Three “Helps” To Keep You Going As You Train Yourself and Your Babes (DBS - Chapter 6 - Lack of Training) - Sarah Mae
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Three “Helps” To Keep You Going As You Train Yourself and Your Babes (DBS – Chapter 6 – Lack of Training)


My babes are my crew, and we do life together.

Yesterday my crew and I were driving home from the grocery store and I was thinking about how great it was that they could be with me while I shopped.

Sidenote: I have not always considered taking my babes grocery shopping with me “great.” Um, more like, not so great. More like, let me go by myself so I can get through the grocery shopping in less than an hour, without whining, potty breaks, “want-ies”, and so on. Also, going to the store by myself? Vacation! 

But now, now I’m pretty grateful I have them with me because I have the opportunity to teach them how to shop for groceries, and this weekly time I have with them, if I’m intentional about using the time well, will serve them in their future years.

Bonus: If I teach them to meal plan, shop, and cook, mama won’t have to cook every night! Score.

I love the idea of helping my children navigate life and homemaking and love and warmth. I want to be their guide, their advocate, their walk-along-side friend, mentor, and mama. I don’t have on rose-colored glasses about training them, and many days it I think I fail more than I succeed at training them, but I’m trying. I’m choosing to give it what I got, what I never had, and I’m doing it because I love them and want them to have strong foundations. I want them to go into their adult lives with real skills and knowledge of how to live practically in the day-to-day.

In Chapter 6, you read that both Sally and I had a lack of training for life – specifically in domestic skills. Sally thought that having children of her own and caring for a home would be like playing house, “like I did when I was a little girl.” I guess I shared that same mentality. I always wanted to be a mom and a homemaker, so I always assumed it would come naturally to me.

Um, no.

So so so very unnaturally to me is cleaning and organizing and being un-selfish, and playing with and training little ones. I have gone through a cycle in my “re-training”: pride (I can learn everything from a book and implement it seamlessly – it’s just a choice after all!) —–> self-reliance (I will get this all figured out, I will!) —–> faint-heartedness (I will get better…tomorrow) —–> resentment (why did you make the way I am God? I wish I was like so and so) —–> depression (I will never get it together, so why bother) —–> hope (I don’t have to be like anyone else, God made my personality and bents and He loves me and will help me), and finally —–> resolve (I will not change, but I will mature; I will take each day step-by-step by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit).

Sally’s perspective in Chapter 6 was a game-changer for me – she revolutionized my thinking when it comes to training. Here are three things I want to leave you with that have encouraged me and helped me to persevere and live lovingly and practically:

Three “Helps” To Keep You Going As You Train Yourself and Your Babes

1. Remember oxen.

Seriously. Solomon says in Proverbs 14:4, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean…”

Really, need I even comment? I’ll just say this, life with oxen children is messy, accept that the mess never ends…at least for more than 10 minutes.

“I need to decide to accept the work as a normal part of life and not struggle against it. The first step in dealing with the frustration of housework is to understand it is never going to go away.” -Sally Clarkson, p. 73, Desperate

2. “Five-sies”

I love love love what Sally calls, “Five-sies”! Part of me wants to say, “if you want to know what it is you will have to buy the book!” {wink wink} But I won’t do that (you should still buy the book though). 🙂

Here is what Sally says about “Five-sies”:

“We developed the practice of “Five-sies.” This meant that on most days, around five in the afternoon, I would set a timer for fifteen minutes, put on some music, give out assignments to the kids, and say, “If we can get the house mostly straightened in fifteen minutes, we will share a “Five-sies” snack.” When we were done cleaning, I would light a candle and put out a tray of cheese sticks, some sliced fruit, a few roasted nuts, or some whole grain crackers, and we would spend ten minutes of civility together. I made an anchor of it in my day in which I could get the main areas straightened up…”

“Five-sies” might look different for your family (for mine it’s hot chocolate), but the point is, give you and your babes something fun to look forward to each day as a reward for getting your home in order. The habit will become an anchor, and your babes will look forward to it every day, and they will remember it and probably start the tradition in their own families one day. Doesn’t that just make you smile? Me too.

