Before I begin this little excerpt about my own Rule of Life, I would like to say that I have one maxim I go by, reminding myself of it often. It is: “People are more important than things…and schedules, and accomplishments, etc.”
That being said, my thoughts on a Rule of Life:
I never heard of this term before until I picked up the book A Mother’s Rule of Life several years ago. I lived it, to a certain extent, but didn’t know what it was called.
One thing I so appreciated from that book was the part on the Spiritual Life…she talked about tithing your time to God.
She suggested a certain amount of time, 10% of your waking hours, that you dedicate to God …which I thought was pretty neat. It gave me something to go by and some kind of a goal.
It was then that I began to “journal” or write down my list on the spiritual things I wanted to accomplish throughout each day. And I would check them off as I went along. I was hung up on the numbers for awhile (making sure I got my “tithing” in) and then eventually that part fell by the wayside.
This began a habit in me that I have practiced for many years now…the writing down of what I wanted to accomplish spiritually each day. And this list-making reached out into other aspects of my life.
I firmly believe the spiritual duties we do each day are the foundation of any Rule of Life. It is at the top of my page each day in my Journal.
Here’s what mine looks like:
Morning Prayers (private)
Daily Mass, if possible (with children)
Mercy Chaplet (with children)
Family Rosary (with family)
Night Prayers (private)
In order to accomplish our spiritual things and the other things we need to do each day, we need to take care of our body.
How will we say our 15 minutes of Morning Prayer (if that’s what we have committed to) if we don’t get to sleep at a decent hour? It is valuable to put a time for rising on our list and sticking to it as much as we can. This will be difficult if the time for going to bed is ignored.
In the evening, there may be extenuating circumstances in raising a family…but we have to admit, a lot of the time we bring our fatigue on ourselves (talking to myself here). We lollygag at night, putting off going to bed for whatever reason and then, guess what?? We are too tired the next morning to get up and start the day right, with the first thing on our list….Morning Prayers. And then it goes downhill from there….Blah. So, remember, your accomplishments during the day and how well the day turns out begin the evening before!
This is what my “bodily” or “health” section looks like. It’s simple and doable:
Exercise (T-Tapp, a walk, tread milling, etc.)
Water (half a person’s body weight in ounces)
(You can add what time to bed, what time for rising and anything else that is important to you in this category)
Check them off as you do them!
Next is your household duties. The important stuff…and write it down. Mine probably looks different than yours does because I have girls who take over some of the big things. Here’s an example of what yours can begin with:
(Add to this section of your list as you see fit but just the important things…the MUST-DO’S.)
Keep things picked up in between time…maybe plan a 20 minute hoopla with the kids as everyone takes a room. This could be done more than once a day…and added to your list.
And then, added to the bottom of your list….one big thing, like clean fridge. ….but only for 15 minutes!
And do it for 15 minutes each day until it is done! Set the timer. Oftentimes we can’t make it through a whole big job…and we tend to avoid it if it is big. So…break it up into doable slots of time. I am always amazed at how much I get done in 15 minutes and how quickly these big jobs get accomplished. A great feeling, indeed!
I think this is valuable…..Zig Ziglar (who is a big guru in the positive motivational field) said to plan into your schedule time with your family. Yes, I know as busy mothers, we are always with our family, working hard for them each day, rubbing shoulders with them, etc. But maybe we could write down…20 minutes with kids…and spend that time building Lego, reading a story, telling a story, crafting or whatever. Those are the kind of things that, built into your rule of life, you will never regret.
So a recap of your categories on your list:
Most Necessary Housework Things we Can’t NOT Do (always excepting extenuating circumstances)
One Big Thing (for 15 minutes)
Time With Family Other things you’d like to accomplish
Just a mention…try to get in a little breather for yourself each day, whether it is doing a bit of crocheting or looking up a special website online. It’s important we recharge, too!
All the other little things you have to accomplish each day can revolve around this list. This is your go-to, your foundation. It won’t be perfect. That’s ok. And you can write the little things down, too. It’s great when we can check things off! And if you don’t get them done that day, put them on the next day and try again!
An Example List:
This may not be detailed enough for you. Here is the link to Holly Pierlot’s A Mother’s Rule of Life. It has been years since I read it, my daughter-in-law is reading it and loving it!
A quote from My Prayer Book, Father Lasance:
“One of the means,” says a spiritual writer, “of acquiring and perfecting in us the interior life, which raises a man above the merely terrestrial and animal life to the height of the divine life in Jesus Christ consists in adopting and following a rule of life, which does not leave the employment of our time to caprice, but assigns to each moment its own proper duty”
“Let all things be done decently and according to order.” says St. Paul. (1Cor. xiv. 40)
“Where there is no rule there is no order,” says Father Hamon. “We live by caprice and fancies. With a rule of life, on the contrary, all is done in an orderly manner; each duty has its proper time set apart for it; nothing is forgotten; nothing is done in haste or in a careless manner.
Thanks to a rule of life, all is done well; and that which is true in regard to order is equally so in regard to practices of piety.
With a rule of life they are done with exactitude; without a rule they have no fixed hour; we defer them, then we again defer them, and we finish by omitting them entirely.”
Creating a home filled with order and cleanliness (as much as is possible in your state of life and in your unique circumstances 😊)communicates a heart that is ordered and pure. Take a moment today to make your home more simply organized and see how the sweet savor blesses those around you. -Emilie Barnes, Keep It Simple for Busy Women http://amzn.to/2y2JoN3
These are three audios for my podcast that I am publishing here. I also have these available on youtube. I will let you know when the Podcast is up and running on Itunes. You can subscribe to my Youtube channel here.
Catholic Family Life:
Family Life, The Stripping of Self-Love
Mediation for Lent: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus