My dear friend Kristen, mother of three boys ages four and younger, recently posted the list below on Facebook. I loved it so much, and she graciously gave me permission to reproduce it here. Here’s why I love it. First of all, it made me laugh. I identified with every single one of her penances. I love that there can be as many different parenting philosophies as there are parents in the world, but there are also so many things that all mothers share and understand. I also love this list because it is so encouraging. It’s so easy at the end of a long day at home with kids to look around at your toy-cluttered house, laundry piles, and spaghetti-crusted dishes and wonder what in the world you have to show for your day. This list is a reminder of all we mamas lay down for the sake of our babies and families.
I love the Lenten season, and I love the opportunity every year to look at my life and myself and see where God wants to eliminate some flaw or build up some new sacrifice that will straighten out my crooked character. This year, my Lenten penance is to continue to do all of things on this list that I already do, but to do them, as much as I possibly can, cheerfully and without complaint. Be encouraged, mothers! Our work is important!
I keep seeing a lot of Lenten suggestions and challenges in my news feed. So I have decided to write a list of Lenten suggestions for mothers of infants and young children:
- Wake up every two to three hours – stay up for about 20 minutes.
- Wake for the day around 6:30 a.m. (if you are feeling extreme wake up at 5 a.m.)
- Make a cup of coffee and leave it on the counter.
- After it is lukewarm, put it in the microwave. Leave it there.
- Do the same thing for some of your food.
- Carry a 15 pound weight at all times and learn to use one hand.
- Take something expensive that you own or something you really like and break it.
- Wash and blow dry your hair, then put something that resembles spit up in it.
- Put this same substance on all of your clothes – if you are really feeling penitential put it on your favorite clothes.
- Make a recording of loud sounds and play them all day. Turn up the volume when you are on the phone.
- When you find yourself on the brink of some sort of melt down, go ahead and drop something heavy on your toe.
- Write only half of a response to an important e-mail, save it in your drafts, and forget about it.
- Wash someone else’s laundry, do their dishes, or clean up after them without looking for praise.
- Live out some gospel recommendations – care for the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, etc., etc.
Or my greatest suggestion – go easy on yourself!!