Recently, I've noticed a trend in my conversations with and observations of the modern mom. Between the kids, the house, the hubby, the school stuff, the church stuff, and work (outside of the home, inside of the home, or anywhere in between!)--it seems everyone I know is being pulled in several different directions.
As a work at home mom, I often struggle with feeling like a failure in various aspects of my life: my house is a wreck, I'm not paying enough attention to my husband, I'm impatient with my kids, I'm not devoting enough time to my work, I forgot to sign the supply list for the preschool Valentine's Day party until only one slot was left and I just didn't feel like coming up a craft idea so I didn't sign up for anything and now everyone probably thinks I'm a slacker...
I think we can all relate! If I feel guilty that my house is a mess, I spend more time cleaning and less time with the kids. Now I feel guilty that my kids aren't getting enough attention. If I play with the kids more, I spend less time cleaning or working. I now feel guilty for not getting all of my work done. Does this sound familiar?!
So...is it really possible to be a "supermom" who can manage all of this and still be a real, living, human being?
No. Well, yes. Kind of?
First of all, it is logistically impossible to give 100% of myself to everything I have been entrusted with. I have learned to make peace with this fact. Add to it that even when I do give the ol' heart and soul to something, I still end up disappointing someone! I can't win!
My solution to this problem--of being stretched in so many different directions--has become to prayerfully and carefully select the things that I allow into my life. As the mom, nearly everything I do has an impact on my family. I am dealing with this in two ways:
1. Do I really need to do this?!
I have several things on my proverbial "plate". At times, I find them difficult to manage; however I am learning to carefully select the items that I heap onto my plate and how to leave everything else out there on the buffet (yeah...I'm taking this a bit too far!). You won't find my kids enrolled in gymnastics, ballet, soccer, rockabye reader, brainy baby, or musical munchkin. I'm not against those cute activities--I just know me and my family. I know that my kids get cranky when they're being transported too much. I know that I need to have time each week when I can stay home to clean and catch up on laundry and let the kids play--or else I get cranky! I know that when I over commit myself or my family, we ALL suffer. So I prioritize. For us, it is important that my 5 year old go to preschool and my 6 year old take piano lessons once a week. If any additional activities will cause a financial strain or a scheduling stress, count us OUT! You might think it is terrible or even selfish that I don't consider it a priority to cultivate my 3-year-old son's inner athletic genius (if you know him, you'll get that joke!)...but I know better. I know that right now, in this moment of our family's timeline, he will benefit most from a semi-sane mom and a relatively consistent and relaxed schedule. As the kids grow, I'm sure our priorities will shift in some areas, and I pray that we choose wisely.
2. Yes, I really DO need to do this...NOW!
(But more importantly, HOW?)
There are times when one of my responsibilities begs 100% (or more!) of my attention. For example, the beginning and end of the semester requires that more of my time and attention be put on work. You might walk into my house around the first week of May to find dirty counters, a sink full of dishes, kids parked in front of the TV (or running wild. Or both.), and me in the midst of the chaos trying to grade papers with a dirty kid loosely mounted to my hip. I'm okay with that! I know that this is not a pattern and that this too shall pass. I understand that after I've given my students a little extra heap of me, my kids will be right next in line (and my house eventually). I'm learning not to stress about these occasional imbalances.
|My 1-year-old Assistant|
God has entrusted me with 4 little kiddies, a great husband, a ton of students, and a huge extended family. I am sad to admit that I have, at times, let all of these people down. Yet even those times of failure can be a blessing because they cause me to rely more on God's help and understand that I cannot do it alone...and that I need to redirect my focus on God and not on impressing the world with my supermom superpowers. (That ship has sailed!) I need to trust that He can help me manage it all, but understand that He never expected me to do it perfectly. He does expect me to try my best, and to give Him the load when I can't carry it.
I am so grateful for the many blessings and responsibilities that God has given to me, and so thankful that He forgives me when I don't handle everything the way I wish I could. In the end, as I've mentioned in a previous post, it isn't about what anyone else thinks of me. It's whether or not my actions are pleasing to God.