Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Addendum to the Previous Post

Sometimes, what is in my head isn't exactly what comes out in the post. I just want to be clear(er?) about what it is that has been bothering me this fall. Because I don't want anyone to think I'm sitting here in my fab house all worried about the dust bunnies under my couch or my kids to read this someday (ha!) and to think "Mom was a perfectionist? What?" So here goes, and for me too, because it helps to write it down.

My house is a wreck. There are toys everywhere. Currently dishes from last night are in the sink. I can't remember the last time I mopped the kitchen. I vac my living room area rug daily (sometimes more than once) but only because I let the kids snack in there and it gets covered in crumbs. My kids probably watch too much tv. I am not always good about the cat box. I prefer reading blogs to reading the news and I would rather sew or dream about home improvement than actually clean my house. Do not. I repeat, do NOT put your hands in between my couch cushions looking for something. I am not responsible for what will be stuck to you when you pull it out. I try to wipe down the sinks and toilets quickly every couple days, but please do not look at any of my baseboards. Or my windows. Or in my closets. Yes, sometimes the chaos gets to me, and I do have things that I randomly get sort of OCD about, but overall I am not obsessed about all of it enough to go crazy. I prefer some freedom and enjoyment to a perfect house or a perfect schedule.

I think what is really getting to me is more a question of the bigger issues. Moral, social priorities maybe? Like, this season it bothers me that I don't have a lot of money to do fabulous things for my own family, so is it wrong that I didn't do an Operation Christmas Child box in leu of the hopes of buying my own kids Legos and Playmobil that they truly don't need? Is it wrong that I'm not volunteering or helping out with different causes and opportunities to help when I feel that I can barely keep my own schedule and kids in line? Is it okay that I want to fix up my house when there are people that don't even have houses? Is it more important to teach my kids to obey me or to be on time? Does it matter my kids don't pick up before they go to bed, but they do get their teeth brushed and go to bed early? Is it okay that I don't have a weekly date night with my husband? If I were exercising would I have more energy and be a better mother? How do I prioritize, at any given time, taking care of my family, taking care of myself and taking care of others... all things that I see great value in... without feeling as if I have neglected something/someone? THIS tedious balance is what I struggle with. I am not a decisive person in many regards and I am highly analytical so I find I myself thinking a lot about "what ifs." It's a dangerous place to go because, truthfully, you can't know what might happen or what would have happened in any situation. You can only guess and I have a big imagination.

So this is where I am. Trying to figure out what is best and knowing that, in some ways, I can't possibly. Trying to forgive myself for not always knowing and for sometimes knowing but still making the wrong choice. Grace is a big word for me right now. I easily give grace to others, knowing that none of us is perfect. I am certain that God gives me grace as well. I just need to give it to myself.

So is it a desire for perfection? Maybe in a strange way. I guess I do sort of wish I knew how to make a "perfect choice." But I also realize that is rather impossible at all times and most of the time I can go with it. I think this is just a time of hashing it out for me and apparently I have to get stressed in order to force myself to shake things up a bit. I imagine this is why I procrastinate as well :-) I don't like to be told what to do, so I get tired of so many (often conflicting) messages regarding how I should spend my time, money and energy. All claiming to be the secret to something: organized living, spiritual fullness, fixing the world, disciplining my kids, a clean house, getting out of debt, a healthy body, good skin. Sometimes my brain feels like a BING commercial's version of search engine overload. And then this is when I decide I need to stop over-thinking things and just do what I can when I can, say sorry when I mess up and just do my best.

Hebrews 4: 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

"Marilla, isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" Anne of Green Gables


Artfulife said...

I love Anne of Green Gables. Don't be so hard on yourself. I think a good portion of us feel the same way you are feeling. It's so hard to find an even balance in life. If I'm trying to be a good wife I usually find my kids need a little TLC, if I'm keeping a super clean house, my kids are usually craving attention, if I'm trying to be super mom, my husband misses me.....& the list goes on and on. I find if I pray for help the Lord always finds a way of helping me balance it all a smidge better than I can on my own. Right now my main focus is to have a happy home. The rest is just fodder. Hugs to you Lis.

Liddle Bits and Pieces said...

Excellent therapy session:) Great conclusions. Be your weak and imperfect self so He can show His stuff! (2Corinthians 12:9)

Jen said...

Geez, it sounds like all you really need is more stuff to do! ; ) Sorry, but sometimes I guess the only thing we can do is laugh about it all.

I was listening to a radio show last night, and a woman called in to say that her neighbors house burnt down and they lost everything, but the family was out of the house at the time. She said it was a perfect reminder to her, during this season of materialism and greed, that what really matters is family. Not a clean house, or new "stuff", or the perfect home cooked meal. Just being together.

Does that mean I don't stress about all that other stuff? No, unfortunately, but it did help.

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

Me too. I often find myself in a state of inertia because I'm not sure what is right or best and all the possibilities and responsibilities are so overwhelming that I end up getting nowhere.
As my header states: "still haven't figured it out yet." I'm starting to think I never will but I tried to stop searching for advice on everything a long time ago for the reasons you mention. Too many directions. When I do it I get OCD and end up with brain explosion.
'Do what you can when you can,' exactly. I needed that reminder too. Our old pastor used to end service with "Grace unto you and the Peace that passeth all understanding." Don't we all need that.

blue china studio said...

Oh my, you are speaking directly to me my friend. It is like you tapped into my inner dialogue. I often have wondered how other people seem to get everything done and live in a clean home and seem to have it all together because it is certainly not something I have ever been able to achieve. And then I discovered that I could give myself a break and just say "this is how I live my life and it is just fine". I stopped watching Oprah and Dr. Phil because I constantly felt like I had to add yet another thing to do to or for my life.
So...I can relate to what are feeling and just know you are not the only one out there struggling with this. It sounds like you live a wonderful, thoughtful, loving life. That is what matters!

Dana said...

You always strike a chord with me.

I think we are much alike.

I take everything on. I mean, when I was in 6th grade we watched a movie in school about nuclear bombs and WWII and the like. For years and years and years I worried about nuclear war and felt helpless in my ability to actually do anything about it. I've moved on from that but it is always something. Right now I seem constantly wrapped up in a cycle of worry, guilt and helplessness in the environmental issues our world faces.

But I have gotten better. I know to turn some things off. I don't watch news or news channels or magazine programs. Or read things in newspapers, magazines or online that I know will consume me. The earthquake in Haiti. The oil spill in the Gulf. And the like. I know they happened and I know of the devastation and destruction.

Big, giant social issues that I have voluntarily removed myself from and I don't allow myself to feel guilty about it.

I do what I can. When I can. My issues, my families issues, are not greater or lesser than any other issue in the world. They are simply MY issues. And I choose what I allow into my circle of issues.

I'm rambling and don't know if I am making any sense. And I certainly don't know if it in any way relates to what you write.

Anyway . . .

Dana said...
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