Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Coming Undone

Something strange happened to me today. I looked at the laundry in my room and realized that I've been trying to get all the laundry done at once for the last two weeks. My mind usually will not rest until all the laundry is done at once, all the house cleaning is done at once, all the shopping is done at once. Today I realized that maybe it's okay not to have it all done at once, that maybe it's okay to stop trying to be perfect. Maybe the Lord is trying to teach me something because it seems like I can't keep any of the balls in the air anymore. Every time I turn around someone is reminding me of something I forgot to do and just when I thought I had everything under control. It's strange to me to feel like my life is a hurricane swirling around me and I'm only able to focus on the debris that hits me in the head on it's way around. It seems like every day I wake up and start working and I don't stop until it's well past my bedtime and even then, there are 100 things that I meant to get done, but that didn't even come close to glancing my radar. It's almost like I have so many distractions (some good, some better, some not so good at all) hitting me on all sides and I'm finding that I'm having a hard time choosing which things are the BEST to confront each day. I'm realizing that time has seemingly sped up even faster, leaving me less time each day to accomplish the things that I think should be done. It's almost like I'm being tested, ("Here's another thing you forgot! or Look here, you haven't checked anything off this list and instead of getting smaller, it's getting bigger, like HUGE!") All of this has made me aware of my weaknesses as a mortal. I will never be able to keep up with it all. It is just not possible to give 100% to every single thing that life requires of us. Some of you may disagree, but I am who I am and I cannot keep up with it all and today I finally decided that it's ok. I don't have to be perfect. I just have to take care of the things that are the most important. Even doing that is hard, but I'm finding that this feeling of being overloaded has shifted my perspective and I feel that with so much going on, I am being forced to choose the BEST of each day because I don't have time for anything more.

Basically I don't care anymore that I don't appear to have it all together. Have you heard that song "Secrets"? I like that song a lot. The premise of the song focuses on our constant need to hide our imperfections and the things we don't like about ourselves from other people. Why try to force yourself to be somebody you are not? Why do we as human beings feel the need to put on a front around everyone else and give the appearance of perfection? Like we have it all together and we don't make mistakes? Why are we so afraid of other people seeing our weaknesses? Is it because we are so hard on each other? Because there is always someone there ready to point a finger of blame or to criticize? Do we expect perfection not only of ourselves, but from other people as well? Is it because as a society we are generally unforgiving and quick to take offense? Isn't life hard enough in itself without us making it harder for each other? I know I can't change the way other people think, but I can change the way I think. Having a third child has helped me to realize that it is of no worth to me or my family to try to keep up with everything just so I can feel like I'm just as good a mom as that lady on Facebook that posts one moment of bliss right after the other. 

A typical day for me starts with hitting the snooze button at least once or twice and then dragging myself out of bed after a long night with my sweet baby or my stubborn 3-year-old who has decided that she now only needs five hours of sleep and shrieks like a banshee when we tell her that "No, you may not watch a movie at three in the morning!" and said episode usually ends when I cram by postpartum body onto her toddler bed with her and pray that the creaking and cracking sounds are not signs that the bed is about to give way and unload the both of us onto the floor. Anyway, I wake up tired, but I am determined to get Taj to school on time. I have a bad habit of being on time. I don't know why either because I came from a family who's motto was "If you're not early, you're late!"

Here are some of my secrets:  I don't make my kids hot breakfast in the morning (shock! horror!), I'm late to a lot of places, sometimes I lose my temper and yell at my kids, I have a pile of clutter junk on the counter, I haven't dusted my van since we bough it in January, I don't post on my blog regularly even though I want to because I'm too damn tired when I finally get a break, I haven't washed the sheets on the beds for three weeks (disgusting, right?), and the list goes on. Do you know how liberating it was admitting to some of those things? I can hear some people now, "Well if that's all you have to worry about, your life is great!" like life is some competition where we are all vying for trophies that say "I have more problems than you" or "I have more pain than you," all the while exempting ourselves from being sympathetic towards those who we feel are living the "good life" or who "have no reason to complain whatsoever."  Having a third child has helped me realize that nobody has it all together and that no matter how good you think someone else's life is, they have their own struggles too that feel just as painful as yours. Nobody has a monopoly on pain in this life, except for the Savior Himself, because He did feel ALL of our pain and He knows EXACTLY how we all feel. 

Could we all be a little kinder, more forgiving, more sympathetic to those in our sphere? Nobody has it all together and appearances ARE deceiving. Everyone has a silent struggle that they are going through. Shouldn't we help each other out instead of driving the daggers deeper with cold criticism? I had two experiences in the last week that restored my faith in humanity. The first is when I foolishly made a trip to Shopko with three kids (I was desperate to find a wrap of some sort to stuff my post-pregnancy belly in and eliminate further inquiries from strangers about when my baby was due) and while checking out, I had Taj and Haiven pulling me from both sides begging me to open their Ring Pops at the same time the cashier is telling me my card had insufficient funds (due to a bank error). I paid with another card and while fumbling with my wallet and trying to get a binkie in Sawyer's mouth so he would quite crying, I saw the cashier pull out a pair of scissors and beckon my kids over so that she could open their Ring Pops for them. I looked at her and before I could say thanks she said, "Everyone needs a hand once in a while." Whoa! Am I that far gone?! Then I swallowed my pride and said "Yes, yes they do." Lesson learned? I am not perfect and it's okay for people to see that and to help me.

The second event occurred two days ago at the grocery story when I had no other choice BUT to take my three kids with me to get some things for dinner that night or there would be no dinner. Taj and Haiven both insisted on pushing their own cart, you know the little ones for when you only need a gallon of milk and some bread, and I had a big cart with Sawyer's carseat in it and no room for groceries. We got through the checkout line and I realized that I now had three carts to get back out to my car parked in the far corner of the parking lot. I had bought the kids a little treat for being so good and they were no longer interested in pushing the carts. As I grabbed my receipt from the cashier and turned to try to finagle my three carts, I saw a lovely woman standing there waiting and watching us. She had a smile on her face and it was like she radiated light. She said, "Can I please help you to your car?" And she walked over and grabbed one of the carts. Not only did she help me get the carts to my car, but she helped me unload my groceries and then took the carts for me so that I could get my kids buckled in. It was perhaps a small act of service in her eyes, but to me, it was the Lord telling me that He is aware of me because He sent her to help me with such a little problem. If He is concerned with even our smallest problems, then shouldn't we be more open to helping others out with theirs?

In a nutshell motherhood has helped me realize that 1) It's okay to not be perfect. 2) It's okay to let others help you. 3) You never know what silent struggle someone is going through, so don't be quick to judge. Be quick to lend a helping hand and a smile.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

So glad to see that I am human just like you:)