Friday, October 23, 2015

Giving Myself Grace

I was driving home from Target on Monday, late afternoon, after letting CK spend some of her birthday money in the Paw Patrol aisle.  All of a sudden, I felt awful.  Exhausted.  Achey all over, from my head to my toes.  Like I'd been hit by a truck.

It was all I could do to get home, unload the kids and the Target bags, and sit down on the couch.  Luckily T pulled in the driveway a few minutes later.  He took one look at me and said, "Rough day, I guess?"

"No, we actually had a great day.  I'm just feeling awful all of a sudden.  Is it okay if I go lie down for a little while?"

"Of course it is.  But I think I know why you feel the way you do..."


"Because, like I told you, you need to SLOW DOWN."

T and I had just had a conversation about slowing down over the weekend.  He told me he was a little worried about me, because I'd been go-go-go, running myself ragged, not slowing down from the minute my feet hit the pavement for my 5:45am run until I basically pass out from exhaustion as soon as my head hits the pillow at night.  When we had that conversation over the weekend, I assured him that I was fine.  "Someone has to get this stuff done!"  I'd told him.

And then on Monday, it was like my body said I'VE HAD ENOUGH.

For the first time in a long time, I slept in on Tuesday morning until 7:15am when CK walked in the room to wake me up.  That day, I crossed some things off of my to-do list without having done them - just to give myself a break.  I cancelled two of our set plans/playdates, just to make our week a little less scheduled.  I also confided in a dear friend that I was feeling run-down, exhausted, overwhelmed, inadequate, etc.  And that dear friend gave me some great advice, advice I needed to hear, advice that was a wake-up call for me.

I've been thinking a lot this week about what I expect from myself and why.  What is my role, what all does my "job" entail, what is most important to me, where are my priorities and does the way I live my life reflect those priorities?

And honestly, what I've realized most is that I need to give myself some grace.  I don't expect anyone in my life to be perfect, so why do I expect so much perfection from myself?

About eight months ago I started making daily to-do lists because (a) y'all know I love a to-do list with boxes to check off, and (b) I was finishing so many of my days wondering what the heck I did all day.  Honestly, having these lists has helped me stay incredibly organized, helped remind me of what I need to do (because mom brain is a real-life thing), and they've also helped me feel accomplished at the end of some very overwhelming, blurry, chaotic days.


These to-do lists have also made me too to-do-list-focused.  TOO planned, too task-oriented, too hard on myself.


I know it sounds crazy, and I realize it is all pressure I put on myself.  My husband, my kids... they don't care if I clean the house from top to bottom every Friday.  But I do. 

Because I said I would.  

Because it was on my list.

I think having high expectations for myself is important, but I also think these expectations need to be realistic and also reflective of what our life is like these days.

And what is our life like?  Our life is a beautiful, chaotic mess.  And I need to give myself some grace, cut myself some slack and realize it's okay if it looks a little less beautiful, and a little more chaotic and messy.

It's okay if we're a little late.  If our clothes are a little wrinkly.  If the dishes stay in the sink for one night before ending up in the dishwasher.  If there are toys everywhere.  If we forget to take the trash out.  If we have pizza for dinner, again.  If I don't clean the bathrooms and dust and vacuum and mop every single Friday.  If our bank account is a little less than I'd like.  If we skip a bath night.  If the kids stay up past their bedtime.  If we have a pajama and movie day.

Being a stay-at-home-mama can be tricky for me, because, like most stay-at-home mamas, I am also the nurse and the chauffeur and the chef and the maid and the launderer and the errand-runner and the boo-boo-kisser and the event-planner and the list goes on and on and on.

But most importantly?  I am the memory-maker...

And right now I think I need to be more focused on that role than any of the others.

Truth be told, I dreamed of staying home with my kids for so long so that I could enjoy them, and I think I've gotten so focused on maintaining a clean and tidy and organized and well-run household that I'm missing out on what is most important right now.

The other morning the first line of my devotional stuck with me...

"Go gently through this day..."

And now that is something I repeat to myself, constantly.  To approach each day gently, give myself from grace, let the dust bunnies roll around a little longer so that I can roll around in the grass with my children.


Yesterday I found myself at the doctor's office unexpectedly (and with both kids).  "Doctor appointment" was not originally in our Thursday plans, so while sitting in the waiting room, all I could think about were the things I was no longer going to have time to accomplish.  But when the appointment was over, instead of turning right out of the parking lot to go home and get back to my list, I took a left... and CK, E, and I ended the day with an impromptu playground trip... running around and giggling and getting dirty and swinging and sliding - and making simple, yet perfect memories.

I will still be using my notebook to keep myself organized, crossing off those little checkboxes as I complete the tasks.  Because in reality, those to-dos are part of my job, too.  But one day, and a day that'll come way too soon, I'll be stuck in a house that is too clean - a house that seems empty without the laundry piles and toys and crumbs and dust bunnies - and my kids will be out in the world somewhere, making their own memories.  

So from now on, I will be giving myself a lot more grace, letting go of some unnecessary self-expectations so that I can soak up each and every moment I have left as CK and E's memory-maker. <3

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