It was a risk. And I fretted over it. There was a measure of guilt, a spoonful of inadequacy. OK, more like a gallon of it.
After all, there was a time when I’d been able to do it all–I was organized, my children wore matching outfits and we participated in a plethora of activities.
Of course, that was before we had twins.
After the twins were born, I still tried to keep up. We had piano and dance, soccer and science camp. We were scheduled and carpooling almost every day of the week.
But eventually, I could feel myself unraveling–the threads of my patience and peace lying bundled and knotted at day’s end.
I was doing too many things and not doing any of them very well.
I was melting down far too often while hauling my kids to every practice, game or “family-friendly” event. I was abysmally overwhelmed. Something had to change.
At the end of last school year, my husband sat me down and with gentle words, gave me permission to let a few things go. In fact, we let a lot of things go. And it freaked me out.
“But they need soccer and music!” I protested.
“Not as much as they need a mother who is happy and sane,” my husband replied.
“I know, but–“
“Elizabeth,” he reminded me, “we have five children.”
Oh, yeah. Huh.
Sometimes I get caught up in comparing myself to all the super-moms out there. Except, there’s no such thing as a super-mom and I’m comparing myself to a fantasy. God made me who I am and honestly, I’m not a very happy person when I’m trying to be something I’m not.
I like to be home. No, I need to be home. Tending my five children doesn’t happen on a schedule. I can’t squeeze in nurturing, discipline and nutrition between fifteen extra-curricular activities. I need space in my schedule. And my children need space in theirs, too.
This Fall we opted out of almost everything. We needed room to breathe, to settle, to re-connect, to bond as a big family of seven.
My husband built a backyard fire-pit and we started a new weekend tradition of roasting marshmallows and telling stories. Instead of racing to Saturday soccer games, we took day-trips.
We drove up the California coast and went hiking in the Santa Ynez valley. We went pumpkin picking in Oak Glen and feasted on fresh-baked apple dumplings on the ride home.
Slowly, we felt a new rhythm seeping into our lives. Our children were turning their focus home-ward, building their sibling relationships and making memories with our whole family. At the end of our weekends, I felt refreshed–not exhausted.
In a strange, beautiful way, our lives were being woven together. I had started this school year worrying about taking a risk and depriving my children of a well-rounded life. Turns out, that risk became an abundant, unexpected blessing.
For all of us.
Do you need to give yourself permission to let some things go?
How do you find a way to say “no” to unnecessary things so you can say “yes” to more important things?
by Elizabeth EstherLeave a Comment