Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to be a Lazy Mom

It kind of runs contrary to what the Proverbs 31 Woman is all about. And it is not a title I would have chosen. But four years ago Joshua told me I should write a book called How to be a Lazy Mom.

We were walking home from the grocery store together and he was struggling a bit with the heavy bags I had loaded him down with. He was probably thinking that my bags seemed comparatively lighter and was reflecting on how much I liked to delegate work to my kids. So he told me that I should write a book to help other Moms learn how they too could become lazy by getting their kids to do all of their work for them.

My preference for a book title would have been a little more positive, like How to Raise Capable Children. But Joshua’s title is definitely catchy.

Two years ago, after we moved to Lanzhou, all three kids and I were out shopping for some apartment necessities when we saw this decorative hot plate in a little shop:

We thought it was funny, and the kids decided to buy it for me as a birthday present. It sits on the bottom shelf on our coffee table, and one guest commented after visiting with us for a few days that it seemed to be the motto of our home.

I think you know, the truth is I don’t want to be a lazy mom. I grew up in a family where laziness was frowned upon, and because of my genes and upbringing, I value productivity and efficiency just like my parents do. So How to be a Lazy Mom doesn’t sit well with me. My natural desire is to be a high capacity Proverbs 31 kind of woman, but migraine pain has changed my lifestyle and pace of life. The positive side is that it has helped me appreciate the value of being more than doing. I am not a perfectionist like I used to be, and I have learned to give myself grace instead of evaluating myself by how much I am able to accomplish.

What have my kids learned from me?

These are some lessons that I hope they learn:

Not to be consumed with perfection.
But at the same time, how to strive for excellence to please God.
Not to do half-hearted or sloppy work.
But to do their work “as unto the Lord” even when no one is watching.
How to find the right balance of being and doing.
How to have a sense of identity not based on their performance, but on being a son/daughter of the King.
The blessing of serving others.
And the blessing of receiving help when they are in need.
The importance of soul rest and reflection to grow deeper in their relationships with God.
How to receive God’s grace and then to extend that grace to themselves and to others. Compassion.

Our kids are not perfect, and they still have arguments now and then about chore distribution. But I was amazed on the day after we arrived in Lanzhou that our kids initiated coming up with a chore schedule. They held their own meeting after we got to the village last spring as well to determine what chores were necessary there and how to divide them. A huge blessing to me when I am out of commission is that our kids can keep the house going with shopping, meals, cleaning and laundry, in addition to their home schooling. Life goes on without me. Overall, our kids have risen to the occasion in the absence of a high-capacity-juggling-all-the-balls-with-ease Supermom. They have had the opportunity to grow in ways they wouldn’t have otherwise. We can see how God works all things together for good. Blessing in the pain.

A few weeks ago, I shared during my class at the mosque that my greatest feeling of success comes when I see my children truly loving others. When I observe them serving on their own initiative. Like when Joshua volunteers now to carry the heaviest bags for me back from the grocery store. Or asks to carry a guest’s luggage up all of our stairs. When our kids don’t have to be reminded (or forced) to do work, but can find real joy in helping someone else, I feel successful as a (lazy) mom.


  1. That is so encouraging to see God's strength being made perfect in your weakness. And I must get one of those hot plates!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Ann. If I see one of these hot plates again, I will definitely buy one for you!



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