Thriving at Home: Be Present // Part 1 of 5
A five-part series about thriving at home, specifically as stay-at-home moms, but still applicable to all sorts of mama-situations. This is encouragement to flourish at home, not just make-it-through and survive. By God’s grace, you can thrive at home, mama bear!
A few weeks ago, Bryce took over shuttling the kids around for the day (a doctor appointment in the morning and piano lessons in the afternoon), and I was able to just be at home. I schooled the kids, put dinner in the crock-pot, cleaned the upstairs, lit a candle for fun and folded laundry. In the afternoon, I actually sat down for 30 minutes to sip on a coffee and read a book. As I looked around my (just for a second) peaceful and calm home, it occurred to me that I don’t do this enough: just be present at home.
I don’t know about you, but our weeks are packed full with wonderful and necessary things: church on Sunday and Bible study and lessons and doctor appointments and case worker visits and church life group and practices and meetings and coffee dates and play dates. It’s exhaustingly good, but I begin to feel like a sentinel standing guard over our family schedule: no, not one more thing this week! Why the pull to go, go, go? Sometimes I feel like maybe I’m running away from home; do you do that too? Perhaps running from responsibilities or ever-present little people or the mundaneness of it all? Yet, if I say “no” to one more thing and choose to press through the urge to escape and stay instead, then that’s when the true harvest of thriving at home really comes. I’m always surprised by how refreshing just staying home all day truly is. The kids love it and my soul loves it. That peaceful afternoon was a good reminder not to be afraid to just be present at home.
Don’t you think it’s true that spending quality time somewhere and putting down roots allows one to really begin to enjoy being there? Presence precipitates enjoyment. As a stay-at-home mom, it is hard to thrive at home if I am never at home. It’s almost impossible to foster a peaceful and welcoming environment if I am hardly ever home to cultivate such an atmosphere. Rushing to the next thing leads to a rising stress level, which seems to directly correlate to decreasing enjoyment of my home (too much laundry! too much stuff cluttering the house! too much grime in the kitchen! too many kids running around!). The wife & mother’s presence–whether peaceful or panicked–sets the tone, don’t you think? When I choose to be present at home long enough to take a deep breath, to catch up on laundry (until tomorrow, that is), to cook a nice dinner and to sit down with the kids for a game of Uno . . . that’s when the thriving comes.
This isn’t to say we need to become hermits or forsake all activities outside of the home, but this is our encouragement not to run away or to over-schedule. Let’s allow ourselves time just to sit and savor moments in our homes. Create space to be present. Enjoy that couch with the pretty new spring pillow. Sprawl out on the rug with the kids and listen to music. Sit at the kitchen table with a coffee and little ones coloring nearby. All of these full-of-presence moments build a deep sense of thriving. And that thriving is meant to be shared hospitably! We need our presence at home in order to be able to invite others in. Let’s invite our children to be present with us, our husbands, our community. It’s a joy to welcome friends and neighbors into our home: to share a cup of tea and a word of encouragement. Being present just means being at home long enough myself to have the time and mental margin to invite others to join.
Stand guard over your schedule to protect your presence in your home. Beware of running away–press in to be present instead. Find opportunities to sit and savor. Welcome others in.
And by God’s grace, you can thrive, at home.