that it would never work. on top of the needs of the boys and the house, i was always resentful of tim and his lack of schedule or demands. why should i have to discipline myself to go to bed at a reasonable time and get up early when he got to stay up as late as he wanted and then got to sleep in. and in regards to our household, tim is very undemanding. he never complains if the bathroom hasn't been cleaned in way too long or if the laundry baskets have been sitting in our room, full of unfolded laundry for several days. i'm not great at self-motivating, so without the "threat" of his displeasure or with the incentive of his praise, i often just didn't do the stuff i needed to do.

living in a cluttered house, where everywhere i turned, i was reminded of tasks that i was ignoring was exhausting. i was resentful of the boys, because if they weren't demanding my attention, i could just get the stuff done. and when i did get things done, they were quickly undone by my three guys. arrrrrrrrgggg!!!

i've slowly but surely gotten better about some things, but i still have a long ways to go. thus-my goal for this lent. i'm really going to work on being a more disciplined person, knowing that although it will be hard, the benefits for our family will be invaluable. i'm not going to give up and i will focus on offering up my frustrations and interruptions. i will be realistic about what i can accomplish in a day, not setting myself up for failure with an impossible list. i'm going to focus on the things that really make a difference in my mood and attitude, like cleaning the kitchen every night (which i've mostly conquered, but occasionally drag my feet on and then get super annoyed that tim never pitches in to help), clearing off the table every night so that i'm greeted by a clean slate each morning instead of piles of paperwork that nag at my attention, folding the laundry on my set day, and following a more focused daily routine that includes time for work, play, and chill. (and maybe even exercise if i'm working for a truly awesome lent.)

so far, i've failed. i did get all the laundry folded and put away yesterday and cleaned the kitchen, but there has been no order to our day today and growing frustration. oh to conquer my laziness-only by the grace of God.


  1. I like your's very realistic. Whenever I plan anything slightly beyond simple, it's a big flop. Sometimes I look at blogs like Catholic Icing and feel so inferior and I pray my kids don't miss out on learning their faith because they didn't get mardi gras pancakes..frankly, it overwhelms me to plan it out. Laziness is my #1 struggle...I blame it on lack of sleep....or maybe #1 is lack of patience??
    Anyway, Mary, you always remind me of what is truly important with your youthful wisdom. Blessings on a peace-filled Lent!

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  3. Somehow deleted my original comment. I'm trying to do those same things. It isn't easy. Having a clean kitchen in the morning sets a better mood for the day, but I struggle with not leaving it for the next day too.

  4. What a wonderful goal for your Lenten journey! Household chores are one of my (many) downfalls as well, especially putting away the laundry. A few years ago my plan for Lent was to get the laundry put away within 24 hours of washing it. That was a true sacrifice for me, even though it seems rather pitiful when I say it out loud. Fortunately for us God takes us where we're at. Prayers for a fruitful Lent for you and your family!

  5. I think this is another great post, Mary. I can really relate to the things you've been posting lately.
    I'm looking forward to reading more about how this goes for you. God's grace will help you!

  6. I hear you on this one, Mary. How are we supposed to be predictable and scheduled when kids are so stinking unpredictable and there is just NOT ENOUGH TIME to get everything done that needs to be done. I agree the kitchen is important and I also often get so frustrated when my husband does not offer to help and only does so grudgingly when asks (and then acts like he saved the world by clearing the table). And you did not mention this, but if you are anything like me, the hours you spend in your kitchen make you resent it - and long for a more beautiful and functional space to spend so much of your time.

    In any case, I also hear you on not being able to do what we try to do - kinda makes you not want to try. And sometimes I get so dead set on doing something that after I muscle us through it I wonder if it would have been more beneficial to skip it in favor of something else. For example, I decided we needed to be a holy family and go to Mass on Ash Wednesday, even though the only Mass we could make it to was at noon. So I took my three youngest - jumped several hurdles and got us there, only to spend the entire Mass trying to get my 2.5 year-old to be quiet. At the end of Mass, the woman behind me (who was very sweet) said, "So is this Jacob?" She had heard me CONSTANTLY whispering at him to be quiet!! I heard zero of the readings. I did get to receive communion and the boys were pumped about the ashes, but they wiggled around and rubbed against me so much they were gone before we left church so they never got to see them - as they asked to later.

    But I promised not to complain this lent, so I'm not complaining, mind you, just pointing out that sometimes MY PLANS do not seem to be what is best for us. But I am trying. And so are you. That is what matters.