A little help for busy Catholic moms

MAULDIN–Tami Kiser wants women to know they can have a clean house, a happy family and a fulfilling spiritual life — all at the same time.

Organizing busy lives to find time for both parenting and prayer is the goal of her increasingly popular “Smart Martha” program, www.smartmartha.com, which started in 2008 and grew out of talks on organizing Kiser used to present to home-school conferences. She also wrote “Smart Martha’s Catholic Guide for Busy Moms” published by Our Sunday Visitor.

“Smart Martha” draws its name from the Gospel story of Mary and Martha (Lk 10:38-42). Jesus visits the sisters’ home, and Martha preoccupies herself with hostess duties while Mary realizes the importance of stopping to listen to His words.

“It’s not enough that we just clean our house very well and get our children to soccer practice,” Kiser said. “It’s important that we’re doing these things with the heart of Mary, not getting caught up in the world like Martha was doing. We really want Christ to be present in every area of our lives, and it’s hard for us to remember to do that.”

She ought to know. Kiser and husband Keith have nine children, ages 7 to 23, and are about to welcome their first grandchild.

Her seminars offer tips on organizing and spiritual development. One of her main goals, she said, is to teach women to learn to find Christ’s presence in their daily routine.

“It’s a huge mistake to say that if I just get these jobs done more quickly, I’ll have more time for prayer,” she said. “We should be seeking Christ in the midst of our tasks that God has given us to do. In every circumstance of our lives, God has given us an opportunity to seek him. Sometimes it’s while doing the dishes, or helping a sick child. We can seek Christ at adoration, when going to Mass or in just folding the laundry or sitting down and playing Candyland with our kids.”

Kiser’s most recent conference, “Dinner’s On!” was held at St. Joseph Catholic School in Greenville. The focus was on the importance of family meals, and how Catholic families should focus on the dinner table as a place for fellowship and developing the faith.

“I really encourage parents to try to do something simple for their faith whenever they sit down to dinner with their family,” Kiser said. “It can be reading the Gospel reading for the day, reading from Scripture or a devotional booklet, or talking about things the family can do together to help and serve others.”

She encourages parents to take a good look at their family’s schedule to see if some activities need to be eliminated or scaled back so they still have time to eat and practice the faith together.

“I ask them to really pray about it, because if they just examine their lives and look at what kids need, they’ll see their child doesn’t always need to be at all these different things,” Kiser said. “When we have some time to spend with our kids and build a better relationship with them, that’s so much better. It’s really the best way to live.”