The Purpose Driven Wife (and mother)

17 Oct

Oy, that is probably the world’s cheesiest title, and it’s probably been done before. Nevertheless, it’s the best I can do at the moment and so it shall stay.

Today we’re talking about intentionality. Living with purpose. Making the best with what we’ve got. You probably get the idea. But I’m going to expand upon it anyway, because if I left it at that, this post would be nothing more than a cheesy title. I must rise to the challenge of giving you some food for thought. Some food other than cheese, that is.

In case any of you have just emerged from living under a rock (or living without wifi – same thing), allow me to fill you in on some history-making news from this week. There’s this guy, Felix Baumgartner, who free-fell from a space pod at the edge of the stratosphere. That’s approximately a crapzillion feet up – pretty much as far up as you can go and still have gravity (which, I guess is a requirement in the whole free-falling thing). You are by now amazed at my technical expertise on the subject, but let me astound you a wee bit more by clearing up a slight misnomer. Everyone is saying he “jumped”. I’ve seen the footage, folks. He really just let himself fall. That’s not jumping. But I digress.

Felix Baumgartner has made a name for himself. People will recognize him for the rest of his life. People will recognize his name and remember his stamp on history. As a professional daredevil, he has built his career and achieved something big. It’s not the same dream that I have, but I do have to at least admire the cool factor of his claim to fame. (I personally have a dream to become a professional spa critic, so if any of you readers out there are spa owners, please feel free to fly me to any worldwide location, give me the royal treatment for a couple of days – I must be thorough, after all – and I will be honoured to write up a professional critique of services rendered. Oops. I digress again.)

I am impressed with Mr. Baumgartner’s determination to work towards this stunt and see it through. The advancements that he and his team have made in scientific development and space travel are to be commended. They are not advancements that I care deeply about on a personal level, but I’m not going to criticize his choices and goals.

I hold less admiration for a few other “celebrities” whose claims to fame really make me shake my head in bewilderment. I’m looking at you, Snooki and Honey Boo Boo. (I know, I know. Sometimes life is overwhelming and our minds need a little vacation. That’s evident enough in half my posts. But if Honey Boo Boo is your particular escape of choice, we can no longer be friends.)

Let us also consider those who will forever be remembered for that one very stupid decision. I’m looking at you, Monica Lewinsky.

And of course there are others who have dedicated their entire lives to something unfathomably useless. I’m looking at you, Madame Tussaud.

None of these ladies’ priorities make sense to me. How do they wake up each day and say, “This is the best that I can do with the life that I’ve been given”? But my dumbfoundedness at their decisions and my awe for Mr. Baumgartner’s history-making stunt both serve to make me examine my own life.

I am sure I’m not alone when I ask, “Is my life worthwhile? Am I doing something purposeful with the limited time that I have on this earth?”  It is so easy to let days, weeks, and then years go by in complacency while we look ahead to the great things that we’ll do after we get married, after we start a family, after our kids are grown, after retirement… But that’s not good enough for me. I want my time to count right now.

I am an at-home mom and sometimes that feels more like drudgery than brilliant breakthroughs. I don’t always feel like I’m accomplishing anything worthwhile when I’m at home washing laundry. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, I choose to do my best with what I have in each season of my life. My schedule has fluctuated through the years. At various stages of my motherhood, I have had more and less time to commit to community service and I have had more and less money to donate to worthy causes. But the consistency lies in looking for ways that I can do my best with what I have right now.

Eight years ago, I had two preschoolers at home, but I had plenty of time on my hands to volunteer with an AIDS awareness organization. Six years ago, we had flexibility in our location and career demands, so we moved to Ethiopia to work in an HIV/AIDS clinic. Five years ago, we had a stable home and healthy family so we offered to share that with two Ethiopian children who desperately needed exactly that. Four years ago, I had a mother-in-law who wanted to spend weekly time with our last pre-schooler so I had time to volunteer at our local pregnancy centre. One year ago we had a wide-open future, ministry-wise, so we connected with a group of people who were planting a new church in a poor area of a nearby city.

I want to do my very best with what I have right now. That includes how we spend our money. I am not the breadwinner of the family, but I am the one who does most of the shopping. I have the power to make a difference – or at the very least, make a statement – with where our money goes. How can I do my very best with that responsibility?  I can make sure I’m not a blind, mindless consumer.

Here is an interesting article on child  labour in the chocolate industry’s supply chain.

