Please tell us about your family
I am 34, married to Nick and we have 5 children; Martha (8), Matilda (6), Evelyn (4), Tzeitel (2), Theodore (10 weeks). Nick works in computing and I am a stay at home, home educating mumma.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It is a bit up in the air as Ted is still so little and needs feeding but this is a general view!
6am – wake up and feed Ted
6.30 – Girls get up and dressed, Nick feeds them breakfast whilst I read my bible and pray
7.am – 8am -up and showered and breakfast, morning jobs
Morning is school time. Martha and Tilly do music practise. We do bible time, reading aloud either history (about knights and castles at the mo), geography or science and also Aesop’s fables.
Then Martha and Tilly do writing, reading and Maths. I do a bit of reading with Evelyn. They play in-between things and afterwards. I try and spend about 30mins with the oldest 3 each day.
12- Lunch. Normally cooked for the girls as they eat a lot better at lunch time!
1.30 -3pm – REST TIME! The bigger ones watch a video, the smaller ones nap (as do I!) This is a total lifesaver and I couldn’t be without it.
Afternoon – playing,going out, last bits of school
5pm – Girls dinner.
6pm – Nick is home and gets the girls into bed. The little ones by 6.30pm and the bigger ones get ready and then stay up later reading on our bed. I make dinner.
7pm – Nick and I have dinner
After that I collapse in a heap! Maybe do some ironing, sewing, jigsaw, watch tv etc.
10pm – In bed!
During all this I feed Ted about every 3 hours. The girls have daily chores they do and we all work together to keep the house vaguely neat and clean! We are quite routined as I would sink otherwise and it means the girls know what to do so I am not always reminding them.
Have you always gone to church?
Yes. But I started in a very high Anglican church of my parents choosing and now go to a small baptist of our own! I sometimes miss the liturgy and go back for a service but generally I prefer something more informal.
When did you discover a personal relationship with Jesus?
I have always known about Jesus and I have never really said no to him. But I “got it” when I was about 7 or 8 in Germany. We found an English speaking church and they were very different from the high church I was used to. They knew Jesus and shared him. When we got back (when I was 11) I think my relationship with Him pottered along and I felt like I was in a bit of a desert apart from Crusader (Christian) holiday clubs as I seemed to feel very differently about God than my parents did. I often felt like I was the odd one out as didn’t want to do things my peers were as I believed the bible and what it said was ok and what was not. It was wonderful when I went to Uni and could find people who didn’t just believe in Jesus and God but wanted to live for Him.
I have since discovered so much and learnt so much. I have realised that God has been with me all the time and been leading me to where I am. I think the years of feeling a bit like the odd one out have prepared me for now. Being a conservative, fundamental, charismatic, bible believing, home schooling mother of 5 isn’t the norm. But I am ok with that. God’s plan is good.
Is there anything you struggle with when combining church-life and motherhood?
I think the hardest is feeling like I should be helping out in the church more, but at this season it isn’t possible. Our church has quite an elderly congregation and so I don’t breatfeed in church which means at the moment that I don’t spend much time in church! I spend a lot of time looking after the children so I miss out on the spiritual side of it all.
Have you found any ways to overcome or cope with these difficulties or challenges?
I have decided to accept that during this season of life I go to church for my family and for fellowship. I get my main spiritual input from the time I spend alone with God and so the lack of other input isn’t too bad. And I remember that God has called me to be the Mumma of lots of little ones. One day they will be bigger and I will help more but until then it is ok.
How does it work for you with finding time to talk to and listen to God since becoming a mother?
I read a book called Sweet Journey by Terri Maxwell (a home school mother of 8) and it is all about getting into a bible reading and prayer routine. It has radically changed my life. I have read the bible every day (apart from 2) since Christmas. That includes when I had Ted. She talks about nothing being more important and making it your first and top priority. And i realised that it is. All the answers are there. Direct from God. I just have to give him the chance to show them too me every day. So now I read the bible (about a chapter), write down the verse that stands out and why and I pray. I also have a folder with sections for bible verses that fit into different categories (Like verses about Children, Praise, Bible prayers, anger, depression etc). This has helped a lot so I don’t have to go looking for verses, they are there when I need them. All this takes me 30 mins on a normal day. When my children are older I will make more time. And when Ted was very little it took 20 mins as I went very basic. I do this in the morning but I am flexible that that might change as life changes. But I will make sure it happens sometime and try and stick to a regular time so it becomes habit.
I would like to add that I do read other books as well, Christian and non (and lots of them). But I don’t do bible notes or sort of devotionally books as I discovered I was reading other people’s opinion not God’s. So during my bible reading time I stick with the bible.
Do you have any pearls of wisdom for all of us mums journeying with Jesus?
1) God LOVES you. He is with you and for you. God is, and all is well. I have a watch that beeps every hour and it is to remind me check my thoughts and make them positive (this has really helped me as I am a worrier and slightly depressive). One thing I do is remind my myself I am loved. Right here and now, not in 20 years when I have it all sorted. Now. And you are too. Go and look in a mirror and say, out loud, Jesus LOVES me. You will feel silly but keep doing it every day until you believe it!
2) I know that what works for one person won’t for someone else but I truly believe that the one thing that works for everyone is to know God’s word. Have a set time when you read the bible and pray and stick to it no matter what, as nothing else is going to help you more. Nothing else is as important. God has every answer to every problem we have but He can’t tell us if we don’t give him the time. If I can do it with 5 children under 8 who are at home all day, you can too. 🙂
3) Life moves in seasons. Don’t worry if you feel like you are in a different season to others. You are and that is ok. Each stage is important, so give it time and try not to rush through God’s lessons. Everyone’s journey is different and God hasn’t finished with any of us yet.