Life has been rather chaotic around here lately. I would love to say that things are smooth and I have adjusted to life with five children, but the reality is that life with a newborn is rarely ever smooth! There are constant bumps in the road, and every time you start to get into a groove, something major changes and you have to readjust all over again!
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, with the holiday season upon us in full-force. With everything that has happened in our life in the past 6 months, I have had a tendency to allow the busyness to derail us from truly living. At the same time, I have had an almost panic desperation about cherishing every moment, knowing how fast this stage of life will be all over.
I need to find a way to cherish all the important moments, but also keep the laundry and dishes clean – know what I mean? The mundane and the priceless collide everyday in these parts, and I feel a bit lost as to making the most of it all.
The other day I was remembering reading about the value of “anchor points” – places in your day, week, month, and year that “anchor” your family. Essentially, the idea is that no matter how crazy your day, week, or month becomes, if you stick to your anchor points, it will bring rhythm to your days and help calm the chaos.
So I’ve been thinking about what these “anchor points” are in our family, and I thought I’d write them down here – share them with you – and maybe it will help you in your journey of mothering!
Daily Anchor Points
1. Breakfast Devotions: I lead a short devotional every morning as we eat breakfast together. This usually centers around character development, and right now we are going through “Our 24 Family Ways: Family Devotional Guide,” by Clay Clarkson.
2. School Time: I’m working to make school time a more anchoring time for us, and not a point of struggle. I am trying to achieve this by focusing on connecting with my kids instead of focusing on educating. Relationship is primary, education is secondary. 🙂
3. Tea Time: My kids are so much like me in that they can’t get enough quality time. I also have a love affair with good tea and coffee! I enjoy my morning cup solo, but in the afternoon, we are working on establishing a “tea time” together while the younger two nap. They LOVE it, and it helps everyone stay in good spirits, which of course helps school go well too!
4. Daddy’s Return Home & Dinner: I’m working on also remembering a daily clean-up time right before Mark gets home so that the house is inviting and all put together before dinner. I try to play fun music to help motivate them, but sometimes this is still a challenge! Still working on it though.
5. Bedtime: We are pretty involved in bedtime. For the 3 older kids, bedtime includes lullabies (really worship songs) and backrubs with a “lullaby rub” I made with coconut oil and a blend of Young Living Essential Oils. It smells amazing and knocks my kiddos out. 😉 The younger two both nurse and rock. I usually lay my toddler-girl down and hold her hand while she falls asleep, and I rock my baby to sleep and transition him to the co-sleeper.
I also have my own “anchor points” in the day that are strictly for me – my morning quiet time (which has been rough-going lately due to way too many nights of teething and little sleep) and my evening time. After the kids go to bed, I try to get some reading in, enjoy a cup of tea with my hubby, and maybe get a fix of Downton Abbey or another show we’re currently addicted to. 😉
Weekly Anchor Points
1. The Sabbath: The Sabbath is by far, the most powerful anchor point our family has. Given to us by God, the Sabbath offers a reprieve from the world’s demands and influence – a day to rest our bodies and invigorate our souls. We keep a Biblical seventh-day Sabbath in the traditional way, from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, but the principle of resting applies if you rest on a Sunday too. God gave us the Sabbath because He in His divine wisdom knew that we needed that day to rest and focus ourselves back on Him.
Practically speaking, for our family this means we only do work that is necessary for our family to function in peace (I have to still feed my family, make sure we have washed dishes, strip peed in beds, etc.). We keep the TV and computer off as much as possible (although we still stream live feed from our Seattle congregation). We enjoy relaxing pursuits such as drawing (kids), crochet (me), playing music, or playing games together. And most importantly, we worship together as a family and study the Word together, as a family and with other believers.
2. Wednesday nights: Wednesday nights are an anchor point, mostly for me. Every other Wednesday we alternate between our date night, and my ladies’ Bible study. So I know that Wednesday nights are always a night for me to be refreshed – a very important thing for a busy mama!
3. Sunday morning church: We’ve recently begun attending church on Sunday mornings again. We’ve found a community where we can serve and grow, and are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us there. After church we resume our normal Sunday to-do’s and such, but Sunday mornings are now another anchor point.
Annual Anchor Points
1. Holidays: Keeping the Biblical holidays has always given our family a full calendar of anchor points throughout the year, but I will admit that there have been many times that a holiday has passed us by without getting the full weight that it deserves. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to bring more meaning and memory into our holiday celebrations. I am working on a family devotional for the Biblical holidays from a Christian/Messianic perspective that I hope to share with you all as I complete it. I’ve also been taking advantage of Pinterest to find ideas that we can use (sometimes changing slightly) to add to our celebrations.
2. Seasons: I really want to do more to embrace the seasons that God has given us. I’d like to work to develop seasonal traditions, learning to appreciate the year in a more cyclical way. I’m thinking I’m going to get this book: The Rhythm of Family for some inspiration in this area.
3. Birthdays: Having a family of 7 people, we celebrate a lot of birthdays around here! All of our birthdays fit almost exactly into 6 months of the year, and I have been thinking about also doing little celebration for the 1/2 birthdays during the other 6 months. I have heard some really neat ways to do this, and I really love the idea of honoring my kids individually again during the year. We are also working on developing more birthday traditions as the kids get older, but right now we keep it simple with the birthday child choosing the 3 meals of the day, and cake/presents after dinner. We also take off of school for birthdays. 🙂
So, what about you? Have you ever thought about establishing “anchor points” in your family’s life? What anchor points to you already enjoy?