Friday, September 30, 2011

Loving the Little Years Winners

Thanks, everyone, for entering the Loving the Little Years book giveaway, courtesy of Canon Press.
The winners, according to a random number drawing, are Sallie (comment #5) and Stephenie (#6).

If you provided an email address, I emailed you. If you didn't, please email me at with your mailing address with 24 hours. If I don't hear from you, I will draw another winner. Thanks!

Enjoy the book!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Rise of Mommy Cliques: Are You "In" or "Out"?

I've always been quite outgoing. In high school, I was involved in a lot of activities, had a lot of friends, was on homecoming court, and was voted "most friendly" my senior year. Despite all that, even though it seems silly now, there was a certain group of girls that I wanted to be included with. I was on the outskirts of their clique--in enough to hear what my friends did on the weekend, but not quite "in" enough to be invited to those activities. Sometimes it stung a little.

We're not in high school anymore, but we still find cliques. A group of mommy friends gets together to do something and leaves us out. Or perhaps there's a party, and our mom friends and their kids are all invited--except we're not. Even though we're more mature now, I don't know how old we have to be for that sting to disappear.

Clique is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially : one held together by common interests, views, or purposes."

Sure, we all have friends we click with more than others. That's natural. But I think the problem with the clique lies in the key word "exclusive." When our group of friends consistently does exclusive things together, exclusively, we leave others out who might want to be in and open the door to potential hurt feelings. I wish I could say this doesn't happen in the church, but I see it there, too (maybe largely in part to the fact that, as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mommy, it's the biggest social network in my life).

So what's one to do? Here are a few ideas that help me:
  • Hang out with our own clique. I think it's helpful to realize that as wives and mothers now, our family is our clique. They're the people we hang out with the most, and they're the ones we should most enjoy hanging out with. We may be left out of a group of women, but we are never left out of our most important group!
  • Celebrate the friends we do have. I would rather have a few very close friends, whom I can talk with deeply, than a group of friends where the talk is typically trivial.
  • Consider. When getting together with friends, think about if there is anyone you're leaving out of your invitation that maybe you should include. Be sensitive to who might need the fellowship. With Facebook and other social media, it's super easy to blast out an open-ended invitation to local friends.
  • Remember. Remember that the definition of a clique is an exclusive group. Consistently inviting only the same people to get-togethers is probably a clue that the group's crossed into clique territory. We're way past high school. Let's get past the clique mentality, too, and open our friendship circles up to more people.
"My [sisters], as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a [woman] comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor [woman] in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the [woman] wearing fine clothes...have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?"
--James 2:1-4

This Coffee Talk Thursday, I'd love to hear if you've experienced mommy cliques and how you've dealt with it maturely (and your ideas on how to prevent hurting others' feelings through them).

(linked up with Works for Me Wednesday)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The "Eggs"periment

If the name-calling and fighting among your children has you fried, crack some eggs for your kids at breakfast--but not in the traditional sense. A friend of mine told me about this idea.  She used it with her family, and I used it in mine. I think it's a great visual to dish out some teaching about the way we are to treat one another.

Lay out some newspapers, take out the eggs, and repeat the statements you've heard your children say to one another as you throw down an egg. They'll watch it crack in awe and wonder if Mom's cracked up, too.

Don't explain yet, just keep going. Did someone hit someone recently? Fire away with another egg. Any biting? Break another one. Pushing? Shoving? Name-calling? Egg away. (With the price of eggs rising, you may want to limit the number of wrongdoings you illustrate).

Once they eggs lie open and messy on the floor, you can begin to teach to this visual experiment. Explain that when the children call each other names (use the specific names they say), it's like cracking the egg of their relationship and that person's heart. It's messy. It's ugly. We can clean up the damage, but we can never put the egg back together again.

So it is with the things we do and say to each other. The relationship among siblings is like the egg. God created it whole, with a purpose to bless one another through help and encouragement. He did not design us to put cracks in our sibling relationships (or any relationships) daily. We are all created in the image of God. We are not to destroy one another with our words or deeds.

