The Well-Oiled Machine Part 1: The Importance of Order
I used to sit in amazement at our local MOPS meetings as I would listen to the speakers talk about their families’ lives. They would talk about how Sally Sue would wash the dishes while Jim Bob would take out the trash. Even baby Martha, who was only 18 months was putting away her own toys and laundry! I was lucky to get my kids to not eat off the floors and take a bath once every 4 days (which was like bathing a cat, by the way). Clothesbasket? Wasn’t that what you used to put the toys in when unexpected people showed up at your house to drop off your Girl Scout cookies? I secretly dreamed that my family was like these ladies and was run like a well oiled machine. Although my blog might be better suited to head in the direction of why we should not play the comparison rat race (I promise to leave that subject for another day), I would like to talk about that well-oiled machine and what I learned by the time my household held 6 children and desperation became the catalyst for improvement in this area. Because, after all, we all could improve upon ourselves, right?
The Importance of Order
Since the beginning, God has shown that His creation was set in order. We find order from the smallest divination of God’s creation in the DNA of our very cells. We were made for order! There is something within each one of us that seeks out stability, structure, and order. From the time a baby enters this world, it has a need for security. Security is found in a world of schedule, routine, seasoned with love and patience. Providing this for your children allows them to grow strong, stable, and independent as they blossom into thriving children of God.
Although keeping a schedule is not always easy, especially for the weary mom that has been up all night with a growing, crying baby, it is absolutely essential to meet the needs of a child. Creating a routine allows a baby to build expectations that their needs are going to be met. Then, when their needs are met, bonding takes place between the child and parent and trust is well on its way to being built.
Here’s my little caveat: This is not a death sentence to those new moms out there that have just had a baby and is just trying to figure out what that baby’s routine is going to be. I mean, think about it. That little baby has just entered a new world outside of mom’s warm body that provided every comfort that was needed. Food was needed? Bam! There it was! Exercise was needed? Bam! Just push that gas peddle, aka bladder, one time! Mommy’s soothing voice lulled baby to sleep and that loud beating heart muffled out any noise that would startle baby out of her peaceful slumber. But now! Now there are overwhelming stimuli that are over-circuiting the brain. Now baby must figure out how to tell momma she’s hungry. And quiet environment? Have you heard that two year old scream??? So, mommas need not feel condemned if they’re still figuring all this out. Schedules will come as the baby becomes familiar with their environment.
As you provide order and predictability to your child’s day, they will thrive in the environment. As your child grows older, there will always be opportunity to define your expectations of your children. Let them know the boundaries that you have set and what consequences there will be if those boundaries are broken. Provide charts and incentives that will visually give a child boundaries, responsibilities, and rewards that can be earned. This not only helps them know what is expected, but also teaches them delayed gratification. It also teaches that we DO need to work for those things that are worth having.
Once order is established, you should naturally fall into the next topic, The Importance of Chores. But we’ll save that for another week. Join me next Friday as we learn to become a Well-Oiled Machine.