“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children … we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play!”-Charlotte Mason
As moms we should be continuing to learn and grow as persons. We know this… and yet, we can easily get lost in all the mundane tasks of everyday life and forget to expand our own mind. Either we feel overwhelmed by everything there is to do or we can just be all absorbed in all the little details(even lovely ones) of running a home and raising children that we simply forget to nourish ourselves and grow. And in the process we can lose the vision for what we are doing and why. We start missing the bigger picture. The why.
It can seem overwhelming to consider feeding our own minds and souls in the midst of feeding our families mind, body and soul. Who has time to read , learn, study and grow when all the little people are clamoring for your time and attention? In an article titled Mother Culture in Charlotte Mason’s Parents’ Review magazine a Mother’s continued growth is seen as essential not optional, for:
“There is no sadder sight in life than a mother, who has so used herself up in her children’s childhood, that she has nothing to give them in their youth. “Mother Culture by A.
The Parents’ Review, Volume 3, no. 2, 1892/93, pgs. 92-95
So how do we do it? Every mom is in a different season in her motherhood and some are just crazier and harder. But it is possible for us all to find just a few minutes each day to feed our souls. It doesn’t really need to be a huge task- we can take it in tiny steps, here and there.
So what are some ways we can fit little moments of beauty, truth and goodness into our busy days? Here are a few simple ideas to get started:
Scripture and Hymns
Of course reading our Bible should be the first place we turn, but sometimes if we can’t do a “proper” distraction free devotion time we give up. Read for just 5 minutes, read with the children, tape a passage above your kitchen sink. Learn a hymn by heart, sing it, recite it, tape it to your fridge. Let God’s truth sink deeply into your heart.
Some people have the mistaken idea that you need to be an artist to do this, but that’s not true! A nature journal is simply a way to observe, record and learn about the wonder of God’s creation. You can draw, paint, or just write. Walk down the driveway, grab some field guides, learn a bit about the birds, trees, or even weeds around you. Let the beauty of God’s world delight your soul.
Choose an artist you enjoy and study a few of their paintings once a week. You can do this alongside your children if you aren’t already. A few artists I have especially enjoyed are Mary Cassat, John Constable, Johannes Vermeer and Albert Bierstadt. I am always amazed that as I become familiar with an artist I begin noticing their work in various places sometimes even finding a print at the thrift store to hang on my wall! Info and prints for a few of these artists can be found at A Humble Place.
A Poem Every Day
Find a poet you enjoy and read through a collection, I have been enjoying Wendell Berry and Emily Dickinson. If you don’t know where to begin there is a podcast called The Daily Poem by the Circe Institute that is great for being introduced to new poems. Honestly I also enjoy children’s collections of poetry like A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson as well.
Read or Listen to Good Books
I try to have a few books that I am reading at a time. Usually an educational- history, parenting etc. book or two that I can read little bits of slowly and then have something to think about. I am currently reading through Charlotte Mason’s original volumes, Arithmetic by Paul Lockhart, and Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson. And a lighter book, usually a fun fiction book- often even a children’s or young adult novel. Some of my favorites in this category last year were Mother Carey’s Chickens by Kate Douglas Wiggin, The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson and The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I try to read a few minutes each day; either before the kids get up or right after school when everyone takes a quiet time. Some weeks I make a lot of progress, some weeks it feels like hardly anything. I also occasionally listen to audiobooks while I cook or clean, this only works when the children are well occupied with something else!
The beautiful thing about doing these things, is that our children see us enjoying learning ourselves and often are inspired themselves. Many of these suggestions can even be done sometimes together with the children!
I hope I have inspired you to continue to grow and learn throughout your motherhood journey! Please comment below with how you like to keep your mind alive and growing.