Sometime in my previous lifetime, as in before I became mother of a bakersdozen, I read and fell in love with A Mother’s Rule of Life. It was like rediscovering my vocation as a mother – God’s chosen calling for me. It was very similar to the teaching of St. Jose Marie Escriva about mothers; that a mother should only be leaving the home when, and if, what she is doing outside the home improves her family’s life.
At first that seems terribly confining but if one takes the time to meditate on what exactly he is saying and what Holly Pierlot is saying you realize they are both telling us that our vocation as mothers must be the primary focus of our lives. Does that mean we should never leave the home for a coffee date with a friend? Does it mean we should never take time to wander, alone, through the local Art Museum or perhaps maybe it means to train for a marathon is not appropriate for a mother…
No! Rather – it means we should always be asking why am I doing this? Why am I training for a marathon? Is it for fame and glory and self gratification – if so, then we should rethink this. However being in good physical shape is a good thing and if this is the motivation for running a marathon then we are making a good choice. So is taking time out of the day for yourself to recharge… whether it is in the form of having a coffee out with a good friend, or reading a few pages out of good book with a cup of our favorite tea during the children’s quiet time.
All of those activities would come under the second p for Person from the five P’s that Holly reveals in her book. In other words – caring for yourself. Holly teaches us that by taking care of the five p’s in your life – you can live out your vacation to its fullest. But miss even one and life falls apart.
What are those five p’s?
Prayer: Building our relationship with God is first because as Jesus said “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Mathew 7 26-30) If we do not first build a relationship with God – we have no foundation for the rest of our life.
Person: This involves the taking care of ourselves through prayer, exercise, healthy eating and a little time alone spent in renewing our spirit and mental health.
Partner: Taking care of our partner and helping him do all of the above listed in Person. This does not mean by nagging but rather by leading through example and making time for them and ensuring they know they are second in our life – right after God… So when you develop a schedule or routine for yourself to follow: pencil in date nights, conversation time and prayer time with your spouse.
Parent: When we focus on this p – we focus on balancing our chores and other needs that come with running a home with the needs of the children. We learn how to blend their needs in with ours by making sure we have one on one time with them as well involving them in the running of the home – where this is realistic age wise. Most importantly we must include them in our prayer life and make sure they are well founded in their faith.
Provider: Whether we are contributing extra dollars to our family’s coffers through employment or not – we can add significantly to the our family’s financial well being by making sure that the finances are under control, whether this is done by our spouse or ourself. We must stay within our budget as planned with our spouse and always be asking if something we want is a actually a need or a want… and make budget decisions accordingly. Financial stress is listed, by many resources, as the number one cause for divorce…
So how does that all blend into something called a Mother’s Rule of Life? Well, to get the full answer to that I would suggest one reads Holly’s book and possibly also buy its companion workbook (a project I helped her get online) but in a nutshell it means developing a routine that envelopes all of these areas in one’s life. It means learning to ask “Why am I doing …. and is it contributing in some way to one of the five P’s.” It means watching for an imbalance that can creep in. Possibly we are taking too much time to ourselves. Years ago we caught our family in the habit turning on the tv an hour or so before our favorite program to make sure that we did not miss the beginning and then lazily leaving it on afterwards and watching whatever followed just because it was easier than turning the tv off. Too much time was on the second P and not even healthy Person time. Prayer time with the children was suffering. Conversation with my spouse was lagging in priority. A shift in balance was required and ultimately my husband and I decided to get rid of cable TV.
I have come to the conclusion that, once more, a shift in the balance in my life is needed and this realization came about recently when talking to a fellow blogger about a talk by Gayle Fedele about finding God even in the small things we do in life. While I enjoyed our conversation, inwardly I squirmed because I knew my life today would not pass inspection while reviewing the five Ps. Writing this post is my first step in correcting this. Next I will begin to develop a routine (or rule if you prefer) that will reflect all five Ps and bring them back into balance once more and hopefully, stay in balance this time. I will be creating a page for this “rule” on this blog where I can look at it whenever I am online and print it off whenever needed. Hopefully it might even inspire others to create their rule.