I am reading Little Town on the Prairie and it is always so helpful to see Ma's lifestyle and parenting skills because they really contrast starkly to current parenting styles. I read a part in which Laura is getting a calf to drink milk, a regular morning chore for her. The description sounded exactly like my life right now: constant messes, little children learning to do things, my clothes and theirs getting dirty. Except Laura is really calm and doesn't get upset, and I see red every time there is a mess or a spill. Especially since Davy was born, I have been uncomfortably more aware of my own shortcomings. It seems to get that way more and more. Yet I am feeling grateful for this awareness too, because that means I have to really take time away from my kids for my spiritual life. And the problem is in me, not in THEM, not in our circumstances, not in not having my dream life conditions right now. There is so much I have to do on my part.
From Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder:
"Teaching the calf to drnk was not easy, but always interesting. The wobbly-legged baby calf had been born believing that it must butt hard with its litle red poll, to get milk. So when it smelled milk in the pail, it tried to butt the pail.
Laura must keep it from spilling the milk, if she could, and she had to teach it how to drin, becasue it didn't know. She dipped her fingers into the milk and let the calf's rough tongue suck them, and gently she led its nose down to the milk in the pail. The calf suddenly snorted milk into its nose, sneezed it out with a whoosh that splashed milk out of the pail, and then with all its might it butter into the milk. It butted so hard that Laura almost lost hold of the pail. A wave of milk went over the calf's head and a splash wet the front of Laura's dress.
So, patiently she began again, dipping her fingers for the calf to suck, trying to keep the milk in the pail and to teach the calf to drink it. In the end, some of the milk was inside the calf." (chapter "Springtime on the claim")
"'This earthly life is a battle,' said Ma. 'If it isn't one thing to contend with, it's another. It has always been so, and it always will be. The sooner youmake up your mind to that, the better off you are, and the more thankful for your pleasures.'" (chapter "Blackbirds")