Friday, April 30, 2010

A Mother's Rule of Life - Book Review

I can't even tell you when I last read a book and I mean the entire book.  It's been a long, long time.  I have to laugh because the shear fact that I finished the book at all is really a testament to the the book itself.  Knowing "me" a little, I gave myself 30 days to finish it, I've come to the realization that I must start putting end dates on things or it (whatever "it" may be) will not get finished.

So what was the book? 

I read A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot which is published by Sophia Institute Press.  I was surfing Sophia Institute for a book and found A Mother's Rule of Life, the bio said "The house was dirty, the laundry undone, Holly felt frustrated, discouraged and alone.  She couldn't find time to snuggle and have fun with her five children or to go out with her husband".  I think for the reasons of the house being dirty, laundry undone and not being able to find time to have fun with her children I ordered the book.

Right from first chapter when Holly said "...did I even know what my primary duties were supposed to be?" I knew this was the right book for me.  I so often have sat in my kitchen thinking what should I do today, which task, or which direction.  Or to start the day with great aspirations to accomplish everything only to tackle a few things and feel like a failure at the end of the day.  All to which my loving husband would say the kids are the most important thing, yet I would still feel like a failure because the house was a mess, clothes were everywhere and I felt miserable about it.  So I kept reading, got out a pencil and was underlining like crazy!

Holly explains that, "A Rule of Life is a traditional Christian tool for ordering one's vocation".  You might wonder what that would mean for a stay at home mom like me?  Well, she goes on to say in the second chapter that, a Rule of Life is not just a schedule, or a collection of activities but rather an organization of everything that has to do with your vocation.  And what is my vocation?  My vocation is to be a wife and mother.  Holly breaks down a marriage vocation with the Five P's:
  • First P = Prayer
  • Second P = Person
  • Third P = Partner
  • Fourth P = Parent
  • Fifth P = Provider
There were a few thought in each section that struck a chord with me. 

In the First P = Prayer Sections:

  •  "...instead of never finding enough time for God in the midst of everything else, I had to work everything else around God." 

I am still trying to figure where things are going to go as I write my daily schedule.  You may remember my friends and I are reading the Bible cover to cover in 180 days, so I am trying to carve out time each day in my schedule.

In the Second P = Person Sections:
  • " much sleep I felt my body much exercise I needed....what types of food..."
I've pretty much have it dialed in that I need a lot of sleep.  9 hours ideal, 8 hours okay and 7 hours can do for a short time.  Sad but true.  Sometimes running it's hard to figure out when I can run.  I so love doing it.  It's good for my person in so many ways! 

In the Third P = Partner Sections:
  • "...(a) loving marriage is the bedrock of family life."
Without a doubt!  I am going to be more mindful of our time together as a couple and not just what I need but what do we need.

In the Fourth P = Parenting Sections:

  • " children need me to be mentally available to be fully attentive to them when I am with tone down thoughts of all the projects that filled my head and to make more casual time to talk and laugh and simply be with them." 
  • "As we work to form and mold our children, they in turn, force us to face, and, we hope, to master our own weaknesses. In parenting, saving grace is a two-way street."
  • "A little attention and love, understanding and compassion can radically change a child's general attitude. Let him know he's 'good' and Mummy sees him as good. So often children rise to meet the level of our expectations. If we secretly think of them as rebels, they tend to act like rebels."
Oh man, was time a lesson that was greatly learned after my facebook & twitter fast!  Which really just reaffirms that it was the right thing to do and something I need to be very very mindful of in the future!  Bye Bye Twitter, for good.

In the Fifth P = Provider Sections:

  • "...both my husband and I are called to provide for our family... in his way by going to work and earning a my way by caring for, maintaining and repairing (as much as possible)..."
  • "Part of financial stewardship also involves not just avoiding frivolous spending, but recognizing that all we have has been entrusted to us so that we may fulfill our mission to raise our children and even to help those less fortunate than we.  This means that we need to distinguish between our essential needs and our excessive wants.  For often, rich or poor, we just want more"

In discussing the Rule she also writes, "...there's a deeper and more fundamental level to a Rule of Life that distinguishes it from a mere schedule: the intent and aim of following the Rule.  A Rule followed for the practical benefits alone is not a Rule of Life; it is a schedule.  Duties attended to grudgingly or with reluctance do not make a Rule, for a Rule of Life must be lived as a response to the call of God."  I had to really think about this.  I've sort of tried a schedule before and never really stuck with it.  I also had " adjust my attitudes and outlook toward His vision for my life".  I mean really, look at my wonderful life.  I have a awesome husband who loves me to the ends of this world and three healthy, beautiful, thriving children.  Not to mention how blessed we are to be able to have me stay home with our children.  My husband has a job, we have a house, etc.  Why would I ever look at my life as anything but a dream?  So instead of thinking, "I can't believe this floor is dirty already, I just cleaned it."  I need to think it's my awesome job to be able to have our baby in her high chair throwing food on our floor and not somewhere else.  I've decided to be glad to have all the responsibilities of motherhood and being a wife.  It's my awesome gift, given to me, and it is after all my (and my Mother's) prayers that were finally answered.   In conclusion to that thought Holly writes, " Our heart is where God lives.  Our heart is where we love" 

In the last pages of the book she says, "...the most important things are the relationships God has placed in my life."  As well as "And believe that if God wants you to do it, he'll empower you."  LOVE IT!  Isn't that so true!

At the end of every chapter Holly offers a couple of exercises to help establish your Rule.  She includes charts of  what her Rule looks like and at the end of the book she lays out her Rule further in her Spirit of My Mother's Rule of Life.  I loved this section.  I will be typing out the whole section in putting it on my refrigerator.  I might also say it was like her own mission statement which is something I've thought of doing for myself and for Adam & I, as parents, for guiding our children.

I would highly recommend this book to any mother!  I also want to add that I did a google search and found Holly's website A Mother's Rule of Life.  I read a little bit and then thought I would drop her a line just to tell her I was reading her book, to my surprise she sent a note back the same day.  I thought that was very nice.  I am still working out some of the details of my Rule.

Hope you are having a great day!  As always, thanks for reading my blog!

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