3. Foundation of Love

What is the goal of your training? For me it is ultimately to create a foundation of love for my family and future generations. When we teach out babes basic skills, and we work alongside them, and invest in our domains and in each other, what we are doing is loving. We are loving God by loving others, we are loving our future grand-babies  our children’s spouses, and all those who encounter our family and their future families. If we can instill a depth of love and warmth into our children through our homes and our teaching, it will impact people…the world…for years to come. I like this, and it motivates me to keep on.

Your Turn!

  • Do you see yourself in the cycle of “re-training?” Where are you at in it?
  • Where do you feel like you most need training?

A Challenge!

  • Start implementing “Five-sies” this week and come back next Tuesday and tell us about it! I’ll have a linky where you can add your blog post about it, or you can leave a comment.

Thanks for hanging with me for another chapter! And remember mama, keep on!

desperatebook1-196x300You can purchase Desperate at Amazon, B & N, DaySpring, or where most books are sold.

“With Desperate, Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson touch the tender, innermost depths of a mother’s heart. Sarah Mae articulates the struggles that may have remained unspoken in all of us. She is courageous and breathtakingly honest while giving voice to the real challenges of motherhood and the frailty of a woman’s soul. Sally Clarkson answers those anguished thoughts with sage, sound, gentle mentoring and the kind friendship of a woman who has walked the same path. Together, they offer today’s desperate (or even simply soul-weary) mothers hope, encouragement, and a tangible roadmap for navigating the rough paths along motherhood’s journey.”

—Elizabeth Foss,
author, Small Steps for Catholic Momsand Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home

Past Book Study Posts:

Tantrums in Barnes & Noble, The Motherhood Nod, and Being Rocked (Desperate Book Club – Introduction)

Desperate Online Book study, Chapter 1: Ideals and Going Under

Chapter 2: Not a Loner!

Chapter 3: Will We Live By Formula or Faith?

Chapter 4: Light a Candle, Don’t Curse the Darkness (Battling Depression)

Chapter 5: We See the Holes but God Sees the Holy

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P.S. Today over at We Are That Family, Kristen is giving away 5 copies of Desperate! WOOT! Head here to enter!

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  • Sarah

    Love the idea of five-sies! I struggle with making clean-up time fun, so I’ll give this a try!

    I most need to do better in understanding how much my 3 year old can comprehend. She’s got a great vocabulary, so I tend to think she “gets it” more than she actually does. That leads to a frustrated mama and a sad baby girl. We’ll get there, though!

    • Sarah Mae

      Sarah, Sally says that it takes a toddler 30 seconds to connect the dots between what you’re saying and how that applies to them! I’m assuming she read it somewhere, but interesting, eh? You are a good mama, hang in there! 🙂

      • Sarah

        Will try pausing to let her little mind connect the dots today. Thank you for this tidbit, Sarah Mae! I so appreciate your heart for moms.

  • Myriah Christine

    This year for homeschooling, I’ve implemented three-sies, where we put a final note on the school day with a prayer, clean up time, and snack. It’s nice to have an afternoon ritual to make an official transition between school time and play time, which is difficult since we don’t “go” anywhere to transist. The kids enjoy it the afternoon treat and I get to unwind.

    • Sarah Mae

      Love it! Great job, mama!

  • Julie Bloyd

    That chapter was EXACTLY the word I needed today! God’s timing is amazing. He knew that when you wrote that chapter so many months ago that I would be reading it on the day I needed to hear those words. Thank you and Sally!

    • Sarah Mae

      That is so cool! So glad it met you where you were!

