Martha vs. Mary parenting has prompted me to re-evaulate

By Dawn Cusimano,

Sometimes, I lament to my husband that I’m “such a Martha,” always keeping myself busy and letting little distractions get in the way of my ability to be in the present moment and hear God’s voice.

This includes my parenting, where I’m often the “Martha” who shops for and labels all of the school supplies, plans out the “perfect” lessons, keeps the children on task, cleans and organizes the house and prepares the meals, chauffeurs the kids around to all the extra-curriculars, gives the baths, shops for birthdays and holidays, etc. 

While keeping busy with the “urgent” stuff, I miss out on more meaningful things because of trying impress others with my Pinterest-worthy class Valentines, clean bathroom grout and meals cooked from scratch.

Meanwhile, my husband enjoys our children. He plays the guitar and dances with our girls. He takes our boys outside to play catch. He pushes the youngest children on the swings. He sits down at night to read with them.

I yearn to join in, but that would mean I would have to stop picking up and putting away things for a few minutes and relax.

I keep thinking, “Someday, I will finally get everything done and have time to enjoy with my family.” That elusive “someday” feeds the meter so I can continue as I have. 

However, none of us are promised tomorrow. I realize that time is precious. 

Lately, I’ve been trying my best to be more “Mary-like” by focusing on the more meaningful things and letting some of the busy tasks go undone. 

It hasn’t been easy, but the joy and fulfillment I’ve gained by sitting down with each child individually to read or work on something together has been amazing.

Painting alongside my daughter or baking muffins with my toddler might seem simple, but the benefits are immeasurable.

I’ve also been trying, with mixed success, to set aside reflection time each day for just God and me. I ask him to guide me in planning my day.

I strive to get the balance right between the urgent things that must get done right away and the important things like stopping and focusing on my children.

The Martha-ness still creeps in, and, probably, will continue to do so from time to time. 

I’m praying that God will continue to give me the grace to focus on what really matters before these valuable years slip away.

Fortunately, Mary and Martha both became saints, so at least I’m in good company either way as I balance these competing priorities on my life.

Dawn Cusimano loves sharing her faith with her growing family. She is happily married for 12 years to David and living in a semi-clean home with four kids who eat lots of cereal. Baby No. 5 was born Jan. 11. In her free time … no, wait, never mind! This is her second year on a homeschooling adventure involving multiple extended international family trips with, hopefully, more to come. In her free time, Dawn enjoys swimming, reading, traveling, baking and playing games with her kids.

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