So, for us Catholics, Lent begins today, and we are encouraged to give up (or take on) something to help make us better people. Some stick to the old give-up-potato-chips standby (I mean, if Jesus ate nothing for 40 days, surely we can go without chips?) but now we are being encouraged to think a little more broadly about what we could perhaps start doing that would be more valuable (although let’s be honest, no one will be hurt by the giving up of chips. Except maybe the Pringles company.)
I’ve been on a mission to find something meaningful to do this year…give up swearing again? Not really a big problem of mine, so might not be the most worthwhile option. Do volunteer work? When?
My problem was solved when I read Catherine Newman’s great article on multitasking in the March issue of Ladies’ Home Journal called “Life Is Good…Don’t Miss It”. Like many moms, I consider myself a multitasker, but the article posed some great questions about why we’re devaluing our daily activities, and what exactly we’re rushing ahead towards. The lightbulb went off, and my challenge for myself (and all of you) was born:
For the next 40 days (well, more than 40 because Sundays don’t count in Lent…long story…) can you give each person in your household five undivided minutes, every day? This might mean listening to your partner tell you about his day (really listening, not mentally accessorizing your outfit for tomorrow while pretending to listen) or being fully present for the bedtime story instead of functioning on autopilot.
Now, perhaps you people are way better than me and this is the norm for you, but I have been guilty of reading the paper while “playing” Candyland, or checking email while “watching” a performance, and although I can’t promise to give any of that up completely, I vow to give more quality attention to my family. Of course, in terms of time-sharing, I’m at an advantage since I only have two kids…which of course, makes me a bad Catholic to start with, but that’s an entirely different story.
I was once offered advice about getting through that after-work-trying-to-start-supper witching hour. If you’re like me, you want to read the mail, change in to track pants, and get something ready to eat, in no particular order. The kids aren’t quite on board with my schedule, and I have learned that investing even five uninterrupted minutes with them as soon as we get home will pay dividends, and allow me enough time to complete my other essential tasks in peace. Despite this, I often still plow ahead and try to get my own things done, so this goal will help me to put forth a much better effort during what is, for me, the most stressful time of the day.
Five minutes each might not seem like a lot, but it’s a start. Depending how things go, I might even up my time requirement.
So, what do you think? Are you with me? Leave a comment and let me know if you’re willing to take this on, or if you have another goal in mind for yourself. I appreciate feedback, and I really do love reading your comments. Hey, maybe that’s what you could do for Lent! Check this blog and leave a comment each and every day! At least you’d be making “This Mom” happy!