I fully embrace this advice from G. K. Chesterton and apply it to all of my mothering hopes and aspirations. I think of my not-so-clean house, my too-busy schedule, my not-so-tidy-no-matching-socks kids, and my not-so-healthy-instant-prepped dinners. Even those more important matters — like my children’s education, health, and faith, often fall under this premise. I can’t manage to read aloud to my children every day, or keep them from all sugars and preservatives. Even the task of praying with the children sometimes gets pushed aside as bedtime is just a quick “good night” and speedy tuck-in.
I think I’m not alone with most mothers out there. So much of what we know we need to do with our families is “worth doing” — yet we struggle and often just manage to do it poorly. But of course, we know that that is better than not doing it at all. And Zig Ziglar says, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly … until we learn to do it better.”
Or, as I have resorted to saying, “Anything mothering task worth doing is worth doing poorly … until we learn to do it better … or until the children have moved out.”
For me, perhaps the best example of doing something poorly — but at the same time knowing how worthy it is, is doing those Liturgical Year Activities.
I can hear some of you groaning about this, but some of you, I imagine, are nodding your heads. Yes, these are difficult to manage, but still seem so “worthy.” What can a busy mom do? Here’s some simple advice:
- Remember that they are worth doing “poorly.” Do your best. Give some a try. If you can’t get to it, fine, try another time. Don’t beat yourself up. Most importantly, don’t give up. Be happy with your “poor” attempt. This is what God the Father appreciates and will bless.
- Get some of these Feast Days and Holy Days on your electronic calendar. If you mark them as an occurring event, every year on this date, you will only have to do this once. This way, you will see what Feast Day is coming as you are planning your other activities for the week. We already do this for Valentine’s Day and even St. Patrick’s Day, so why not for St. Joseph’s Day or St. Francis? Pick just 3 or 4 to do a month. Some of these days should also include the Marian Feast Days as well: the Annunciation, for example. Knowing what and when the days are is half the battle here. If you can’t do anything to commemorate that day, no problem, just say a prayer to that saint every time you are looking at your calendar that day. This may seem like “poorly” done to you, but in fact, remembering that saint and praying to that saint is probably one of the best things you can do.
- Get the liturgical seasons right. This can be something as simple as putting out an Advent wreath during Advent. During Lent, leave a coffee table or side table in a room relatively bare, except something that might indicate Lent for you — for example, a purple cloth, a bare branch, a candle, some prayer books, and/or a rosary. For Easter, in contrast, have lots of flowers and plants. It can be done late or after the season has started — haven’t done anything like this for Lent? That’s OK. Set up something now.
- Finally, see if you can put a child in charge. With most of my motherhood surrounded by boys (8 of them) — this idea hasn’t happen like I had envisioned, but now, with a seven-year-old girl, things are looking up. She is willing and anxious to get our Lent decorations out and color a picture of the Annunciation for our dinner table. If I play my cards right, she may take over for me for the next decade or so …
So, MOMS DOING POORLY, let’s unite! (Especially with this Liturgical Year stuff.) WE can do it!
In fact, I am just getting my Lent stuff out this weekend. For me that means I set up a Lent table and this so so easy Lent poster that you can print out for free. (Yes, it’s that simple, just print it out and put it on your refrigerator. Put a child in charge of coloring a block each day. At the least, every time someone comes to the refrigerator, which is a million times a day in our house, they will be reminded of Lent and hopefully raise their minds and hearts to Jesus.)
Copyright 2019 Tami Kiser