mothers-rule-of-life

Welcome to the first week of the Mother’s Rule of Life online book study!  For this week, you will need to read Chapters 1 & 2 – I Reach the Breaking Point and A Rule of Life, respectively.

There were several things about these chapters that stood out in my mind.  The first was that I have no business feeling as stressed as her (or some of you) with my well-behaved two year old girl.  Some of you women amaze me and all I can think is that God truly provides the grace that you need when you need it and not until!

The second thing hits me EVERY TIME I read this book:

Jesus was perfectly willing to bless my efforts, but first he had to have efforts to bless!

She also makes the point that you have to apply all of yourself to the task.  If you vocation is marriage, motherhood, and being a homemaker, it’s still a job!   You have to look at it as you would if you were an employee working for pay except that your pay is the heavenly kingdom of God.  You have to give all 5 loaves and BOTH fish (Matthew 14:14-21)!  In just the short time that I had realigned my priorities in December, I still got to blog.  I even got these posts written, but my child got to play and read, we had family time and the kitchen was clean and everyone had clean undies, too.  I call that success!

I also found it interesting to think of a rule of life being essential responsibilities and that you should start with your principles & spiritual goals–I always tended to start with my essential cleaning lists that CAME FROM SOMEONE ELSE.  I also created lists of things I WANT to do, not necessarily things I HAVE to do.  It’s been refreshing to come up with a list starting with what is REALLY necessary and starting with first things first:  prayer, person, partner, parent, provider.

For Discussion:

Obviously, you have something you want to learn or change or you wouldn’t be doing this study with me.  What do you hope to change in the course of these next two months?   Is there an area of your life that seems to take on a life of it’s own that you are struggling with?   Is there anything in these first two chapters that seemed to strike you where you stood?

Go ahead and share your answers in the comments, or post a link to your blog post in the comments.

If you are using the workbook, work on the first section: Assessing Where Your Time Goes.   Also, for next week, grab a binder if you don’t already have a household notebook/control journal set up.  If you do have one, we’ll be adding to it/changing it.  If you don’t, we’ll start from scratch :).

Next week, we’ll be discussing the first P: Prayer.

23 Comments on MROL Book Study- Week 1

  1. Michelle
    11 January 2010 at 1:59 PM (7 years ago)

    My life is way out of balance. My time on the internet, reading and watching movies is definitely excessive. I find the days long because I am home full-time with my one daughter and my husband is very good at sharing in the cooking/cleaning duties. Our little apartment is rarely messy and the chores seem to almost take care of themselves. I know this sounds ideal, but the truth is it makes me lazy. I don’t take the time to organize fun/educational activities for our daughter and I don’t make time for prayer and exercise. I definitely need more balance!

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    jen Reply:

    I need to take better care of myself, too. I definately don’t make time for prayer & exercise. Maybe I’ll do that right now! I hope this helps get things moving!

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  2. Adrienne
    8 January 2010 at 12:36 PM (7 years ago)

    I have had this book for a few years but, never actually gave it an honest try even though I think it would help immensly. Reading the first chapter was like looking through my kitchen window! I am usually hyper organized and have a reasonably ordered house (2 kids ago), BUT now I have 4 kids (ages 7-1) and we moved 4 months ago and I think it has just about killed me. The house is a disaster and nobody feels any peace. The kids are fighting more and my husband is frustrated. So the biggest issue I need to address is getting this house unpacked, organized and get some kind of a new system of cleaning/scheduling down. So what I hope to change in 2 months is to actually be able to walk without smashing into a box and be able to find things and have a reasonable clean house! Having the kids find their clothes in thier drawers instead of out of the clean laundry basket pile would definately be a bonus! I hope to stop saying “if I could just hire a … (cleaning lady, mother’s helper, laundry fairy, a professional organizer) I too wander around the kitchen muttering these things then get overwhelmed then angry at my hubby cause he should be here to help more. I even wanted to the send the kids away to! If I could just find a dayhome that didn’t cost a fortune and was safe enough to make me feel comfortable I could send the kids away for a week and get it all done. Did Holly crawl into my head or me into hers? The only difference is I have 1 fewer children and I don’t homeschool and my hubby goes out of town periodically. Although I have issues with the school and am stressed about that and find that after school the kids have a lot of work to keep up to where I think they should be. The school has a million papers and requests that come home, the hockey schedule is a nightmare and dance needs to be fit in. I am exhaused and everytime I get started on the house I get so overwhelmed it is paralyzing and then there is no effort for Jesus to bless. I feel like I walk around and around in circles all day accomplishing nothing. I guess that answers what I am struggling with. The most striking thing for me was how Holly’s life is so exactly like mine and that she offers HOPE! I sure do need a healthy dose of hope, a big pot of coffee and grunt force determination. I am joining this study to keep me accountable and make me actually put it into action and give God something to bless.

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    jen Reply:

    Wow! You have a lot going on. I hope this study helps! I look forward to talking to you again! God Bless!!