  • Elizabeth

    My mom taught us to work diligently and strangely enough, it still comes hard at times to keep a house running smoothly! One thing that has worked really well for me as the kids get older and enjoy independant work is this: I divided our house into three zones and my girls and I each have a few rooms to manage. At 5:00 we spend maybe 15 min. checking our zones and picking up where needed, and if we do that every day, the whole house comes back to basic order for the evening and with minimal effort. This wraps up with supper and a relaxing evening which is kind of like our reward. The little boys help us, but we like having our own section to manage and I find the one responsible for that area tends to keep it up throughout the day too. 🙂 As kids grow up, it is more fun to have an area or list of jobs to own rather than always being someone’s helper so this has worked well for us, when we do it!! 🙂 By the way, I absolutely love the book, as do many of my friends who are quickly buying them too. Such a beautful blend of older and younger perspectives, makes it truly a one-of-a-kind book on mothering. It oozes with inspiration and breathes life! Thank you!

    • Sarah Mae

      That is such a great idea! What ages were your girls when you started doing this, dividing up the zones for them?

  • Cynthia

    As a child, nothing was required of me either. It was easy to play house when it was just my husband and I, but once we went back to school and began a family…oh boy! I think I am digging our way out of the pit now. For me, chore charts for the older kids works great. Also, owning less stuff. We always have a give away bag in the works. It doesn’t come naturally to me, and I appreciated this chapter!

    • Sarah Mae

      I am all about getting rid of stuff. I would rather have a few things and a smaller house – less to clean!

    • Hollie

      Ah! We are also learning to live with less. Great point.

  • Carlyn

    I agree with Elizabeth (on all of it!). 🙂 Our afternoon is very much the same and it has worked wonderfully. We began implementing it only about 6 months ago (before that, we all just had a decent list of morning chores). Now, everyone (myself and 4 of our 5 kiddos) have a few things in the A.M. to get the day going and we all have an evening “zone.” The basics of the whole house come together w/ very little effort around 5:00. The boys often need a “partner” to encourage them and keep them on track. 🙂 This has helped a lot also if we have company coming over. Everyone knows which area to check and how to put things in order quickly. I’ve learned, in general, that even when things look like they’re falling apart during the day (and I may be on the edge of falling apart myself!), it doesn’t take as much to get it back together as I would think!! It also makes for a peaceful evening. We do no “rewards.” I guess the “reward” is just having things tidy and hopefully enjoying some snuggles on the couch for some read-aloud time after dinner. 🙂 So far, it works!

    Also, just a quick comment about the “re-training.” I’m a momma to 5 (ages 11 months to 11 years). I’ve read a lot. Thought a lot. And, of course, brought things before the Lord in prayer. I never realized I was stuck in this cycle. My thought’s look like that every day. It was my own thought-cycle put into words as if I had never before “thought about what I was thinking about.” I do sometimes make it to the “hope” part – and once in a while the “resolve.” However, I tend to live (unaware) in one of the others. I guess you could say it’s like believing a lie. You get so used to it, you just think it’s true. This is a much needed wake up call and something I need to bring before the Lord in prayer. Thank you!

    • Sarah Mae

      You are so encouraging! Thank you for your comment – I feel more motivated already to keep up so we don’t fall apart during the day! As for the re-training, I think I might write more about this…

  • Hollie

    This book has been such a blessing, and I particularly loved this chapter. I have two little ones (3.5 and the other just turned one on Monday <3) and three days of the week I am also caring for another 3 year old and just started taking care of her two month old little brother. Translate that to – I have more mess to pick up than just my own family! 🙂 Yesterday afternoon I went into my daughter's room to find that she and the other 3yo put ALL of her books in her bed. Having read this chapter, I was able to take a breath and use this as a training moment on how to put books in a bookshelf. 🙂 I think, for me, it's just maintainting the training, loving perspective. Your three points above are perfect and I think I'm going to print them out and put them on my fridge for a daily reminder. We don't have anything formal like five-sies that we do at this point – I've been feeling very "by the seat of my pants" – so I'm excited to implement it!! Thanks, ladies! 🙂

  • Amy Picerno

    Any mommas out there who work outside the home who have suggestions on how to keep things running-not perfect, but functional? With my husbands schedule and responsibilities, all the household stuff falls to me, though im working three days a week myself and sometimes the chaos is just downright intolerable!

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