Finding balance in the busy summer months Print
Everyday Faith

Everyday Faith column by Julianne Nornberg

I'm a work-aholic.

It runs in my family, but it also just comes with the territory of being a mother.

There are always dishes to do, clothes to clean, mouths to feed, carpets to vacuum. Not to mention children to police, homework to help with, activities to run to.

The list never stops, so neither do I.

And my children notice.

Impression on children

A couple weeks ago, an old drawing of my son's surfaced during clean-outs. It showed carefully penciled people representing our family members. Above each of our heads was a defining character trait. One sibling was "funny," another was "a master Lego builder," a third was "a good artist," someone else was "kind," dad was "a tickler."

And guess what mom was known for? "Vacuums a lot."

I could not stop laughing.

But deep inside my mother's heart there was a twinge of guilt because somewhere along my children's growing up years, there were so many times that I forgot to play, and rest, and just be with them.

That's why my heart was filled with gratitude the other day when, even amidst the pile of work to be done, my husband told me to set aside the following 30 minutes to just sit on the floor and play with the children.

And so I did, and it was good for them as well as me. But because I have the innate mentality of "all work needs to get done before play," I needed someone to tell me to play.

Finding balance

I needed someone to remind me that "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

Doesn't Jesus tell us to do the same thing with Him? If it is true for us as parents to find balance with work and play, then aren't we -- as God's children -- called to find that kind of balance with God Our Father as well?

Not only should we come to Him with all of our sorrows and petitions, but we should tell Him all of our joys as well. Rest in Him. Be with Him. Listen to Him.

Remember the story of what Jesus told Martha and Mary:

"Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying.

"But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.' But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her'" (Luke 10:38-42).

Setting time aside for our peace

Personally, I can identify with Martha, as I'm sure so many mothers can. And as summertime approaches and school lets out, part of me is a bit apprehensive about balancing work and play amid keeping the children content.

But when I'm old, I don't want my children to look back on me as the mom who "vacuumed a lot," who always worked and never played. In the same vein, when I die, I don't want Jesus to look on me as someone who never sat at His feet and just spent time with Him.

Learning to set aside time to play with my children is just as important as learning to set aside time to sit and rest in Jesus' presence.

This summer, strive to find that balance between work and play and tending to your spiritual life. It is key to your -- and your family's -- happiness.

Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.