After the "eggs"periment, I read to the boys some verses out of the Bible that I wanted them to soak into their hearts. I used Romans 9:9-21, as I felt it was most pertinent to our situation right now. There are also many great verses on speech, which you could easily find by using the concordance at the back of your Bible.
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves...Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse...Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud...Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends...Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 9:9-21).
We cleaned up the eggs and will continue to work on cleaning up our behavior.

I'd love to hear if you serve up (or throw down!) some eggs this week. As a final caution, watch what you're wearing. The eggs do tend to splatter.

(linking up with Works for Me Wednesday).

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Law of Thermodynamics in our Homes

Hard work on Friday resulted in a clean, orderly house to enjoy for the weekend. A fun Friday night at home gave way to a lazy Saturday morning, which turned into a busy Saturday afternoon, which morphed into an enjoyable evening out with friends. Home late and up early for church. By Sunday afternoon, what had been a nice, neat house had deteriorated beyond recognition. I woke up to a very messy Monday. It was discouraging.

As my husband sought to encourage me, he said that houses--particularly homes with many young children--will vacillate between order and disorder continually. We just have to stay on top of it, or we will find a disaster all the time (and it will be very difficult to climb out of).

I loved what Sally Clarkson wrote last week on this topic,

"We are living in homes where the laws of thermodynamics take place every day–that energy is depleting at a constant rate and everything is moving toward disorder. Knowing this–understanding that it will never change–and give yourself grace. Do not expect perfection. Do not condemn yourself or become angry at your children because they are not perfect."--"The Fallen Kingdom of Home"

A weekend of leisure can certainly be a good thing. But work is a good thing too. Either, taken to an extreme, is harmful. Both in balance is helpful--for our homes and for our hearts.

In a sermon about work, Pastor Mark Bergen of The Painted Door church in Chicago said that God intended work for our joy, as a way barricade us from the negative consequences we would encounter if we ignored our work.  See the book of Proverbs in the Bible for examples. In our homes, too much leisure usually gives us too much mess.

In closing, may we all be encouraged--even in the midst of any disorder in our homes--by Sally's words:

"Walk in grace. Celebrate life. Look for joy in the corners of your life. Always find a friend to pray with, to share life with, who holds your ideals and values. Know that all moms have the same issues–just different puzzles to put together."--The Fallen Kingdom of Home

I will be blogging about work, children, and chores more in the next few weeks.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Healthy $10 a Day Menus

I've been in the mood to try out some new cookbooks. "Try before buy" is my motto! (See this post if you love to read but are limited to what you can buy). I checked out several cookbooks from the library--mainly Italian. I'm excited to try a few recipes from them.
Here are the cookbooks I'm trying recipes from this week:

Here's what's on the menu this week (and some tips on how I do it frugally):
  • Farmer's Breakfast Casserole, leftover whole-wheat pancakes from Saturday morning
  • snacks
  • Hot ham and cheese sandwiches, spaghetti squash rewarmed, other leftover cleanup and clean-out
  • Oatmeal, brown sugar, raisins, bananas
  • Broccoli-cheese quiche, toast, fruit
  • Citrus Roast chicken from Giada's Family Dinners, carrots, spinach salad (whole chickens were on sale for .88-cents/pound; I stocked up).
  • French breakfast puffs, strawberries, vanilla yogurt
  • White chicken chili, using leftover cooked chicken, chips and tortillas
  • Taco bar
  • Zucchini bread, milk; spinach and feta cheese omelets
  • Bean and cheese burritos (using leftover refried beans from taco night)
  • Runzas, fried potatoes, salad
  • Cereal (bought on a good sale, with coupons)
  • Italian bean soup, homemade breadsticks
  • Chicken parmesan over spaghetti, green beans and french bread (make homemade bread crumbs using bread ends; spaghetti sauce hit a rock-bottom price and combined with a coupon, it was about .70 cents; making my own french bread in the bread machine)
  • Cream of Wheat, juice, fruit
  • Corn chowder, fry bread, carrot and celery sticks
  • Homemade pizza, salad 
  • Whole-wheat pancakes from freshly ground wheat
  • leftovers
  • Riso alla Pitocca (traditional rice and chicken), probably a big leafy green salad in homemade vinagrette, rolls
For more menu ideas, be sure to visit Menu Plan Monday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches

