Parenting Priorities

backyard fun

Growing up, I never observed Lent. But having many Catholic friends means that Lent is now on my radar.

The traditional purpose of Lent (according to that bastion of spiritual expertise, Wikipedia) is for a Christian to engage in concentrated prayer, penance, repentance, and self-denial. Hence the 40-day fasting and/or making of resolutions.

Since college, many of my friends have observed Lent out of a spirit of camaraderie with and respect for religious friends. I’ve always tried to adhere to my friend Theresa’s interpretation: “don’t use it as an excuse to jumpstart a diet. Jesus isn’t Jenny Craig. Pick something that helps you to be mindful about the quality of your life and the intention with which you live it.”

In the past, I’ve tried to give up both whining and gossip. It’s never worked. (Shocking, I know!)

This year, I am ostensibly adding something–40 days of more time spent playing with my daughter. Clearly, though, that time will have to come from somewhere else. Less Facebook, less cleaning… I’m going to have to shift my priorities to find some mommy-daughter fun time.

Clearly, I won’t give up all cleaning. For one thing, the more I play with Sweet Pea, the more I notice her grubby little fingernails. She rolls and picks up tons of carpet or floor lint (note to self: mop more often!)

She’s also at the perfect height for under-couch exploratory work. So, yes. I will have to continue my efforts to minimize her exposure to petrified popcorn and monster dust bunnies.

But I always intended to enjoy parenthood, not to treat it like a chore. Does my daily life match up to this lofty goal? Sadly, no. Hence the Lenten resolution.

And at this point, changing my ways means getting as much floor time with Sweet Pea as possible. So quiet down, ambitions. Closet, stay disorganized. The next 40 days are about ring stackers, stroller walks, and stuffed animals!

Are you observing Lent? If so, how?