Those of you who read this blog regularly know that the demands of family life are a constant source of tension in our household (see Friday's post for but the most recent example), which often doesn't look as cheery as this photo might suggest. You also know that I want to follow God in and know God's presence in our home in the midst of dirty diapers and to-do lists. I have a new post on Huffington Post Parents (adapted from my ebook, Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious). It begins:
My days start early. I usually roll over to see our three-year-old son William standing next to our bed, and I feel lucky when the clock behind him reads 6:00. If we send him back to his room, he is prone to awaken his older sister, so I try to convince him to do puzzles in the playroom by himself. He says, "But Mom, then I will be lonely." A few minutes later I hear Marilee, ten-months old, rustling and fussing from her crib down the hall. I'm up. And we're moving.
Bottles and breakfast and dishes. Black tea for me and coffee for Peter. Shower and pack lunches for school and get everyone dressed. Most mornings our babysitter arrives to help with the final moments of preparation – brush teeth and comb hair and find backpacks and get out the door. Drop off with hugs and kisses. Three hours into my day, and the sink is filled with half-rinsed dishes, the counters strewn with Penny and William's attempts to clear their plates, the floor littered with Marilee's toys. And even with a babysitter who helps keep it all in order, the relentless demands of family life still threaten to overwhelm us all.
I long for stillness, for space, for contemplation and rest. I long for a sense of meaning and purpose to undergird the tedium of housekeeping and the demands of caring for small children. But I ignore or deny those longings because to pay attention seems impractical, indulgent, and nearly impossible. The list of things to do is too long already. And time for prayer or long walks in the woods would require less sleep or a less chaotic household or leaving too many things undone. Where would I find the time? And how would I justify it? There are toys to pick up, for heaven's sake.
I'd love for you to keep reading over at Huff Po and add your comments to the mix!