As moms in need of mercy, we care about being good moms, we desire to become better moms. As we grow in Christ and seek to become more godly mothers, we find there's always at least one area where we can work to improve.

In this journey of sanctification, resources like blogs and books that meet us where we're at when we're struggling and inspire us to new heights are treasured gems. They renew our vision and refresh our spirits. 

That's how I felt when I came across a copy of Loving The Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic--a young mother of five, ages five and under. Reading this book felt like having a heart-to-heart talk with a great friend or mentor, where what they say just clicks, and you go away encouraged and motivated.

The book is a quick, but deeply enriching, read. Chapters are short--like reading blog posts. As Rachel writes, it's a "loose collection of thoughts on mothering young children--for when you are motivated, for when you are discouraged, for the times when discipline seems fruitless, and for when you are just plain old tired."

My only complaint is I found it a little too short in places. I wish she would have elaborated more on some topics and flushed out more practical suggestions in areas, such as dealing with the chaos that comes along with multiple little children. However, as Christians, we have a relationship with Christ and fellow believers, the Bible and the Holy Spirit to help instruct us and guide us in wisdom.

I'd love to share with you everything I loved about this book, but that would require more space than this post allows. So here are a few of my favorite excerpts from the book:
  • "As you deal with your children, deal with yourself always and first. This is what it looks like and feels like to walk with God as a mother."
  • The spirit in which we correct our children: "When they disobey, do you talk about your own hurt? Are you pointing to all the work that you have to do now that they screwed up? Do you want to elaborate at all on how bad, bad, bad that particular thing was?...Now try thinking of discipline as a different kind of nourishment--a sweet means of grace to your children."
  • "Flunking" a bad day: '"Child number one was a huge pill all day. Child number two was crying and fussing and fighting with child number one. children three and four were just as bad, but I don't know what they were doing, but everyone was terrible, terrible terrible...A F minus for the whole class...'" (she follows with a challenging conviction to moms on what to do if days like that have been happening a bit too often.)
  • Helpful tips for teaching kids to manage their emotions
  • Encouragement to renew our perspective on mothering. Do we feel overwhelmed? Rachel writes, "God gave me to do this. I may not be overwhelmed about it. I can try as hard as I can, and maybe fail sometimes. I can try as hard as I can and fall asleep at the dinner table. I can try as hard as I can and be completely burned out at the end of the day. But I may not be overwhelmed. Actually, I may be overwhelmed, but I may not say that I am overwhelmed! The words have a real power over us."
  • Great points for not blowing our tops when multiple children are doing multiple things at the simultaneous time. (This section inspired this post).
  • A fresh perspective on "me" time
  • Dealing with the "ambiguous restlessness in the house" during a time of change (such as giving up naps). Rachel writes that it's only a problem when Mom refuses to have a growth spurt herself and suggests Mom finds a creative way to deal with the new needs.
  • Thinking of yourself as a "racquetball court": taking the blows our children send our way and not bouncing them back at them, but absorbing them and finding ways to soften them.
  • Suggestions on sibling rivalry and handling the all-too-common fights over toys
  • A challenge to get rid of the alarm clock when you have a nursing baby. Do we really need to know how much we were up with the baby and how little sleep we got?
  • A beautiful section on teaching expectations and instilling obedience: "God will give you the kind of overwhelming joy that cannot remember the details. Motherhood is hard work. It is repetitious and often times menial. Accept it. Rejoice in it..."
I came away from reading this book feeling like Rachel was a kindred spirit, the kind of friend where you sit and have coffee while the children play and you have a great (but often interrupted) conversation about the real meat of mothering: our hearts, and how to find God's mercy in all the messy moments.

