Sunday, July 19, 2009

On Not Sweating the Stupid Stuff

Ahhh, life. Doesn't it move quickly? Who are we to think that we have any control? Why do we try to cram so much in? Wouldn't it make more sense to travel through life one major life event/crisis/phase at a time? Wouldn't it make even more sense to slow down, enjoy what matters and quit letting the stupid stuff stress us out?

Just the other night Jason and I had a teary (postpartum - back off) conversation about how quickly our kids are growing up and how at the end of the day, when they are tucked in and drifting off to sleep... it is just that, another day. Another day gone, a day older, a day that we can't make up or redo. What were we like that day? Did we feel like we had been good parents or bad parents? Had we gotten too frustrated or angry over something just plain stupid? How did we make their life better? Or did we make it worse?

We have a lot going on and a lot of pressure on both of us to take care of all the junk we think is important. I keep taking on more and more... see a couple blogs below... and Jason is constantly feeling pressure to do more, to make things better, to provide and to be there for me and the kids. And we have been, for the most part, I think, trying to do this alone (not us alone, but on our own - together without asking God what He thinks). We have gone up for prayer - wanting to let God be in on all this - but not, I know, actually making Him a daily part of our plan. We just check in once a week to make sure we are still cool.

So, on my end, I have also been stressing about work - part time from home, part time in the office and part time maternity leave. Well, I am slowly running out of the paid leave part and coming to the realization that I might have to *gasp* go back to work full time earlier or take a smaller paycheck for the last couple weeks of my planned maternity "leave". Yikes! At least I have a job...

I have also been dealing with power-tripping PhD's who think a certain class is the be-all/end-all of academic excellence in multi-cultural sensitivity and family engagement. Give me a bloody break... so I am stressed about having to challenge a class, take a different one, or be treated like a bad student b/c I happen to live 4 hours away, have an infant, missed a class, and indicated that I was really only taking the class for the credit anyway. Heaven forbid! They took my money - let me take the class. Just because I don't think the sun rises and sets with your syllabus doesn't mean I can't do the work. Okay - so, now that it is abundantly clear to my audience (do I have one?) that I haven't quite dealt with my feelings about this in a healthy way... let's move on.

Finally, I have been allowing all the little things, like housework, home work, bills and pressure to get some apples, cherries, raspberries and blackberries canned and/or harvested build up and become more than I can stand.

So, today... I could totally feel it. Pastor called us (not US) out in church today for not letting go of the junk (like how we think we look and all the other dumb things in life) and spending more time with God. We hold ourselves back and make excuses all the time.

On top of that, I come home, the house is a mess, Leilee is super fussybutt, Connor and Grady are at each other's throats... not wanting to play outside, not wanting to be inside, not wanting to help. And I was stuck on the "you're helping clean or you're going outside" mode - refusing to even allow the TV to be looked at (yes, I shut the doors on the entertainment center) much less, turned on. They have balls, bikes, skateboards, hula hoops, beebee guns, sprinklers, water guns, sticks, rocks, dirt, berries, etc., etc... to play with. It is beautiful and sunny. All they want to do is whine and cry. All I want to do is yell and pout about it all. All Leilee wants is a clean diaper and someone to hold her. Just right.

So, we played that game for a couple hours. Then I add the stress of - "I need to get work done"... so I turn on the computer and pull up my University email - dumb move. So then I get all stressed out about this stupid class thing. The kids escalate. Arrghhh!

I finally get up and walk out into the living room. The conversation from the other day just hits me like a ton of bricks. I am spending my time being frustrated about my house (seriously, every time I looked at the living room or kitchen, I just about wanted to hyperventilate) and all the stupid stuff and snapping at my kids, but not actually trying to do anything about it or interact in a happy, shiny mommy sort of way. They cry, whine, run outside or to their room, rinse, and repeat... I just yell and say arrgghh.

So, I just started cleaning...cheerfully (feined cheerfulness is still better than nothing). Grady got into it and helped... then decided to go try his skateboard. Connor got out of bed (he was "napping") and helped vacuum. Once I could see the contents of my living room that belonged in my living room and realized that I did have kitchen counters and a carpet (not in the kitchen, gross)... I could feel some of the weight lift. All the kids had wanted, apparently, was a little time to be with me and feel special, and then they were happy enough to run out and play.

Then - after dinner, instead of jumping right on the computer or making the kids entertain themselves - we all went outside. Jason picked blackberries. I helped a little, but since Leilee was only happy if the stroller was moving, I put on my tennis shoes and went for a walk. The kids rode bikes around the loop with me. The dog was thrilled to get some exercise with the family, and I was thrilled to get exercise at all. (Eventually, I will probably start a blog about getting this mommy butt back into shape and back on the road. I won't bore you with the "I used to's" right now...)

I just got off my butt and did my best to embrace the afternoon and the kids. I didn't want them to fall asleep tonight, only to have me realize as they were drifting into dreamland that I had given them a bad day that I couldn't take back. I'm the adult here (darn it), and it truly is my job to quit making excuses or avoiding things and just deal with them. And ultimately, my family and my kids take precedence over stupid stuff.

It was amazing and wonderful to intentionally do what I knew I should have done all along and see how our afternoon improved. Next, I will be spending time with God... on a daily basis. I am pretty sure He would like some of my time too. Especially since He is the One who is in control. I can kick and scream all I want, but it won't make any difference.

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