Feeling rushed, 

we swing through a drive through...
"Would you like to add an apple pie to your order today?"

A unanimous "Hurray!" sounds from the back seats
with echos of  
"Thanks, Mom!"
"Mom, you're the greatest!"
and (my favorite)
"You're the best mommy in the whole world ever."

It sure is easy to be the "world's greatest mom"...

Fast food, 
hours the TV,
giving in to the "please, oh please" in check-out line,
letting them stay up w-a-y past bed time,

... the kids would love it!

Yup, sure is easy 
in the short term.

Fast food and homemade pies,
they're basically the same:
apples, sugar, cinnamon, flour,
but there's no comparison,

Busy moms and make-time-moms,
also no comparison,
but there is no substitute.

There's something to be said for being the "worst-est mom ever" (to quote a dear friend's preschooler, now high-school-graduate).  They are the mamas who "have eyes in the back of their head", and sneaky little ones feel like they can "never get away with anything".  "Mean Mamas" choose the long, hard road rather than the short cut with a quick-fix.

Lord, help me

  • be wise enough to not compromise in an attempt to be popular with my children.
  • be self-disciplined enough to correct them right away rather than let disobedience slide.
  • be determined enough to not react or cave to whining or begging... not once, not ever.
  • be sober enough to not call sin "cute" or "funny".
  • be attentive and patient enough to recognize the deeper issue beneath the outburst:  tiredness, embarrassment, loneliness.
  • balance justice and mercy, to know when a spanking and when a hug is in order.
  • error on the side of grace rather than legalism.
  • prioritize, to invest my energy into listening to, playing with, laughing with, singing with, reading to, and delighting in my children. 
...because I know that when it comes to parenting, the quick-fix will turn out to be the harder, more painful road in the end.

Just because I "stay home" doesn't mean I don't cut corners.  It's not so much about employment or making everything from scratch.  When my heart is at home, I make the tough choices.     Frozen pies, ready made crusts, or bakery fresh? - That's not the question.  It's more about heart and affection, time and attention.  Even homemade has short-cuts, but there is no quick-fix if the heart isn't home.
It has been years since I used my speedy "apple peeler/corer/slicer".  With a gathering crowd watching and waiting to see it the apple they picked will peel in one l-o-n-g slice, eager hands stretching the coil to its maximum length to estimate the inches, and smiling mouths gobbling up the would be compost, I'd rather have the tender-wrinkled thumbs and the praise than fancy, evenly sliced apples.-- It's the heart more than the ingredients that makes a homemade pie taste sweeter.  

To tell the truth, I receive equal accolades from my kids for my apple pies as for a quick-stop fast-food (though my husband has voiced a definite preference).  So whether you stop by the grocery's bakery or McDonald's, why don't you consider serving a bit of home along with a piece of pie to your family tonight with all your heart

A labor of love reads as clear as any written label, 
"Mom has time today, and I did this for you."

FYI - We ate the pie before I thought to take a picture, but I assure you it was beautiful and delicious!