I want to tell you about a lesson I learned almost 13 years ago. I was a young mother with two very young babies. At the time, we lived about ten hours away from my parents and my family home. It could be lonely, but I think I was doing a pretty good job of things. After all, two little ones kept me very busy and I *loved* that season in my life.
At the same time, I was still very young and still had many lessons left to learn. We were a happy little family and I was running our home to the best of my ability at the time...but yes, many lessons still left to learn.
We were finally able to make the ten hour trip to visit my parents. This was a very big deal. There is a lot of planning that goes into taking a trip like that with two littles ~ one who was still nursing at the time! I was able to spend a week at home with mom and dad. It was a very eye opening week for me because it was my first trip home with two children and I was at that point in life where I was starting to see my mom as another woman instead of my mother only. I'm sure many of you ladies can relate to that time in life and know what I'm talking about.
So I watched her that week. I really observed her and how she did things. Not that I had never done that before, but this was the fist time that *I* had something at stake here. I was now a wife and mother too! One thing I always had trouble with was letting myself get derailed from my day's needful tasks because of one type of stress or another. If I didn't feel very well or if the children had a bad day or...insert any number of things here...my day would get off track and never really get back on. Granted no one would go hungry, but that doesn't mean dinner would be on the table. It would be more of a throw-things-together or even a let-hubby-forage type of night. I couldn't quite figure out, well, how to get it together. My mother had been an excellent example for me growing up but sometimes I, quite frankly, need some hands on experience of a thing before the light bulb comes completely on. :-)
I remember one day of that week in particular had been hectic and a bit stressful. I don't remember the exact reason, but she and I had been out of the house most of the day and were quite behind in getting home. Then once we got home there were things to unload out of the car, the children to attend to, well you can imagine. At that point in time, if I had been at home rushing in like that I probably would have plopped a pizza in the oven (if that) and called it good. But I remember taking note that as soon as we got in the house, my mother went straight to the kitchen and, very quickly, started putting together a "real" meal. She still had other things tugging for her attention and she would stop and attend to them as needed. But she still stayed focused that it was supper time...time to cook the family meal...and regardless of the day's stresses she stayed focused on the core needs and did not let them slip. I remember her in that little kitchen working with gusto. And in just a little while, she had accomplished what she set out to do. We may have rushed headlong into the house but before I knew it, we were all sitting at a set table eating a home cooked meal.
The difference between what I had just witnessed and what I knew *I* would have done in my own home that evening was not lost on me. It made quite an impression ~ and she never even knew it. She was simply living her life...doing what was utterly normal to her to do. I decided that night that I needed to pay more attention to what I think of as the "core" household chores. ~ The things that should be done each day regardless of what else happens. And I also realized that when I was put into one of those days where things were tempting me to throw my hands up and say, "Forget it! I give up," that those were the very times I needed to really dig in with gusto.
Soon it was time for us to head back home and it was a long day. We got up early and packed the car, the kids, and ourselves. We drove all day long. Finally we got back -home and we were all exhausted and tired and there was a car packed to the brim to unpack and two littles all up in the middle of it. I quickly realized that I could either put into practice the lesson I had learned or continue on in my let-the-hubby-forage ways. So I decided to dig right in.
Just like that evening at my mother's house, I focused on the task of fixing supper. I would still have to stop here and there for a child or to help hubby in with something as he was unloading the car. But then I went right back to what was needful. Before I knew it, we were all seated at the table enjoying a "real" supper at a nicely set table. And it was truly what we needed after the long day we had. I don't even think my husband noticed what I was up to while he was going back and forth to the car. Because on his last trip in, I had dinner on the table as he came in the door and he did look a bit shocked, lol. But he was certainly pleased! And I was too.
I have used that lesson on "digging in with gusto" so many times since then. Yes, there are plenty of times when going about housework with a slow and steady pace are certainly called for. But I have to say that, for me, when things start to get off track and I feel like I am very close to falling off the homekeeper wagon, putting the gusto principle to work is what helps me keep on track. And it certainly helps keep the family happy!
I am linking this post to the following blog parties:
A Return to Loveliness at A Delightsome Life
A Titus 2sday Link Up at Time Warp Wife
Domestically Divine Tuesday Homemaking Link Up at Far Above Rubies