Wednesday, April 07, 2010

little house on the busy suburban street.

When I started having children, the Little House on the Prairie life was appealing. I mean, we lived on a dairy farm with 50 holsteins and a maple syrup operation. At age 16 my father decided to move from suburban New Jersey and plop us all on a farm. I say "plop" because I hated it. In a few short months I acclimated well (out of necessity - being the sink or swim kinda gal I am!) and at age 20 I married someone I swore I would never marry: a farmer.

Kids and farms go together. I feel very fortunate to have been able to raise my kids here. Yet, in my desire to live a simple life without many distractions and with a "live off the land" kind of thinking, I could have found my fulfillment in a lifestyle.

I had a garden and I canned and I hung my cloth diapers outside and I did a lot of things that made me feel pioneer-ish. None of that is wrong but if we're not careful we can make our lifestyle a kind of idol if you know what I mean. In other words, I had adjusted quite nicely with my little brood under my watchful eye. It was very fulfilling to see them come in from being outside playing or working with Dad and to have them sit down to a home-cooked meal with pickles I canned and home-made bread. But what if that is not your life?

Let me get this straight. I am not saying your lifestyle cannot be fulfilling. I am saying that trying hard at creating something may be worth not over-analyzing ... but perhaps a second look.

I think somehow I thought it was more Godly to do all those things I was doing.

There is a desire for us to return to tried and true methods. This is good. Yet, the return should always be what the roles are in a family. Respect, honor, integrity, responsibility, kindness... all kinds of good stuff. Maybe God doesn't care if you make your own bread. I mean, if trying to fit that in makes you an irritable mom then it isn't worth it. 

No matter who you are or where you live, your family will not look like someone else's. More importantly, you as a mom won't look like another mom. Don't compare. And don't assume that others are judging you. Both are a complete waste of time because it is very likely that neither is happening!

Just get on with it and be who you were meant to be so your kids will be who they were meant to be.


Tami said...

Your lifestyle sounds like one I would love to live. I try to do the best I can for my kids to give them values that they will hold close when they grow up and move forward.

I want to teach them that making things from scratch is rewarding. Composting helps not only the earth but your garden.

Wasting nothing (like turkey bones after eating the yumminess after Thanksgiving) and holding close to those things that are near and dear to them.

kathleen said...

Hi Tami,

Thanks for your thoughts about teaching your kids about valuing and not wasting. I find that a challenge around here. Everything is so accessible these days...they have so much.


Jacqs said...

Thank you for sharing this ... I try, I have ideals, I lose sight of what's really important while trying to do things that I think matter ... so thank you for this reminder. My identity needs to be in HIM and not in my lifestyle or personality type!

kathleen said...

Jacqs, sometimes I think we are harder on ourselves than God is...

When we grow in confidence of how God really feels and thinks about us, we will naturally let it flow to our kids and others.

I think some of our "problems" in life are simply that we don't enjoy ourselves. God does! And when we realize that we live life with more abandonment.