It seems like lately, on every social media site I glance at or in every online Orthodox motherhood group I am part of, all I see are posts about doing crafts with your children.
I probably exaggerate. Slightly.
All the Crafts….
Especially now as we are approaching Great Lent, there are a plethora of beautiful, educational, kid-centered craft projects that Orthodox mothers (because, let’s be honest, these are always geared at the mothers) can do with their children.
I am sure that many mothers look at these resources and find genuine joy in planning ways to integrate them into their homeschooling lessons or their Sunday School classes or just their everyday lives at home. And, I applaud them.
No, seriously. If crafting is your thing, I will happily like every single photo that you post of your children engaged in any project that you are doing together. I will admire the effort and energy you took to put it together. I will celebrate the love and care that you show for your children while doing it.
But, it just isn’t me.
And, I know that a lot of women feel the same way.
For some mothers, planning these types of activities and completing them with their children is one tangible way for them to integrate their faith with their family life. It makes them happy. It makes their kids happy. Win-win.
For other mothers (my hand raised here), seeing all of those colorful Lenten resources makes me start to sweat. I feel anxiety over all of the things that I “should” be doing with my kids. I begin to ask the dreaded question:
Am I a bad mother because I don’t do these things?
Lord have mercy. No.
I am my children’s mother because God planned it that way. And, though I am a sinner, I am the mother that He is using to model faith and repentance on a daily basis in our home.
Being Myself as a Mother
God knows my strengths and he knows my weaknesses.
And, crafting? Not one of my strengths.
I have been learning how to be a mother for almost twelve years now. While I’m no expert, I’ve developed one parenting philosophy that has served me well.
Recognize your God-given strengths and use those in parenting.
God has given each of us strengths, gifts, passions. We don’t need to turn those off and ignore them when we become mothers. Instead, we can use them to God’s glory AS mothers.
Crafting–not one of my strengths. That means that I no longer feel pressure to do crafty activities with my children. I have given myself permission to scroll on by those lovely Lenten resources. I think: Wonderful for her. Not for me.
When analyzing my own strengths, I realize that I:
-love reading and writing
-enjoy playing games
-like being out in nature
-am a fairly organized person
-am an introvert who prefers calm to chaos and excels at making a peaceful environment
-prefer one-on-one interactions to group ones
All of these insights from my personality help me to parent in a way that is authentically me.
My kids and I love board game marathons. We go on a hike almost every weekend. We read tons of books together. We tell stories. We have an evening routine that brings us peace and contentment.
Parenting in this way feels like a natural extension of who I am.
So, I make sure to include our Faith in this way, too. We read Orthodox books from our family library. We talk about the Creator while we are out in creation. We pray together.
As we approach Great Lent, I want to encourage you to think about your parenting in light of the woman that God has created you to be. Use those gifts, passions, and talents in your home as you raise up your children in the Faith.
And if crafting is part of that? God will bless it. If not? God will bless that, too.