Next to our salvation and a relationship with Jesus Christ, probably the most important thing to us is our families and relationships with them. Life is busy for all, and maybe even busier for the homeschooling mom. What happens to those priority relationships in the midst of that lifestyle? Is it possible to accomplish what needs to be done but lose the heart thrust of relationships? How can we purposefully nurture relationships but still keep up with the responsibilities the Lord has called us to fulfill?
Your schedule is critical for helping you prioritize relationships. First, it maximizes your productivity, allowing you the most time possible to invest in relationships.
Next, it shows you where your time is misplaced. Is it possible that you have time for relationship building, but you are spending it in ways that aren’t your real priorities? Social media, texting, and emailing could be your biggest time robbers. Some of the moms I admire the most are the ones who choose to keep those things contained within a scheduled time frame and stay away from them the rest of the time. When your children leave home, what do you want them to remember about you—the mom who had her face glued to her phone or one who looked at them?
You can put activities into the schedule that are relationship building. What about scheduling individual time with a child? It probably won’t be every day except for school time, but it could be once or twice a week. Even a half an hour or hour dedicated to one child will grow that relationship. It might be a time where you simply talk, perhaps discussing spiritual things and the child’s struggles and joys. “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). It could also be doing something with him that you know he enjoys doing.
If you have your children scheduled one at a time to work with you in the kitchen for meal preparation, you just gained a huge amount of relationship-building time. With 21 meals a week, if we estimated 30 minutes preparation time per meal—breakfast will likely take less and dinner more—that comes up to ten hours of individual, relationship-building time per week.
By keeping it to just one helper, your full attention is on every story that child wants to tell you, every joy he desires to share with you, and every worry that is on his heart. You have the opportunity to speak into his life what you see he is doing well and those things you know he could grow in.
In the process of all of that, in addition to relationship building, your child learns kitchen skills he takes with him through life and character that equips him for the areas of service God will call him to in adulthood. I can assure you that your two-year-old will slow you down in the kitchen, but he will be a happy helper full of enthusiasm and words. By the time he is five, he will be capable of doing many tasks independently and at eight, there might be meals he could do alone. Don’t resort to giving him that assignment on a normal basis, though, because remember—by working together you are taking time with and for that child.
Balanced with spending time together for relationship building is your attitude in general. If you spend lots of time with a child but are negative when you are together, I doubt that relationship will grow strong. Take inventory. When you talk to your children, are you negative and critical or encouraging and positive? Do you smile at them or talk to them with your eyes focused on your phone, seeming distracted?
Ask the Lord to help you find ways to build relationships with your children. There is nothing dearer to a mother’s heart than for this to be true: “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Proverbs 31:28). May I encourage you to purposefully invest in growing relationships with your children.
If you need help making a schedule, Managers of Their Homes is a resource we have available for you. It has helped many, many moms do what you want to do.