Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.
~ John 14:27
As a full-time, work outside of the home mother, evenings can be quite challenging. There's so much to be done, but so little time. After being away all day, I want to scoop the boys up and give them great big hugs and listen to my Mom as she tells me about their day. I want to talk to Ashleigh about school. To hear about what she learned, the new friends she made and to help alleviate any lingering concerns she has about transitioning to big kid school. I wish I could come in, plop down on the sofa, kick my heels off and have the kids gather around me and shower me with hugs.
But the reality is quite different! Often times I come in loaded down with bags from a quick stop by the grocery store on the way home. And the invisible baggage from stress at work. Everyone is hungry and wants a snack, wants juice. The noise level instantly increases as three little ones are now reunited. But not long after playful laughter turns into, "Momma! Ashleigh/Clayton hit/touched/looked at me!" As I'm negotiating peace between the older two, Reedy is managing to comprise the gate blocking the staircase and heading upstairs. Or he's taking his diaper off, giving me a near heart attack by climbing onto the arm of the sofa and/or taking someone's juice cup/toy/pillow/bear and throwing it behind the sofa. Whew! And we still have homework, dinner and getting ready for bed.
Making dinner in the evenings is an important homecaring task for me. Dave works long 12 hour days and I want him to come home to something already made. I've recently taken on the personal challenge of preparing home made meals in an effort to reduce expenses and better our diet to include more fresh fruits and vegetables. While planning our meals ahead of time has been such a sanity saver, I still struggled trying to get dinners ready while taking care of the kids. After one VERY challenging week, I had an "aha" moment - prep the meals over the weekend!
So for the last two weekends, I've taken an hour on Saturday to prep for the coming week's meals. I dice and chop, brown meat, freeze dough, so that when I come home during the week, it's just a matter of putting things together. This small step has made such a huge difference in my evenings! There's a sense of peace about my evenings now. Things are still a bit hectic (but what house isn't with three kids!). But it's an improvement in this busy season of my life.