How I attended a conference while cleaning my bathroom…

 

I’ve been having a great time today listening to talks on my iPad from the free online Catholic conference for moms…while folding laundry, cooking dinner, and yes, even cleaning the bathroom..my evening office! 😉 It’s like having awesome, interesting friends over for coffee to keep you company while you go about your work.

I highly recommend this encouraging conference for moms, which still has three days left. The theme is “Beyond Survival, Into Revival.” Once you register with your email, you’ll be sent the link and password to the talks for that day. Then you just watch whichever ones you like, when you like that day.

So here are few quick notes I jotted down after I finished scrubbing the bathtub…while speakers on my iPad cheered me on from the bathroom stool! 😉  Just to give you an idea of a few of the talks..these aren’t comprehensive.

“Nothing steals a mom’s joy more than comparison.” Stephanie Wood Weinart.

I loved Stephanie’s talk about the three things that rob mothers of joy: comparing ourselves to other moms, isolating ourselves, and getting addicted to the internet as a form of escape.

She stressed the importance of accepting ourselves as we are, as the ones God chose to raise our kids, without beating ourselves up with self-doubt.  She also encouraged us to pray for close, supportive friendships from a few fellow moms who can be our kindred spirits, the ones we lean on. And finally she reminded us of the joyful freedom that comes from putting away our smartphones and really playing with our children, looking into their eyes and rejoicing in them.

Sherry Antonetti spoke on the question “What is a mom?” She said the essence is loving people. Yes, there’s endless work but it’s not a sacrifice to be surrounded by people who love you. Don’t be burdened by the minutiae or the isolation, or become a taskmaster.

Reach out, spend time with your kids, ‘waste time’ with them ‘waste time’ with God. Put those things on your to do list. Waste time taking kids to the park, reading them books or painting your daughters’ toenails…it means the world to them because you are spending time with them. At the end of the day, those “wasted” moments are the real measure of success.

Mary Stanford spoke on the theology of the body, and the importance of being truly present to each other. She said the body is a gift which represents the presence of our person. It’s a bit like the way the bringing cookies to someone represents our friendship, being a physical embodiment of a spiritual reality.

We come to truly know ourselves only in relationship to others. When we reveal our inner selves to those we love, we come to know who we truly are. This kind of deep self-revelation can only really be done in person, and helps prevent objectifying others.

Don’t let electronic deceives remove your presence from those you’re actually physically with, the ones God has placed by your side. Be an example to your kids of being present, looking in their eyes, truly listening with your whole body, and not while half scrolling the latest Facebook feed.

The body is like a moral thermometer…while not the source of shame, it is the place shame is expressed, for example by blushing. It is where we feel if something is right or wrong. When people communicate primarily on social media, they can’t read the cues on other people’s body’s, and trample through delicate matters without realizing.  That’s why young people share intimate things online, or bully others as they wouldn’t in person. It’s as if their moral sensor is turned off.  To mature and develop ourselves, we need to have friendships where we see people face to face.

Overall I was very happy with these great talks and with my day, and felt encouraged that besides some cleaning and homeschooling, I also “wasted” time in laughing with my kids, playing outside with them and reading lots of Narnia before bed. Hope you’ll join the conference tomorrow (and until Monday) and be encouraged that you, too, despite all your struggles, are a great mom. 🙂

The Catholic Conference for Moms

If you miss some talks, or want to later share them with friends or a mom’s group, you have the option of buying the conference package after, and using the code “Crazyland” will get you $10 off. I’m definitely planning to get it myself, because I think these short talks will be perfect for discussion at my parish mom’s group.

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