Welcome to another week (week five) of the series, Women of Intention! Maple Alps is featuring a woman who will talk about intentionality in specific areas in her life over the next fifteen weeks. So glad you've decided to stop by! For more information, and a list of topics, visit our introduction post HERE.
This week's Intentional Woman:
Today, we are going to hear from Gina of Holding the Distaff.
I enjoyed getting to know Gina, and hearing all about her adventures in motherhood and the passion she has for homeschooling her children and teaching them important life values and lessons. I'm certain you will enjoy getting to know her too!
Once you're done reading, be sure to not only check out her blog, Holding the Distaff, but also share your thoughts (and if you want, the post too!).
Tell us a bit about yourself: What are your passions, work and interests?
I'm a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom of three kids, ages 3, 5 and 6 ½. I wear many hats: managing our home, writing and editing, homeschooling and being involved in our church and community.
I'm most passionate about helping the people in my life find purpose and meaning—hence my blog's tagline, "inspiration in the everyday." There are a lot of practical ways I do this, including writing, volunteering, having people in our home, or just enjoying deep conversations over coffee.
How do you practice intentionality in your life as a mother?
It's funny you use the word "intentionality" because up until a few years ago I would have had no idea what that meant. But being a mother has forced me to think about the concept frequently. Am I just coasting along this parenting journey, hoping everything turns out okay (Okay, yes sometimes!)? Or do I plan our days thoughtfully and parent with purpose? I think we'd all like to practice the latter.
One challenging decision I wrestled with recently as a mother was whether we should homeschool. My husband was homeschooled from kindergarten through twelfth grade, and when I met him I didn't even know that was a thing. Frankly, it seemed weird. But over the years he convinced me to give it a shot. And now, two years into it, we love it. It helps me to be intentional because I have so many opportunities to spend quality time with my kids. We have great conversations, explore together and simply enjoy the act of learning. It's a natural extension of my parenting.
I'll add that being intentional as a parent doesn't mean you have to plan out every waking hour with meaningful life lessons. It does mean you have an end-goal in mind when you're living out your life day to day. I want my kids to love God, to be compassionate, to be responsible stewards, and to pursue their passions whole-heartedly. Homeschooling gives us a lot of opportunity to explore these things.
What is the hardest part of being a mother? The easiest? The most rewarding?
The hardest part (and probably every mom will tell you this) is that you never get time off. Even when I get that sacred hour or two away apart from them, I'm thinking about those rascals. Your body, mind and soul permanently belong to these other little beings.
The easiest part is loving up on them. I'm not a very physically affectionate person, but for the most part I could snuggle with my babies for hours (except when they're squirmy and it's 3 a.m.).
The most rewarding part is watching in awe as these little people grow and blossom into big people. They are each so uniquely beautiful in multiple ways, and I marvel at them daily.
How would you say intentionality as a mother has affected other areas of your life?
Intentionality in motherhood has helped me see that the little moments count. It might not seem like I'm doing much when I spend my days changing diapers and wiping noses, but then I blink and my babies are growing into incredible little people and thriving. I realize that all those seemingly insignificant moments are quite powerful when added together. The same applies to my marriage, my relationships and my work. If I can just keep working at the little things, I will eventually see big changes.
What would you say to encourage a mother who is struggling with intentionality in this area of her life?
Several things. First, take some time and think about what your end goals are with your parenting. What kinds of people do you want your children to be? A lot of Christians say they just want their kids to be faithful—but what does a faithful life look like? Think about this, pray about it and write it down.
Second, remember that we all have days when we feel like we are barely keeping our heads above water, especially when we have little babies. We can't find matching socks let alone try to have some sort of vision for our parenting. Don't worry, those days will pass. But if you're past the baby stage and you're still struggling, ask yourself if you have enough breathing room in your schedule. Do you have downtime with your kids, opportunities to have great conversations? Those are the times when the rubber hits the road in your parenting. Sometimes they're planned, but more often they're not. Make space to just be with your kids.
Lastly, just rely on God's word, the Bible, and pray for and with your kids daily. I think of Deuteronomy 6:4–9, which paints a picture of how a family that follows God is constantly saturated in his commandments. If you want to raise kids to be lifelong believers, you have to model what that looks like. Start with your own faith walk, and then share it with them. Are siblings arguing—or are you arguing? Talk about what Jesus said about serving one another in John 13:1–17. Have them pray for each other. Are they having bad attitudes about doing chores? Talk about what Jesus said about "going the extra mile" in Matthew 5:41. These truths in scripture are more powerful than any clever thoughts we can pull together on our own. The more we lean on God, the more natural it is to be intentional.
What about you? Are you a mother intentional about motherhood? Why don't you tell us about it in the comments, and connect with us on social media?
(Don't forget to use the hashtag #WomenOfIntention16 so no one misses it!)