Last month in Dallas during the boot camp, many wives attended the Wives’ Track hosted by Acts 29 church planter’s wives. We recently posted audio from Part 1 of their Q&A time here. Below we’re including portions of the transcriptions from Part 1.
“Read Your Bible On Your Phone When You’re Up Nursing Again at 3 A.M.”
Q: What advice do you have for young moms with small children to structure the home and schedule well?
Lauren: I’m not a naturally scheduled person. I definitely thrive when I have a schedule, but just the idea of having to set one up kind of overwhelms me. We started Audrey at a university-model school where she goes to class for several hours twice a week. Then I home school her on our off days. That has really helped me be scheduled, because I am held accountable by this teacher to get this certain amount of work done. When Audrey gets home from school, I’m forced to be structured and to say, “you do your worksheets and then you can go play.” I still haven’t figured out chores yet, the kids are five, eight and eleven – we’re kind of at “pick your room up.” I have to be scheduled because I know there are things that if I don’t get them done then I’m going to be overwhelmed: there’s going to be a mountain of laundry, a mountain of school work, etc. So if I just take a little bit of time each day to do it, then I’m not overwhelmed. But hold your schedule with an open hand. It’s going to look different on different weeks. You’re going to have different things going on, so get the stuff done that’s important, and then all the other stuff you’ll eventually get to.
Stephanie: My kids are young too, but getting older. I have a whiteboard in my house, so when my older kids are at school, I’ll think, “Oh I want Aidan to empty his trash because that’s disgusting.” So I’ll write it there, and that way I don’t overwhelm my children when they come home. Especially when I know Annabelle has homework on these days and Reagan, my oldest, has more homework. If they need to practice piano, then I’ll make sure it’s ?piano for you,’ ?homework for you,’ and ?you don’t have homework, so it’s empty your trash and put away your laundry.’” That way I don’t overwhelm my children. As I think about it throughout the day I can just write it on my white board and my children are trained. They walk in, they get their snack, they know that they have until 4 p.m. to unwind and then, usually my oldest will say, “it’s four o’clock!” They’ll go and start working through the list. They love to mark off, and they know in order to mark off they have to do first. That’s been remarkable. It works in our house very well.
Q: With young children in the home, how do you maintain your relationship with the Lord?
Lauren: I guess in the infant stage, you just take whatever you can get. Even if you’re nursing or if you’re feeding your baby in the middle of the night, getting your phone out and reading the Bible, reading an en- couraging blog, one that’s going to point you to the Lord or whatever. I would say don’t waste that time. The iPhone is great because then you don’t have to turn a light on. Take the sweet lullaby time and sing praise songs over your babies. Getting time with the Lord doesn’t have to look a certain way: you don’t have to sit down at your dining table and pull out your Tozer. Just grabbing any moment you can, or even taking one Scripture verse, especially in those times when your brain is so fried, and just having one verse that you just go to over and over again. I did that with Nora. And as they get older, Matt and I are loving this new rhythm we’ve gotten into where Nora’s in bed at seven-thirty and the other two are in bed at eight, and we go to bed at nine or nine-thirty. We feel like old people, but then we get to wake up in the morning before the kids are up and begging for us and we get to spend our time there to- gether and I get to ask him questions like, “I’m reading this, what does this mean?” So I think just for me with Audrey she’s at that age where she’ll go to bed at seven-thirty. I used to stay up really late and then I just wasn’t ready to be a mom in the morning because I was toast. Audrey was getting up at six in the morning and I just wasn’t ready to be mom, so I’d have a crappy attitude for the rest of the day. I needed to just go to bed and take advantage of just being recharged.
“I think I had a selfish mindset about my time. Yes, you need your own time, but it’s like ?what are you really doing?’ Because for me, I was on Facebook and I was watching TV.”
So I feel like I wasted a lot of that time when I could have been better prepared for the next morning. But if you waste it, the Lord is still good and you haven’t failed as a mom or as a wife. There is grace there so don’t let that be a discouragement to you, either.
Stephanie: I think you have to be creative when your children are young. It’s not always going to be structured. Like you were saying, when you’re nursing, don’t waste that time. I spend a lot of time in the carpool lane. I’ve been redeeming it (most of the time!) with the Word. When I do the dishes, I’m finding joy in that. Because I used to kind of think, ”I hate doing this,” but it’s just a great time to rejoice and thank the Lord for toilets that are dirty, that I have a home to clean. When I read through Feminine Appeal, I was really challenged in that area of just finding joy in those tasks. When my spirit wants to grumble, that’s a good time to worship.
Listen here or download the Q&A. More will be posted soon from the Wives’ Track at the Dallas Boot Camp.
- For more content from Acts 29 wives, look here.
- Read also “How to Handle Weekends as a Church Planting Family“