Have you ever been in this position and if so, could you tell me how you got past it and to where you are now, with all the pretty finishing touches?
A: I've been thinking about this comment for a while. The last thing I want to do is burden another mother with unrealistic expectations. I can only speak from my experience--as a mom of 2, who sometimes has her act together, sometimes not.
Believe me, there are days when peanut butter sandwiches are the only item on my menu! Still, my season with young children is passing so quickly. I want to make a lasting impression of beauty while the little ones are soaking in the details.
- It doesn't take any longer to wash a pretty plate than an ugly one. Obviously, pots + serving pieces fill up a sink faster than pots alone. Keep your eyes open for some pretty oven-to-table casseroles or eye-pleasing glasses.
- The more often you make an effort, the easier it gets. Set aside one meal a week for practice. If Sundays are hectic, try a day when you feel most relaxed. Dress the table in the morning, not when the pasta's boiling over on the stove.
- Your children are NOT too young to help. I let my 5-year-old set the table from plates to napkins and ooh over his interesting color combinations. Children take pride in handling delicate objects.
- Shop as circumstances permit. I never get to shop alone, but I still stumble upon great finds. Andrew has a change envelope for yard sales. He learns to handle money while I find what we need. I "bargain hunt" two hours a week, tops.
- Make those finishing touches...whether it's a baking masterpiece, a "weed bouquet" or a new painting for the wall. You can occupy the children at the same time.
- Creativity begets energy. I work faster and harder when I can tune into this inner rhythm. Psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls this phenomenon "flow."
Anonymous, we all have different talents. There is beauty in a neatly folded stack of towels, a hot supper, a freshly scrubbed little face. Keep up the essentials, but keep open to creative opportunities that work within your day. I pray that they will refresh your spirit as much as they do mine.