Reading the book was such a blessing to me, I'd like to offer the same experience to you. Cannon Press has graciously agreed to give away two copies of the book (US and Canada entries only, please.) I will draw two random winners next week Thursday. If you'd like to win, please leave a comment on this post, including your contact information. Winners will have 24 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The $27 Nap

You know you're desperate for sleep when you drive your kids to the nearest drop-in daycare (for the first time ever) so you can try to get a nap. Twenty-seven dollars later ($27.08, to be exact), I'm still as tired as I was when I dropped them off.

That's because I kept my two-year old with me, thinking that he, I, and the baby could all get a little sleep. Wrong. For the hour slot that we had, he cried and threw a royal fit on the stairs because he wanted to be with his brothers. He ended up falling asleep...right when I needed to leave to pick the boys up. Nap derailed.

Especially with a newborn baby (and the lack of sleep that accompanies it), I am working hard on instituting a quiet hour rule in the house in the afternoon. The only problem with that is that the boys (ages 6, 4, and 2)  all fall at different points on the obedience spectrum. Mom can't rest when she's worried about what sort of mischief they could be getting into (they've done some doozies in moments unsupervised).

So today, in a classic mom's-in-need-of-mercy moment, I did the only thing I could think to do to keep from snapping: call the daycare and see if I could drop off my children for a wee little bit.

When I picked up the boys, we had a long talk about obedience and adhering to the quiet time rule from here on out. Unfortunately, to my disadvantage, they really enjoyed the drop-in daycare (complete with a giant ball pit). One clever son asked, "So Mom, if we get into mischief again when we should be having quiet time, will we get to go back to [said daycare.]" Nice try, son.

The baby's sleeping. I'm going to try to get some rest now, too...

If you've also been there, I'd love to hear about the desperate measures you've gone to in order to get some rest in your most sleep-deprived moments. One mom friend of many littles told me once that she used to barricade a door with a mattress and lay on the mattress while her children played inside the room. She could rest knowing they were safe and wouldn't be able to get out. Creative idea.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Raising Sons: We Have Their Childhood

Listening to this song while washing dishes, I flash-forwarded to a thought of dancing with my oldest son at his wedding. It made me teary. In that moment of giving my boy to his wife, all the silly, childish things he has done (and has yet to do) won't seem so terrible. In fact, they may even turn in to fond memories...things to laugh over--depending, that is, on how I handle the moment: will I crush his spirit with a sharp-tongued expression of my anger and frustration; or will I subdue my displeasure, resist the desire to sin in my own self, and teach his character?

See, the thing is, for our boys, we have their childhoods. Their wives have their futures. We are given each day in their most formative years to shape and guide who they become. We can do, as moms, what their wives cannot do. A wife cannot, or should not, mentor her husband into the character she hopes he displays day-to-day. Yet that is our mission as moms. A woman will someday choose our son as her husband largely due to the groundwork we have laid in forming his character.

Once grown, our sons may still make foolish choices that their wives have to deal with. But the poor decisions they make then will not be the same poor choices they make now. A 30-year old, for example, will not be getting in trouble for coloring on the walls, getting into Mom's makeup and perfume, splashing too much in the bathtub, being mean to his brother, putting a piece of paper in a candle flame...We get the childishness. Seen in the right perspective, we can use it to teach lessons that his future wife will reap.

So we are given these days. May we purposefully embrace our mission to love and train our children. May we remember, even on the bad days when childish behavior is at its worst, that we--unlike any other woman in our sons' lives--are given a chance to chisel these precious boys into godly men. May that vision drive us on.

