For now, I’m just making a list of what I’m doing to make sure I keep my priorities straight.
Priority # 1: God.
If I’m not paying attention to my relationship with my Savior, everything else seems to fall apart---so my biggest two actions to make sure I’m staying in touch are:
Reading my scriptures BEFORE I get out of bed. My phone is my alarm clock in the mornings and I have the Old and New Testaments as well as The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price on the phone as well, so it’s super easy to pick it up and read after I’ve turned the alarm off. I can just flick through, find wherever it was I left off the last time, and keep reading. Even if I only read a verse a day, I feel I’ve accomplished something. I have more energy during the day and I am more patient and optimistic.
Morning prayers. I’m pretty good about remembering to get on my knees before bed and offer a prayer, but I’m not so good about starting the day with prayer—but I’ve found that when I do, my days go better. I’m more patient, I have more energy. Huh. That sounds like what happens when I read my scriptures…and I’m all for a double dose of patience and energy!
Priority # 2: Husband.
Right now, I think the best thing I can do to nurture my husband is to go to bed at the same time my he does. It’s a simple thing, really, but it’s one way to avoid living completely separate lives—and going to bed at the same time gives us a great chance to wind down together, talk, or…well, do other stuff….
Also, taking ten minutes to tidy up the house before Julio gets home, and making sure dinner is ready to eat when he walks in is a good thing for my marriage. I recently implemented a ten minute cleaning blitz about half an hour before I expect Julio home. It’s pretty simple, and so basic, I wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner. A tidy house makes for happy people—and who doesn’t love to come home to a neat space? It sets a good tone for the evening.
Meal planning—or at least dinner planning is a good thing too. It takes the stress out of trying to figure out what we’re going to eat and gives me a chance to plan for the evenings when we’ll be gone all day (crock pot!) or gone in the evenings (picnic style!) Julio always comes home hungry, so having dinner ready to go as soon as he walks in makes for a smooth transition from work to home! Last Sunday evening, I sat down with Ellen (who was in charge of kitchen chores for the week) and we planned dinners together. She wrote down our menu for the week and posted it on the fridge. It was wonderful. Everyone knew what to expect, and I had a visual reminder about what I’d need to prepare on any given day.
How does cooking and cleaning nurture my marriage? It makes me a nicer person to be around, and frankly, it just makes Julio happy. I like to make him happy.
Priority # 3: Kids.
I need to spend more face time with each of my kids. It’s so easy to treat them as a herd. It’s easy to ignore them or push them away with schoolwork or chores or TV and computer time. We’re in the car a lot and it’s easy to tune them out via the radio or an audio book or CD. I need to be more intentional in my time with my kids. They love to be read to—even the big kids. We need to sing together more—doing it in the car would be great---but of course, I’ll have to start with goofy kid songs to ensure participation! I definitely need to hug and cuddle my kids more. I’d like to be the kind of mom that just randomly hugs a kid, but I have to really make an effort to remember to do that. And when I tell myself “I need to give each kid five hugs today” it gets done. If I don’t tell myself things like that, it’s easy for me to go all day without really connecting physically—and kids NEED that. My kids love it when I hug them, and they behave better and act happier when I “randomly” grab one of them and hug them and say, “You know, I think you’re a great kid and I’m glad you’re mine.” I mean it when I say it, too—even if only ten minutes ago I was harping on someone to get their room clean or quit dawdling over the math assignment.