A Mother's Rule of Life (Brick by Brick)

Time is running out and I've got to get this blog post out, as promised, on the work I've done on my Mother's Rule. It looks like that move we were going to make almost a month ago is going to happen in a couple days.  We signed papers today on the Feast of the Sacred Heart at 3 PM (the hour of great Mercy). 

The idea of a Mother's Rule of Life came from a book by Holly Pierlot by the same title.  In it she writes: 
"A Rule of Life is a traditional Christian tool for ordering one's vocation. Found most often in religious community life, a Rule can also be used by laypeople- whose state in life is no less a calling from God. It consists primarily in the examination of one's vocation and the duties it entails, and the development of a schedule for fulfilling these responsibilities in a consistent and orderly way."
Interspersed with her own spiritual journey, Peirlot defines five different areas in a mother's vocation that are her responsibility: Prayer, Person, Partner, Parent, Provider. She gives practical advice, but more importantly helps the reader to understand the idea of a Rule and an individuals path to sanctity. 

At the beginning of June, I enthusiastically began to put most of my thought and energy into planning my very own Rule for my very own vocation as wife to Adam and mother to Grace, Clare, and Eli.  I knew when I started that my Rule would be unique because I am unique and so is my family and our circumstances. 

The first step I made was to pull out my notebook and spread all the past schedules, chore charts and plans I've made.  Luckily I've kept almost every one. 

Although this seemed like a good idea at the time, when I looked at them all, I panicked. That pile of papers represented all my attempts and failures at order and peace in our home.  

I wrote the following in my journal that day: 
"I'm nervous about this whole thing. I've made one million schedules in the past and always fail to stick with them. I have an ideal in my mind, but don't have the will power to stick with it, let alone enforce it."
The next page in my journal is one of the many schedules I tried to hammer out. Pierlot says early on in the book to just get started and so I did. However, I started the way I always have, by making charts and schedules. One night, after an hour of laboring over a schedule and getting nowhere, I decided to make one more before I fell asleep.  This time my focus was on myself and my prayer schedule. By focusing only on those two things, especially the prayer, I finally felt like I was making some progress.

At the end of the first week I wrote this in my journal:
"Wow. What a struggle and a work this first week has been. I spent a good amount of time crying out to God for the grace to do this. I fear I can never squeeze my family into a Rule."
Again I spent some time in prayer, and God, in His gentle way, said to me, "If you build it, they will follow. Build it peacefully, brick by brick." With those words I finally felt confident that my Rule will eventually come together. It will take time. I will have to adjust and adjust and adjust, but brick by brick it will get done.

So, that's where I'm at right now with the Rule. I have been pretty consistent with my scheduled prayer time which is the most important part. From there the bricks are laid one by one. On the fridge hangs a schedule made with sticky notes and pencil so, as I go through the day, I can tweak things here and there until it flows in a natural and peaceful way.

Now I'll have to take some time off because of our move and then some travel. I look forward to getting back to work!

If you plan to read Holly Pierlot's book and make your own Rule, I'd love hear your thoughts. I'd love to hear your thoughts anyway so go ahead, comment below. :)


  1. i have a kahlil gibran quote that hangs above my bathroom mirror: "your daily life is your temple and your religion." your post brings it to mind. :o) i would guess that those previous one million schedules do not represent failures so much as bricks you have already laid, lower down in the foundation you are building.

  2. Great article...
    You have done a great work.


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