When I went to Confession last week, the priest asked if I were a homeschooling mother (I don't know how he could tell). When I said yes, he said that I should not take on any extra responsibilities, but that my duty is to be holy for my children. Be the excellent example that they need because that is the task that God has given me. I tried to explain that life is much easier now with only 2 homeschooling, and they're doing that out of the house 3 days per week, but he wasn't interested in that! He insisted that I do everything I can to bring peace to the home and be the kind and loving wife and mother I'm meant to be.
My "penance" was to ask the Blessed Mother to help me in my task (every task!) before I begin, whether it's cooking dinner, doing laundry, teaching school. For one week I was to do this. Since I've managed to ask for her help only once or twice, I think I have to continue trying.
Here are some of the tips that I've gleaned over the years, and that I think are helping me (or would have been awesome when I had 6 children at home!).
- Begin and end your day with prayer. I have my Morning Consecration prayer and my Renewal of Consecration sandwiching my day. I also have an alert on my phone for the Angelus and the 3:00 hour. The Angelus is super short, and if I'm not praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet (which is most of the time), I say a short prayer remembering Christ's passion. I also try to get in a rosary during one of the dog's walks.
- Spiritual Reading and meditation. Try for 15 minutes in the morning. If you want to pray the Divine Office, you can do that. At the end of this session, you make your short, 3-4 item to-do list for the day, because, hopefully, you are in the presence of God and he's guiding your thoughts.
- Keeping your To-Do list short goes along well with this post from Jennifer Fulwiler. Take a hard look at the daily schedule of the Missionaries of Charity and see how much time they give themselves for the ordinary events of the day! Life is always much more peaceful when we allow ourselves ample time to eat and clean up. If we don't allot enough time, either we don't do it, or we do it ourselves because it's faster, when it is a perfect opportunity to do it slowly, with the children, teaching and talking as we go.
- Eat a Saint Diet. Jen talks about that (and scheduling!) here. Y'all, can I just tell you how much calmer, more peaceful, and, yes, happier I am since I cut everything out of my diet? (Scroll down to Physical goals for the year.) Oh, and that list doesn't even include dairy which is gone now, too. Now, if I could just get rid of PMS.....
There it is, folks. My short list of helpful tips so that we may all grow in holiness. I don't do any of these things all the time, but I keep trying, and that's the goal: to get up and start again each day. Better yet, just like when you've blown your diet, you shouldn't wait for tomorrow or Monday to try again, start again NOW.
Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Jesus, I trust in You.