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  3. allison
    7 January 2010 at 1:43 PM (7 years ago)

    I’m thinking more dedication to prayer–the house and kids are well balanced–partner part good. Maybe need some fine tuning with schedules–but really, my own prayer time is what I neglect most!

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    jen Reply:

    Dedication to prayer is one of mine, too. Thanks for coming; I can’t wait to talk with you more!

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  4. Amanda
    7 January 2010 at 9:19 AM (7 years ago)

    Finally got this book in the mail yesterday and started reading it during my DD’s evening nap so I am a little late for the first week but here is what stood out to me so far.
    I have always had a hard time with structure. I crave it, yet I find that it is a struggle for me to attain any kind of organization. Maybe it is because I grew up in a chaotic house but in any case it is an area of my life I have been fighting with for a long time. I really hope this book study will help me to attain a satisfactory level of order in my home. I, like some others here, also found the part about having efforts to bless to be particularly relevant. I need to not be so lazy and not procrastinate doing things that need to be done (another major area I have always struggled with). I only have one child but this role of stay-at-home-mom is new to me as of a little more than a week ago (thank you God for this blessing!) and I feel like I need to get my ducks in a row in a big way. I also really liked her exploration of what it meant to be perfect in the introduction, I have struggled with this same issue in my faith. I also hope that by instituting this Rule of Life that I can create more harmony in our home and help my family along the path to holiness.

    And thanks again Jen for the lovely notebooks, they are perfect for this! 🙂

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  5. Mary B
    4 January 2010 at 8:19 AM (7 years ago)

    I’ve had and read the book and even started some of the work. However many big parts of our lives have changed and I need some real thought to go into ‘what are my priorities?’
    I have 7 kids, babysit a nephew, homeschool and am a leader in our support group. Before taking on babysitting I had started going back to school and substitute teaching while my husband was out of work. The problem is I REALLY loved being out of the house. Now he is back at work and I need to decide what I really want, what is best for the family and if I can stay home with a thankful heart.

    [Reply]

    jen Reply:

    i can’t imagine being as busy as you, but I feel your pain. I told my husband that education and careers are almost doing a disservice to women/girls because then they (*I*) have more trouble being content with being home and a mom. It really is more important but society and sometimes my WANTS say that other things are important too. It’s hard to do it all! Thanks for coming!

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    Mary B Reply:

    My husband and I used to joke that at 40 we’d switch and he’s stay home. That didn’t quite happen but I did soon after start going back to school. (My first class was a summer night class with my son! So fun) Anyway when he was laid off this summer he was so good at running the house! Organizide, happy, creative cooking and fun stuff with the kids.
    And his new job is OK – but the pay is just so-so. If I’d managed to start at a school full time– even at the bottom of the scale we could have made it.

    Anyway I started rereading the first 2 chapters. I feel like I had been giving God everything (at least before- not lately) and still things got crazy around here. 9 other people are pulling at my world.

    Not to discourage you young moms– just a reminder this Rule is something that takes effort and upkeep and tweaking and prayer. When I cooperate with God it does go well so hopefully by the end of Lent I’ll be back on track.

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    jen Reply:

    You’re absolutely right. The rule is something to keep you on the right track not bind you unneccessarily and cause stress. Any major life change will impact the rule. That’s why mine is in a word doc 🙂 I can change it as needed when my scribbles take it over!

    Thanks for coming!

  6. Erin Phillips
    3 January 2010 at 12:38 PM (7 years ago)

    http://myvocations.blogspot.com/2010/01/mothers-rule-of-life-book-study-week-1.html

    What do you hope to change in the course of these next two months?

    I’ve read the book well over a year ago, but want to dive back in now because I’m in a MUCH different place now than I was then.

    I want to change the fact that I get lazy. I tend to have a very jaded view of the futility of chores, discipline, life in general. I don’t get thanked the minute I finish the laundry, so why do it? I also want to change the fact that I haven’t put God before anything else (except the past 3 weeks)… that’s a change in progress, I guess. And I also want my life in order so I can mirror Our Mother in Her loving patience as a mom.

    Our pastor brought something up on the Feast of the Holy Family- Holiness as a family is a evolution, not instantaneous. I will always have struggle with family members, and that’s normal. But as long as I keep a spirit of love in the way I handle it, I’m doing just what Mary would have done as a contemporary.

    Is there an area of your life that seems to take on a life of it’s own that you are struggling with?

    Specifically? The Parent “P”. My son and his extended terrible twos. I’m exhausted most of the time and fall asleep unless I pray with my eyes open, sitting on the hard floor because I’m SO tired from fighting with him all day and at bed time (worst bout was 2 nights ago- he didn’t conk out until 5 am!!) That’s making it hard on my daughter, who I have to put on hold to reign in her brother (more often than I’d like)… not to mention that I’m so tired I’m neglecting my 2nd P- my husband.