(Sharing with Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers and Raising Homemakers)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Schedules and Sin

There's the saying that you can't control interruptions to your schedule. I would modify that to add: you can make the perfect schedule, but you can't control the sin. What I mean is, as a full-time mom with children at home, you're bound to encounter lots of sin during the day. Chalk it up to strong-willed children, disobedience, overtiredness, hunger, sibling rivalry and whatever else causes bumps along the way in the course of a day. While rough moments can indeed be chalked up to any and all of those issues, for the sake of keeping it short and sweet, I'll just call it sin.

It seems as though our sin, our children's sin, is more noticeable when we're trying to operate on a schedule. In the evening, we can create what looks like, on paper, to be the perfect schedule for the coming day. We imagine the day running smoothly, peacefully, joyfully.

And then our feet hit the floor in the morning. We're off and running, and so is the sin. Maybe it's the squabble over who sits where at breakfast that escalates to pinching, hitting, or biting. Maybe it's who-took-whose toy and won't give it back. Maybe it's the mean things one said to another. Maybe it's the failure to obey promptly. Perhaps it's all of those and more. We see the sin. It tangles up our perfectly planned schedule. It throws us off-course.

While we can't anticipate what kind of behavior our children (or others in our lives) will display during our "planned" day, we can control how we personally respond when confronted with the sometimes ugly realities of imperfect people. We can choose to stay in the Spirit, and remain patient and calm, lovingly guiding and directing our children and those who come our way. Or we can give in to the frustration and lose our cool completely. (Please don't think that just because I'm writing this, I epitomize the former).

How do we remain in the Spirit of Christ? By His divine grace, which we pray for. But also, the Bible says to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). There is a work on our part, aided by the Holy Spirit, "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (Phil. 2:13). I reflected today on the fact that we are to resist sin. As moms, I think this means we are to resist giving into blowing our tops. Resist.

"Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood" [as Jesus did]. (Hebrews 12:4).

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." (1 Peter 5:10, bold mine).

"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience..." (Col. 1: 10-11, bold mine).

Here's to planning tomorrow's schedule (reminding myself that it will not be as pretty in real life as it looks on paper)! Praying for great endurance and patience, and the grace and strength to resist giving into sin.

Related post: A Day With No Sin

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coffee Talk: Where Did The Memories Go?

Baby Lauren - Two weeks old

One of the things I love most about having a new infant is that each reminds me of the other. Glimpses of an older' sibling's face as an infant in the newborn's face causes a fleeting memory of that stage with that child. Yet, the memories are shadowy, not solid. It's as if they disappeared in the fog of lack of sleep and the sea of busyness and demands of days spent mothering more than one child.

What happens to all those memories? Why can it be so difficult to recall each child's newborn phase (or aspects of other phases, in general)? Certainly, there are many moments I remember, but there are also many others I don't. It seems the ones I remember best are those that I will myself to remember, as if I intentionally take a mental snapshot and save it on the hard drive of my brain.

While we were talking about this, my husband shared a great point: magnificent as they are, our minds--specifically our memories--can only hold so much. We can't possibly catalog and recall everything. So we have to be intentional about what we choose to store. And we have to slow down a little so we can effectively store it.

I came across this quote on Elizabeth Foss' blog and think it ties in perfectly:
“…the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make…I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of [my children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.” --Anna Quindlen
Have you found this to be true in your own life as well? How do you think we can enlarge our memory bank?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Don't Let Your Labors Take Too Long

I read once that extreme perfectionists tend not to clean very often. The reason is, if they feel like they can't do an immaculate job right then, they'd rather not do the job at all. So routine tasks are put off indefinitely and the deep cleaning rarely gets done either, because when in life is there ever that much time available?

Recently, I observed this in action in someone's life whom I know well. Cleaning a bathroom should not take two days. I would argue it should not even take two hours (unless it is in particularly bad shape with excessive clutter to clear away first). But if one stretches the job to make it take a massive amount of time, it's no wonder one will burnout and not want to clean regularly (as in a fairly quick, weekly tune-up).

