I just can’t. Ya’ll. (It’s bad when this not-so-southern girl has to say, “ya’ll.”) Don’t you feel like there is just too much? For instance: I have a compressor in my bedroom. You know, one of those things that inflates tires or shoots nails into boards? Yeah. In my bedroom. It’s still in the box from Christmas and is something my husband has wanted for a loooonnngggg time and he was so excited to get it and… it is in the room where I sleep. Not one of the TWO storage sheds in our backyard. (Before you comment, this is not a husband bashing. I promise. I know he just had a heart attack! I know this month has been a bit crazy. I know he’s perfect in every other way. Just hang on.) I just need to know something…why can’t we just finish stuff?!
It’s not just the compressor, but every other thing I don’t get done in a day. The laundry: washed, dried, folded, yet never makes it into a drawer. The dishes: loaded in the dishwasher, some hand washed, that take days to make it back to their particular spot in the cupboard. The five water bottles that roll around on the floorboard of the car, screaming for someone to take them in the house! The field trip form, the water bill, the recycling, the half-read book… all of it. Unfinished.
Do you ever wonder if Laura Ingalls Wilder felt like this? Did she get the dough made and forget to put in on the fire? I’m sure one night she forgot to fill the lamps with oil for the next morning. Maybe she went into town, and bought pig feed from Oleson’s Mercantile and on the way home, she had wagon issues, and forgot about the purchase, and left it on the wagon, and a critter got in it, and it went bad. Maybe?
I obviously don’t know, but my feeling like an overwhelmed wife and mother cannot be a new concept. Even as I type this, I’m realizing that I don’t necessarily feel overwhelmed, but I just don’t want to do it. (Wonder where my kids get it.) I don’t always want to be responsible. I don’t want to meal plan or vacuum or get up at 5:30. I’d rather not stop for gas or replace air filters or discipline one of my angels. But here I am and it all has to be done.
Words of encouragement, as we trudge through the mundane
Know where your identity lies.
Who you are is not defined by what you do or don’t do. Your worth as a wife and mother is not reflected in the shine on your granite countertop. The phone call from a child’s teacher does not mean you are a failure. Frozen chicken nuggets for dinner does not make you a candidate for “The Worst Cooks in America” on Food Network. (However, after three straight nights, you may want to Pinterest another idea.) You were called to something bigger. To change generations. To define what a woman is for your little ones. To live as a healed, strong, perfectly imperfect, wife. To check up on your neighbors and listen to that voice inside of you. Maybe that’s even God. He has something bigger for you, with or without a dusted dresser.
Let’s find some margin.
A flat tire, spoiled milk, or a call from the school clinic is much easier to absorb if we have margin in our lives. What does that mean? Don’t fill your day so full that there is no room for the unexpected. Our family calls it “living interruptable.” Make space for the friend who needs a friend or the kid that needs some extra cuddles. Sometimes we have packed our day so tightly that there is no room for anything else to squeeze in, especially not the incidentals. And dare I say, road rage would lessen if we had left more time to get to work? Busyness is not the answer to relieving that overwhelmed feeling, for sure. Figure out how to add a cushion where all the mess of the day can fall.
Girls! We have got to lighten up! We have got to find the funny in the day! We have got to stop taking ourselves so seriously! Seriously. The last thing I want my legacy to be is, “my mom never laughed with us.” When I look back on the best times of my life, no matter the age or marital status or degree of mommyhood, they are all characterized by the amount of laughter. Let’s be women who create happiness, not drama.
Count it all as joy.
Let’s be honest. Everything I’ve mentioned in this blog- a dishwasher, granite counter tops, and frozen foods, are all things afforded to us because of the country in which we live. What if we looked at these things as bringers of joy and not vehicles of frustration? If we lived in 75% of the world, these items would not only be unavailable, but unnecessary. Can we decide that we are going to live as though we are blessed and not cursed? A blessing is given, joy is a choice. Even through times that don’t feel so rich, we can decide to walk in a spirit of joy.
The truth is, I could always stand to be more disciplined. I need to follow through on the everyday goings-on around my house. I could take the compressor to the shed. But there is truth in knowing that within the mundane there is Life. Life in a thriving marriage and these three amusing humans that follow us around. It will never all get finished, but we’re ok, right? We are all ok.