a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, February 3, 2012

More on Juggling Our Responsibilities

Continuing with yesterday's post. . .it is next to impossible to keep all of our "balls" going.

We must strive for balance in our
struggle to juggle all we have to do.

           Illustration by Dilleen Marsh to accompany E. Jeffrey Hill's article  "Finding Harmony as we     Struggle to Juggle"  - Ensign magazine, February 2012,  page 12-13

We all know we need to slow down. This is a no-brainer!

Most, if not all, of us, whether in a family, as a couple, or as an individual need to slow down or at least reorder our lives.

But HOW?

I don't have the answers but I do have suggestions  or thoughts.  Several of my posts have addressed this subject and it's importance to our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  I feel it is so important that I will continue to post on this topic periodically.

But WHY?
In our efforts to care for our families and our myriad responsibilities we forget to care for ourselves. Plus, this causes the truly important things in life get pushed aside because of our busyness and tiredness. I address this to moms but it's a problem for dads also. We are all too busy. We are assailed on all sides by stuff and the need to have the latest or greatest. Our lives are very stressful.

In Hill's article he said "There is no one formula for creating greater harmony in our lives, but we can each do specific things to experience greater joy, including engaging in rejuvenating activities, setting aside time to be with our families, and focusing on our Savior."

In no specific order:

STUFF - The more we have the more it seems we want (and think we need). We work longer and harder to buy stuff. Along with the obvious monetary issues, stuff takes more time to care for, tinker with, find a place to store. . . . Stop and think about this for a moment: Does the stuff that we think we need to make and keep us happy, really make us happy or cause frustration and stress? Do we have time to take time to play with it? Did it/does it take money/time away from more important things--or more valuable things?

I love Trent Hamm's 20/80 theory from his blog The Simple Dollar. Basically it is...we use, wear, play with, listen to, read, or live in only about 20 percent of what we actually have.

"The practice of thrift is not outdated. We must discipline ourselves to live within our incomes even if it means going without or making do. The wise person can distinguish. . .between basic needs and extravagant wants. Some find budgeting extremely painful, but I promise you, it is never fatal."
                                                                                                 Marvin J. Ashton

EXPECTATIONS - We tend to compare ourselves -- when we are feeling at our worse -- to others when they are at their best.

"Some mothers seem to have the capacity and energy to make their children's clothes, bake, give piano lessons, go to meetings, teach Sunday School, attend parent-teacher association meetings, and so on. Other mothers look upon such women as models and feel inadequate, depressed, and think they are failures when they make comparisons.

"Do not allow yourselves to be made to feel inadequate or frustrated because you cannot do everything others seem to be accomplishing. Rather, each should assess her own situation, her own energy, and her own talents, and then choose the best way to mold her family into a team---a unit that works together and supports each other. Only you and your Father in Heaven know your needs, strengths, and desires. Around this knowledge your personal course must be charted and your choices made."
                                                                                                            Marvin J. Ashton

ENERGY and RENEWAL - When our kids were still at home and our lives were hectic, my physician told me that it was extremely important to include physical activities to balance out our mental activities.

Track your productive times of day and your "slower" times and plan your schedule around them as much as possible.

"Busy schedules and/or long work hours often leave us feeling tired and worn out. . . We can increase our energy by participating in activities that renew us. . .frequent physical exercise increases our stamina and often gives us a boost throughout the day. . .Peaceful music can soothe the soul. . .Talking with a friend can be energizing. . .A short nap is often invigorating. . .Having a few minutes alone in quiet can rejuvenate the mind."                                                                                  E. Jeffrey Hill

SIMPLIFY - Often we try to help or please others beyond our personal stamina, causing us to neglect things that are most important. We need to learn to say "No" at times -- both to our own wants and the wants of others.

Eliminating extra and unnecessary stuff simplifies house work. Cooking twice the amount at once, and freezing the extra for another meal saves energy---yours and your appliances. Dovetailing activities whenever possible saves time.

"A couple that goes on a walk together can get needed exercise, talk about their children, share ideas, express their affection, brain-storm solutions and be rejuvenated. This one activity is of great value because it can contribute to so  many facets of life.

"Stay out of debt. . .spend less than you earn, learn to save, honor financial obligations, and teach children sound financial principles."
                                                                                            E. Jeffrey Hill

PRIORITIZE - Our families are our most prized possessions.  Quality time does not reign high over quantity time, despite what we are led to believe. In our busy lives time for family togetherness and individual one-on-one time just doesn't happen. We must make it happen --- make sure it happens. It is too easy to get caught up in the thick of thin things!

We strengthen our families when we spend time together without distractions. A blaring TV does not bind a family. Nor does it focus children's values on things of importance and/or eternal worth. Eating together, and sharing with one another during this time, working and playing together, taking a few minutes to talk to each child individually at their bedtimes ---- these are the things that strengthen bonds.

We need to make our Lord and Savior a priority in our lives and the lives of our children. He is the answer, and has the answer, to all of needs. We only have to sincerely seek and ask.

In St. John Chapter 14 Jesus tells us He is the way, the truth, and the life: that to see Him is to see the Father. In verse 27 He continues:

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
Great blessings, contentment and peace will be ours and our families when we learn to balance our lives and our responsibilities----when we set aside good things for "good-er" things. The things that will matter most in the long run.

It is not easy but it is possible to simplify our complicated lives.

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