Our mothers and grandmothers reserved deep cleaning tasks for fall and spring. There is a reason for this. Deep cleaning like that cannot reasonably be done every week. Cleaning any room (or the entire house) top-to-bottom twice a year is still a pretty big undertaking.  That's why it was limited to twice a year.

This Labor Day, I encourage you to limit your labors. It is more important to clean kitchen counters, floors, and bathrooms regularly (even if it is not perfectly thorough) than to spend hours scrubbing every nook and cranny. Reserve those not-so-urgent or obvious tasks for once-a-month deep cleaning days or fall or spring cleaning. That way, at least the routine stuff will still be accomplished and the house will be relatively neat and tidy. It doesn't have to be perfect, just sanitary and presentable.

Related post: The Disastrous Pairing of Disorganization and Perfectionism

Thursday, September 1, 2011

On Being Pleasant

Confession: I haven't been a particularly pleasant person to be around the past few days. I hope you wouldn't notice this outside of my home, but my family would probably attest to the fact that I've been short and snappy with them--and things in general--more often than not.

Have I felt justified? Sure. I may have plenty of reasons for being unpleasant, but those don't matter. I need to be pleasant. In fact, I think we are all called to be. Here's a few good reasons why:
  • 1 Cor. 13:4, 5--"Love is patient, love is kind...It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs."
  • Ephesians 4:32--"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
  • 1 Thess. 5:15--"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (I think the "praying continually" is where we gain the grace and find the strength to fulfill all that this verse calls us to.)
  • Titus 2:5 younger women are called "to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind..." (bold mine)
  • Gal. 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
 I read this today and think it also ties in well (and is a great verse when it comes to training our children:
"A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult." (Proverbs 12:16)

I think what it boils down to is--when we try to take on too much, we too easily snap. I didn't realize it fully until my mom said she feels like I'm on overload (definition: "too load too heavily, an excessive load.")
Gosh. I don't feel like I'm loaded too heavily or carrying an excessive load (after all, I just delivered our seven pound baby!).

Loving my husband and my children, looking after our needs and caring for my home are not heavy burdens; they are my calling and my delight. But somewhere in there the transmission went on the fritz. Nothing that can't be repaired with a healthy dose of prayer, Scripture, reflection, great heart-to-heart talks with my husband and even with the children.

Today I knew I had to lighten the load. At first, I felt a little anxious taking large chunks of time away from responsibilities inside the house to spend time enjoying the beautiful day outside with my kids. But then I realized being with them was exactly what I needed to be doing. So we took blankets, a book, the baby, and a big cup of water and spent the entire afternoon outside on the lawn doing nothing but being together and enjoying each other. And it was so refreshing.

I reread this today, and it says it all so perfectly:
"When your first baby was born, chances are you treated him with the utmost kindness and careful respect. I'm willing to bet that child never heard you yell for the first couple of years. But as he grew and you added to your family, as the pressure to meet the needs of many individuals mounted, you became a taskmaster. The focus in your relationship shifted in subtle waves over time. Now, you are utterly exhausted and those relationships you hold most dear have deteriorated...
We are in authority over our children. God put us there. That does not mean that we must be tyrants. That does not give us license to berate, belittle, or scream at them. That does not allow us to excuse our own weakness and impatience. Remember: Charity, above all. Be a friend to your child. Listen with interest. Speak with courtesy. Think of him as a friend...
What does this have to do with burnout? Everything. When you treat your children as treasured friends, so much of the tension that has built in your household will dissipate. You will begin to relax and enjoy your role as a mother. You will recapture the exuberance and innocence of those early days. You will once again delight in the humorous antics and refreshing sweetness of little children. You will savor long and interesting conversations with a young teenager who is just beginning to make sense of the world. Mama will be happier, and so will her children"--Elizabeth Foss, Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home
To sum it up: Stress over lesser things stopped me from savoring those who matter to me most. It made me uptight and unpleasant. I think I've got it lined out now. These experiences are all profitable if we reflect on them and grow in grace, becoming more Christlike, through them.