    Is there anything in these first two chapters that seemed to strike you where you stood?

    I think everyone was taken aback by the statement that the Lord graciously blesses efforts, but cannot until the efforts are made. That ties back to the perspective I tend to get- it won’t stay that way, so why bother? I need to make the effort, and somehow God will make sure it works.

    [Reply]

    jen Reply:

    Thanks so much for joining the book study and blogging about it! I liked the family as evolution, not instantaneous. Thanks for sharing that!

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    Michelle Reply:

    I feel really lazy too. I just don’t get the point of housework and cooking elaborate meals just so we can do all the dishes! My husband and I keep things tidy but you will very rarely see me dusting shelves or cleaning windows.

    Meals mostly consist of one thing -cereal or toast for breakfast, soup or pasta for lunch, pizza or fish and potatoes for supper… that sort of thing. I really wish I had the energy/motivation to make mealtime more of a fun family experience because I really do like to eat tasty dishes and try new recipes. I need to stop seeing everything as a chore and start seeing it as a pleasure. Wouldn’t that be nice!

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    jen Reply:

    I completely agree! I feel the same way about laundry :).

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  7. Angela
    2 January 2010 at 12:16 PM (7 years ago)

    I COMPLETELY and WHOLEHEARTEDLY can relate to Holly! Reading from paragraph three to paragraph six in I Reach the Breaking Point, it’s as if Holly has been a fly on a wall in my home! Like Holly I too have five children (although my age range is a lot more vast) that I homeschool and I also keep my infant niece four days a week. I find myself saying on a regular basis much of what Holly wrote in those paragraphs.

    What do I hope to change? The reason I got this book several years ago was because of the subtitle, How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul, that’s what I hope to change over the next two months. I desperately want order and peace in my home as well as peace and contentment in my soul. I also really want to spend quality HAPPY times with my kids and my husband. And, one on one time with the Lord!

    The clutter (paper, stuff, clothes) takes on a life of its own in my house. While much of this shows me how blessed our family truly is, it also clouds my mind and sometimes paralyzes me. I find it very hard to work and function in a cluttered and messy home. Since I’m home all day much of my day ends up being unproductive because of the mess and clutter. I constantly feel like a hamster in a wheel. If I’m cleaning I feel guilty because I should be doing school and playing with the kids. If I’m doing school and playing with the kids the house is falling apart and I’m grumpy and angry. I can’t seem to find balance in any area of my life.

    I think the thing that struck me where I stood is how much I related to Holly in the first chapter. I actually have the MOTH program from years before. I had heard the author speak at a conference and thought she was out of her mind! I bought the MOTH program a couple of years later not realizing that the author was the woman I had heard speak at the conference. I read the book cover to cover and felt just as Holly that I didn’t like schedules! That schedules where limiting. What if I wanted to be spontaneous? I felt I had wasted my time and money, the MOTH book went on the shelf with all the other books I have on how to organize my life.

    When Holly said “I might not like schedules, but I certainly can’t stand this either!” I felt like I was hit upside the head with a two by four! I have fought order and scheduling since I was a young child. Most of my life I have lived in chaos and been unhappy. I may not like the idea of schedules but what I’m currently doing definitely isn’t working!!! As I’m typing this I’m in awe of something I’ve never admitted before. It’s been in front of me for years and I haven’t admitted it until this morning. My oldest hates schedules, he fights it tooth and nail and he is frequently grouchy, most of the time his world is in chaos like mine. My second child is “Born Organized”! She is on top of almost everything in her life, time and again she is happy go lucky. She is only 13 but she has it together much more than I do! I know I often drive her crazy because our world is such chaos. After typing this I’ve realized that I secretly envy her. I want to be like her! I’m very proud of her!!! She has come to this all on her own very early in life. I hope by the end of this book and two months I will be more like her and we will ALL be a lot more happy go lucky!

    [Reply]

    jen Reply:

    I am so with you!! I Look forward to discussing more of this book with you :).

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  8. Amanda
    2 January 2010 at 10:51 AM (7 years ago)

    Can’t wait for the book to arrive so I can dive in! I think the lovely notebooks you sent me for Christmas will work well for household journals. 🙂

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  9. Samantha
    2 January 2010 at 8:09 AM (7 years ago)

    For me it is the first p – prayer. I’ve always put it on the back burner when it came to my own personal prayer / spiritual life and I really want to move to the front (where it should be!). Second…I can completely relate to Holly when it comes to chaos around the house. I really want to reign it in so that the children can become more calm (for me….less yelling!) and more Christ focused. My oldest will be receiving first reconciliation/communion/confirmation next year and I truly want her to be ready for this momentous step in her life. (Her own little Fiat to God). Of course, these are no small tasks, but I’m willing to try (especially with God’s help). Thank you again for posting this book study.

    [Reply]

    jen Reply:

    I’m sure God will be helping us all along as we do this. Everything is possible, in him :).

    [Reply]

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