Boycotting the big chocolate companies may not be the perfect answer, but this is worth discussing. It is worth looking into further. It is worth being more mindful about what chocolate I buy. The same can be said for what coffee I buy, what shoes I buy, what jeans I buy etc.

This article is also worth some deep consideration. I know it’s several years old, so some things may have changed in the meantime. I want to know about those changes. I want to know if companies that I am supporting are doing harm or good in the world with the dollars that I have sent their way.

I have been vocal in other forums about my disgust with Sears Canada’s promotion of pornographic branding towards teen and tween girls in their Christmas Wishbook. I will be vocal about it here as well. I have made my opinion known to Sears Canada and I choose to back it up by not shopping there until they change their stance on this issue. It may or may not make a difference, but it’s something that I can do with what I’ve got.

My husband and I arrange our budget so that we can support various organizations that are doing great work in Canada and around the world. We can’t give a lot, but what we can give, we want to be used with integrity. We want our money to meet the needs of sick, marginalized or impoverished people – not to pad the pockets of CEO’s and other uppity-ups working in the western offices of charities that then put a smaller percentage towards the needs of the actual needy people. Here’s a great website for checking up on how Canadian charities spend their money:

I hope this triggers a few ideas of how you can do your very best with what you’ve got right now. If you’re looking for some specific causes that you can support or advocate for, I plan on sharing some of my favourites with you in my next post.

In the meantime, I will be free-falling into my favourite reality vacation, Survivor. Don’t judge me.


Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Family, Mission/Aid work


Tags: , , , , ,

9 responses to “The Purpose Driven Wife (and mother)

  1. Colette Schwenk

    October 17, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    So, I’m guessing that it’s not a bad thing that I have no idea who Snooki and Honey Boo boo are. Who comes up with these names anyways? Thanks Anita for challenging and encouraging me in my stay-at home mom role. The enemy sure likes to have us question whether our stay at-home status is worthy or not. At the same time we need to be accountable to the time at home we are given and use it to God’s glory.

    • Anita Neuman

      October 17, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      Oh yes, being accountable with our time home with the kids. That’s the balanced other side of the issue that I neglected to mention. I would make a terrible journalist. 🙂

  2. Karen Looby

    October 17, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been thinking/praying/pondering about the chocolate/child labour issue since I became aware of it recently. It is an issue that we cannot ignore, so thank you for mentioning it. This is an area where I know I must do my best with what I have right now. I know that we often feel that we can’t make big changes in the world, but we do have the responsibility to do what we can. Thanks for being vocal – and in such a riveting and charming way 🙂 !

  3. Shelby Somers

    October 17, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Yup. I agree wholeheartedly!

  4. Sue Balfour

    October 17, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Who is Snooki and Honey Boo Boo?

    • Anita Neuman

      October 17, 2012 at 9:04 PM

      Snooki is from “Jersey Shore” and HBB is from “Toddlers& Tiaras”. I have not seen either show – just promotional clips. And I want those minutes of my life back.

  5. Jcmmanuel

    October 19, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    These are fantastic blogs. I learned about cheese for thought. I learned that (my) living under a rock could be related to (my sporadic) lack of Wifi.I learned that gravity is probably “a requirement in the whole free-falling thing”. Not to mention the insight that falling is not the same thing as jumping. And of course, I was so happy that I didn’t even know who “Boo Boo” is (I wouldn’t want a person with such a name putting me at risk of “no longer being friends” with you – that is just so unacceptable!) – By the way, for some reason I felt instantly happy not to know Madame Tussaud either. It just didn’t feel right to know her. However, having said this – here’s the serious thing: reading the phrase “We want our money to meet the needs of sick, marginalized or impoverished people” is what I found the real freaking thing – pursuing this particular Jesus thing, a compassionate heart. Believe it or not, but I would wriggle out of my beloved place under a rock and embrace you for this. 😀

    • Anita Neuman

      October 19, 2012 at 9:46 PM

      I am just tickled that I could enlighten you on so many things. Here’s one more: Madame Tussaud makes life-sized wax statues of celebrities. I find that boggling. Anyway, thanks – as always – for your delightful comments. And I hope your rock is nice and cozy warm with this cold, wet weather blowing in!

      • Jcmmanuel

        October 20, 2012 at 7:39 AM

        Thanks for the heads up on Madame Tussaud – that’s pretty freakish and in fact I’m now considering covering myself entirely with wax and paying her a visit. Maybe that’s also the solution to feel cozy warm under my rock. You go girl.


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