How are we already half way through September!? The kids started “preschool” and we have been in such a busy state that I don’t even have a decent picture for myself!
We have had some MAJOR work being done on our house. So major that we are not doing it ourselves. (Except for demo. You can’t keep me out of demo) . Anytime “workers” are at our house, it is LITERALLY a non stop battle to keep Alex out of their way. He wants to be in the middle of all the action all the time. His biggest tantrum to date was last year when I wouldn’t let him go into our crawl space when a company was out here to insulate. It. is. exhausting. And a true test of my patience. Thankfully the guys we have here are friends and at least pretend pretty well to be tolerant of his non stop questions and constant interruptions.
While the last 2 weeks seem like a crazy busy blur, one thing keeps nagging at me; It’s that “busy state”. The one where for no particular reason you feel “behind” (on a list of things you keep in your mind that no one else sees, which is often filled with tasks and ideas that are of no real importance at the moment but still present in my mind always and forever nagging, nagging, nagging). I am so frequently guilty of this kind of self-induced stress that I have to remind myself that I’m the one making up the time table! No one is checking to see if I washed the pillows after I spilled coffee on them. No one cares about the stack of papers and mail in the cabinet that has needed sorting since December– yet I treat it as if there’s a deadline!
No where is this more evident than when we’re trying leave for a trip. Beyond packing and preparing, I am so often doing these completely nonsensical jobs while at risk of making us late and getting frazzled about it. “Hey Babe, we need to get goin’. Kids are in the car.” “BUT WAIT! I didn’t clean out the box of playdoh toys!”
The unfortunate side of these phases of busyness, is that the added stress I give myself because of expectations set by myself can definitely affect the rest of the family. Sometimes it’s an actual loss of my patience towards them or it’s just because when I operate at high speed I give off the impression that I’m annoyed at the world. But either way, it’s not warranted, and not fair to them.
We frequently hear about the importance of “want vs need” when it comes to learning money management. For me, this is equally true about scheduling time. Just as certain choices may land you in financial debt. Certain “scheduling” choices may land you in time debt or, for me, emotional debt.
If my choosing to clean out the kids’ closets means that my temper will run extra short and by 4pm and we will all be miserable, then maybe, now is not the time. Maybe I need to ask for help. And I know I need to pray for patience. For now, we can go another day with last year’s winter clothes still taking up tons of space, because we had a pleasant afternoon together coloring and doing puzzles and no one needs to scream into a pillow.
Sometimes it’s literal time overspent, and not the emotional tax. Sometimes I just don’t prioritize the things that I think there will be “time for later”– you know, like long term things that never seem to need to be “done right now”: spending one on one time with the kids, getting a much needed weekend away with Jake, getting back into a regular fitness routine, making time for friends, prayer. How often do I back burner these VITAL pieces of life? Every. Single. Day.
The give and take of invested time and invested emotion within our family is so incredibly important. Yet it is frequently the first thing to be given up when something “needs doing.” When I give away my time, I am really giving away theirs. I want to know my kids. I want them to know me. I never want the invites for play to stop because they assume I’m always too “busy”. Quality time spent investing in our marriage, our family and friendships trumps pretty much any task that I may think needs doing! But in this crazy vortex of motherhood where you feel simultaneously like you’re overworking, procrastinating, under performing, pressed for time, yet there’s no end in sight- it is so easy to continue to over look what my “busyness” is keeping me from. And it’s days like this where I find myself sending a text to my Dad to see if anyone is at The Cabin this weekend.
I need to invest now. I need to reset now. I need to give up my selfish agendas to think about what they steal from the people I love. I need to unplug. To reconnect. To practice Peace, to give Love, and find Joy. And did I mention Patience? I need a lot of patience.
“I’m weary with my former toil
Here I will sit and rest a while
Under the shadow I will be
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree”