I had an opportunity to speak this morning at an American Mothers Christmas Brunch. I took a few moments to talk about how we moms set the tones for our homes and our families...and that the Christmas Season seems to be when the natural tone of our culture seems to one that is frazzled. Below is what inspired my words.
I remember distinctly standing at the stove trying to make dinner, incredibly crabby after a day with young children that seemed to have no end. My poor innocent, hard working husband walked in the door and was immediately assaulted with a barrage of complaints and commands.
He immediately used his large, loud dad voice to begin directing kids - which created more chaos and anger within me. I looked at him and said something along the lines of needing him to come in and be the one to bring the calm and peace (possibly using my nagging wife voice). Again, poor him. Imagine walking in, excited to see your family, you are assaulted before you can even put down your briefcase, you try to help and are assaulted again.
What he said has stuck with me all these years.
He said that I set the tone for the home and that when he walks in the door and I am at full throttle he just jumps in and gets up to speed as fast as he can.
I also remember what I said next, "Well that's not fair."
Whether its fair or not isn't really of any consequence. It is reality. As the mom who stays home all day and manages all that I do to run our family and our home, I do really set the tone. That doesn't mean he's off the hook and doesn't have any responsibility to redirect our course when we are heading towards the guardrail. I mean whose going to jump in the car heading off of a cliff? But he has no control over what he simply walks into at the end of his day - that's all me. Others (as in my kids) may influence that tone, but as the adult I'm the one charged with directing that influence.
Honestly, some days this feels like too much responsibility. I want to walk in the door and have someone else set the tone...and have dinner ready. (said the mom in a whiny voice) But he's right, it's my responsibility nonetheless. There is so little in life we get to control - there are so many influences that our kids face that we don't even know about. But I do have control over the tone and feel of our home. I get to use these walls and that door as barrier and create a sanctuary for us from the world.
I'm not saying this is easy or comes naturally. In fact, this can be quite challenging on a normal day. And now its December ~ and Christmas is coming. Culture is shouting, SHOP! BAKE! GET A TREE! HANG LIGHTS! DECORATE! PARTY! WRAP! SHOP! SHOP! SHOP! We can easily feel frazzled, overwhelmed and cranky while trying to create memories of peace, family and love. Ironic.
But, what I am saying is that with intention, we can set the tone for which we hope in our homes and families. It takes intention because if I let whatever is going on around me (or even within me) set the course, it could feel chaotic, crabby or even cold.
My encouragement to myself (because I needed this message today) and to you is this - think and pray about the tone for which you are hoping in your daily life and in this season. Then ask for some Holy Spirit whispers to help you achieve that along the way. Whether you have kids at home and the Spirit may need to shout a little, or whether your kids are grown and you will be bringing your tone to their homes over the holidays, as moms, we do indeed set a tone with our families. May it be the one we desire and may it be one that creates the calm and bright we sing of on Christmas Eve.