Hmm, I'm not sure where to start with this post. I've had quite a few strong responses that I wasn't expecting. The purpose of my post was NOT to throw my dad under the bus. He spoke the truth. Everything he said is exactly what I needed to hear. It hurt because it was true. I've been really self-absorbed with all the trials we've been through in the last couple of years. Like I said, it was all about getting up, making it through the day somehow, and waking up to do it all over again. I felt like a zombie. I really wasn't in tune with my kids, and didn't want to be because it took more energy than I had. It's not to say that I was neglectful physically - they ate, they bathed, they had clean clothes to wear. But, I'm not sure I was really there for them emotionally. Everyday, it was all I could to do keep enduring. What we went through took both of us to our breaking point, and then some. I was literally on the verge of snapping. Looking back I could see how selfish I really was. What my dad said was hard to hear, and the tears came because I knew he was right. It was time for me to snap out of it! (Maybe I wouldn't have listened if he hadn't been so blunt. Also, you have to recognize that he hasn't been around to see all the changes. For all he knew, it was same as usual.)
I think he might have been right about placing too many demands on Jason. I probably was because I didn't feel I had the energy to exert myself. At that point, I was desperate for any and all help. What I didn't see then was that he was just as depleted as I was. It wasn't fair for me to place so many demands on him.
As for a schedule, I don't expect it to be perfect 100%, either. It does help take the guesswork out of what to do next. I've learned that I do better, emotionally, when I have a full schedule. I get energized by it; I feel good to look back at my day and see all that I've accomplished. And, it's humbling to see Father magnify you beyond your capacity. Until I graduated from ASU, I didn't know what having a completely open schedule felt like. I have found that for myself, I cannot operate without an plan. I also recognize that some people function better without such demands. I don't. I have found that, for myself, I am more prone to get discouraged and depressed without one. I also realize that an hour-to-hour schedule is a bit excessive, but that part of it is more for Laci than myself. However, I do feel that it has helped me be far more in tune with my kids. There is a lot more 1-on-1 interaction because the activities are changning frequently. Instead of placing the kiddos in front of the TV while I get busy with household duties and what I feel I need to do that day, I'm doing more with them - crafting, coloring, watching movies/cartoons, taking walks or playing outside - with them. It's been really fun.
Nor do I expect my house to be perfectly clean all of the time. I agree with one comment, a house of order means spiritual order, which I think will automatically be in place if we are following the first steps in that verse. I was just bringing out what I learned about temporal order from Grandad's temple tour... it doesn't mean that I completely negate the fact that spiritual order is important. The two are very much intertwined; both suffer when one is neglected. Cleaning a little bit everyday is something I started a couple of years ago because of Jason's crazy work schedule. When he started his business he worked anywhere between 12-16 hours a day. If I waited around for him to help out like he did our first year of marriage - when his schedule was a lot less full - it would NEVER get clean. Or I would spend 12 hours if I waited to do it in 1 day. Not fun. I am a perfectionist and a clean-freak. (If any of my children inherit that from me, I'm going to feel bad for them. It does place a lot of undue stress and burden.) What I hope to pass on to my children is the importance of picking up after themselves for the very purpose that one day they will have room-mates, a spouse, children - who I'm sure won't want to live with a slob. On the other hand, I don't want them to feel like nothing can ever be out of place. So, hopefully, I'm creating a happy balance expecting them to straighten their rooms and make their beds in the morning and picking up toys in the evening before going to bed - but the rest of the day, they have free reign! (Well, mostly.)
Jason and I are more unified than we've ever been. (Even my dad commented on that, in a different conversation, during our AZ trip. So he wasn't all doom and gloom.) Jason pitches in with household duties and the kids from time to time. It's not a lot because of his work schedule - which still resembles his business owner hours - but I'm grateful for what he can do. We've grown closer over the last year than I ever thought possible a year ago. I've noticed that we've grown stronger as a couple because of our individual efforts to strengthen ourselves spiritually, emotionally, etc. It's not to say that we weren't trying to fill our cups before; but, they were quickly emptied because of what we were enduring. And, the Adversary is always ready to jump in when he sees an opportunity. I think recognizing the Lord's hand in the blessings we've received this last year, was the spiritual boost we needed. With nourishment, we've only grown stronger individually - and more capable to give to each other and our children. I've learned a lot of lessons these couple years that I wouldn't have learned otherwise. I'm grateful for the lessons, and very grateful the trials are over! Hopefully, when the next one rolls around, I will be better equipped to face it.
Whew! Hopefully that all made sense! But, I really hope that it will clear up any misconceptions that anyone had.