For all you moms who wish your kiddos would never grow up—don’t. See that mountain of diapers and sippy cups you’ve been climbing since your first precious babe was born? Good news! A reward awaits you on the other side. It’s called leisure time.
What?! I know, I know. I’d almost forgotten what those words meant, too. But ladies, I’ve seen it. I’ve touched it. I’ve TASTED it—and it’s gooooood. Here’s how to get it:
Work yourself out of a job.
Picture this, for example. Last week I trudged my girls outside so I could shovel the driveway. I expected them to flop in the yard and make snow angels, but instead they each grabbed a shovel. So I humored them and rattled off some instructions on how to push snow around, then threw my own weight into the chore. After a few minutes I turned around and discovered my six-year-old had cleared half the driveway. Even her three-year-old sister helped toss a few yards of snow off the porch. Glory be, those kids cut my shoveling time in two. I adore them.
And—get this—a couple weekends ago I rearranged the cupboards so that our cereal boxes and Goldfish bags sit on the lowest shelf, within reach of short arms. Now my first-grader pours her own breakfast before school and I get an extra five minutes to fix my hair. Duh, right? Simple yet quite ridiculously brilliant. Why didn’t I think of this a year ago?
When my kids ask to help, I don’t just say ok sure fine—I actually train them to take over the task. My three-year-old folds towels. My six-year-old mixes pancake batter. Both girls insist they can sweep the floor better than I can, and do you think I’m going to argue? Heck no. Because while my munchkins are juggling the broom and dustpan, I’m supervising from a seat at the kitchen table with a tea mug in one hand and a book in the other.
Is that lazy?
Not at all.
It’s the greater purpose of parenting.
“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick,” (Luke 9:1–2).
Consider this. Jesus’ ministry expanded when he trained up his disciples to share in the work God sent him to do. I find it interesting that he chose flawed and ordinary people to perform miracles and preach the good news. I mean, Jesus was God. He was perfectly capable of doing it all himself—and doing it better.
Yet Jesus was not a micromanager. He empowered the people beneath him to be like him, for the benefit of generations to come.
Do you see the parallel? In my children’s eyes, Mom is all-powerful, too. I’m the lady who knows how to cook and clean and spell and drive. They admire me. They want to be like me.
So I attempt to do what Jesus did. I teach them. I show them how to carry out the work God designed for our family. Then my children are enriched, our legacy grows, and—bonus—we accomplish more in less time.
Which means we gain a little extra space for the fun stuff.
Oh, I understand the temptation to wish those little people would stay small forever. I’ve felt the heart pangs of watching a baby face transform into a toothless school girl. We moms fear we’ll blink and that school girl will be packing her bags for college.
But on the other hand, once our kids are old enough to dry dishes and butter toast and mow the lawn, they’re also old enough to play Monopoly, watch Disney flicks, or swing golf clubs with Mom and Dad. Family time becomes leisure time. That’s well worth sacrificing the smell of baby lotion and Gerber puffs, don’t you agree?
Now if I could just train my girls to shovel the entire driveway, I’d have it made. Ah, all in good time. Until then, I’m determined to enjoy each stage as it comes—not pining for what lies behind, not wishing ahead. Just doing the job God gave me, day by day, task by task, and loving my kids more with each loose tooth and new vocabulary word.
Will you join me?
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