It was the subtitle that caught my attention: “A Journal Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood.” Professional? What does it mean to be a professional mother?
Since I have set my career as a nurse aside during our time in Sicily, I guess I would call motherhood my profession. I mean… it’s what I do 24|7! I spend my days teaching, loving, feeding, dressing, and training up these two little people in my life. I want to do my job well. I want to be intentional and professional about it. Don’t you?
I ordered a used copy of Jamie’s book after I’d only been reading her blogs — Steady Mom and Simple Homeschool — for a little while. She is a wonderfully inspiring person; I love how her family of five is made up of four nations! Steady Days a super-easy read with chapters that are about two pages long. I read the book this weekend and felt refreshed and inspired afterwards, so I wanted to share it with you!
The gist of Jamie’s message is this: “We create Steady Days for our children by getting organized, retaining our enthusiasm, learning together, and making memories. When we balance these qualities together, we discover the gentle rhythm we long for.”
Part One: Getting Organized is my favorite. Jamie explains how she used to just drift from one activity to another, letting the day kind of unroll based on how she and her kids felt each day. (That feels familiar!) So Jamie encourages moms to evaluate their schedules — meal times, nap times, errands, activities outside the home — and create a rough routine for the mom and each child. She has heaps of suggestions for structured activities you can plan for during the otherwise “drifting time,” like room time, baking, art, video time, structured play, and free time.
She also encourages them to put this routine into a binder in order to keep your whole home organized. She keeps her shopping lists, meal plans, special dates organizer, important documents, weekly to do list, emergency phone numbers, and even take out menus in her binder. (Basically, she puts everything in her binder that I stick all over my fridge!) I’ve thought about making a “home management binder,” but I’ve never actually made it work. Have you?
I loved this quote: “Some people think that if they become organized, they will lose their spontaneity and passion for living…. This doesn’t have to be the case. Having a flexible structure helps you enjoy spontaneity. If you have taken time to be organized in things that matter most, then you will not feel behind. So when an opportunity comes your way, like the first warm day of spring or a special concert for the children, you can ditch the rest of your plans and go for it. You can enjoy without guilt, because your other responsibilities are up to date.”
What if I actually send birthday cards and gifts on time? What if I actually planned ahead for a craft with my kids? What if I actually remembered my dental appointment… instead of missing it twice in a row?! What if I became more reliable, more steady, more organized? That would be a gift to so many, not just my immediate family!
In Part Two: Retaining Enthusiasm, Jamie talks about how to stay inspired as an intentional, professional mother. She encourages moms to embrace their roll as a mom… instead of whining about or regretting this demanding stage of life. She also uses a “Steady Blessings” list in her binder to remind her daily of things to be thankful for, and she keeps inspirational quotes and Scripture verses on cards and rotates one to meditate on each day.
(Just this last idea takes so much more organization than I have right now. Geez Louise! But as I read through her quotes and verses, I was inspired. We need to draw encouragement from true, deep sources, not just from mommy blogs.)
In Part Three: Learning Together, Jamie talks the importance of establishing good habits as well as demonstrating these habits to our children. She also shared ways that she and her children learn together through their “Steady Learning Board” and “Steady Learning Scrapbook,” which you can find more about through her Learning Together archives. I loved these suggestions for incorporating learning into everyday home life… and also for keeping artwork and craft projects organized.
Finally, in Part Four: Making Memories, Jamie talks about the importance of family traditions and about her “Look At Me” and “Mom’s Favorite Moments,” two ways she uses to keep track of her kids’ growth and development. Both of these look better than the current scattered artwork and scribbled lists of “funny things they say” that I keep tacked on my fridge… and then shove in some folder, never to be seen or enjoyed again.
I took great pride in my work as a nurse. I loved doing my job well, from the smallest tasks (arriving on time, wearing neat scrubs, always having a pen handy) to the most significant, like really listening to my patients or addressing an emergency with quick wits, hard-earned skills, and trained expertise. I loved being a nurse that others relied on and enjoyed working with. I loved being a nurse that my patients recommended or requested. I took great pride in my intentionality and my professionalism.
I want to be the same way as a mother. There are fewer boundaries here. The job description includes everything and the kitchen sink. There’s no place to clock out at the end of a long shift.
But whether I incorporate all of Jamie’s ideas or just a few into my life, I do want to incorporate this: a sense of pride in my work done well. I want to aspire to be organized, be enthusiastic, learn together, and make memories together. Unlike some jobs, this job will end — my kids won’t be young forever! And I only get once chance to do this well.
So here’s to be a steady mom! Are you with me?