As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Random Thoughts from a Busy Mom

I have so many things going through my head, and every time I think I want to write about one of them, there's not enough substance to be worthy of a whole post (I don't think, anyway).  But I did want to collect them together, if for no other reason than to capture this moment in time. The biggest reason I blog isn't readership (somehow I think the ten subscribers I have would be just fine if my blog went off the grid!) but more for personal memories. Here's what's been going through my head for the past week or so.

Age of Frustration
My second youngest is just shy of three years old, which in my house tends to be an age wrought with frustration (for both parent and child).  The past couple of weeks since school started have been challenging, because the next child up from him (and last year's partner in crime during the school day) started school this year, leaving him with only the eleven-month-old for companionship during this time.  Naturally, I can understand why this doesn't seem to satisfy him as much as the older sibling did.  And on top of that, he has some, shall we say "jealousy issues" setting in around the baby.  So while she is used to being carried in my arms during the school day, he now wants me to do the same for him.  He is constantly trying to shove his way onto my lap or up into my arms, and he's big! And he's a screamer too, which I suppose they all are at this age. All of this creates a perfect storm in which I struggle to operate calmly and peacefully.  It's tough!  But I know it's tough on him too, and I've been making an effort to try and see things from his point of view.  Even if I can't soothe him in the particular way he is looking for, I can find other ways to help him feel better. The other day for example, after we had decided to take away his security blanket for good (because it makes him a little tyrant - which is a whole other post for a whole other day!) I told Jeff that I would give him some human comfort to replace the material comfort he was lacking, and sat down to read with him until his tantrum subsided.  At Mass or out and about when he wants up and I can't pick him up (because I've got the baby in arms) I try to put my hand on his shoulder, or stroke his hair, or something that lets him know I still love him even if I can't scoop him up in that instant.  I don't know if it makes a difference to him, but it sure helps me to keep a proper perspective on his tantrums, instead of just being frustrated all the time. Please feel free to pray for me in that regard - it is such a challenge!

Buzzing About
I've started noticing that with all my schedules paying attention to time, and being organized and all that (yay!) that I've started buzzing about the day somewhat rigidly (boo!) Which makes me a little sad.  Nothing in particular happened, just one morning I could feel frustration setting in for no good reason, and caught myself right in the middle of "I can't have a blip in my school day or the whole day will be shot!" line of thinking.  And the kids were all being great, and the day was on track, so what gives?  I came to the sad realization in that moment that I had been going through my day a bit like a robot - being efficient and getting things done, but with a certain coldness.  I realized that I don't often look my kids in the eyes or even touch them when I'm in "school mode", and that made my heart sink.  So I've resolved myself to deliberately look them in the eyes, or put my hand on their shoulder when I'm standing next to them.  To look for opportunities for affection in our day, and hopefully lift the self-imposed burden of schedules a little bit.  Don't get me wrong, routines are good.  They just need to be in their proper order.

Time Management
On the topic of schedules - I find such freedom in watching the time closely.  The trick for me has been to not try and squeeze things in when my time has gone by and I haven't done what I should have done. I wrote a few days ago about time not waiting for anyone, and I really feel like I need to stop trying to bend it.  Yesterday for example, I slept in, which meant a later start to the school day.  At first I thought about how I was going to squeeze the work in before noon, but then I caught myself.  Instead I decided that we would eat, get dressed, and do whatever subject we were supposed to be doing when we were ready to start school (like you would if you arrived late in public school - your teacher wouldn't hand you everything you missed and say, "catch up", she'd get you to join what was already in progress, and you would make up the rest later. Which is how we did it yesterday.  The subjects we missed were finished at homework time, and I didn't operate within this pressure cooker of gotta-get-this-done-now! for the whole of my school day.  I really only have one moment, the one in front of me, and it takes so much work to just focus on that instead of looking ahead to what I still need to do, or behind to see what I've missed doing. Baby steps.

Work Blessing
I've been busy in the last couple of weeks working on a freelance project that's taken up quite a bit of time in the late evenings after the kids have gone to bed.  As the deadline approached, and wanting to be productive and timely I always prayed, "Lord please bless my work" anytime I sat down to work on it.  Yesterday was the first afternoon I didn't need to do anything with it, and yet I still found myself in the quiet of the afternoon saying the same prayer, "Lord, please bless my work." It occured to me that I need to approach my family life, the things I don't get paid for, with the same dilligence.  Since then I have been trying to keep that prayer ever before me.  I'm so grateful for the little ways the Lord meets me in my everyday life, and stitches the smaller events together to a much higher purpose.

Older Brother
A few weeks ago at Mass the gospel reading was the Prodigal Son. I had been having a real low week, for no reason that I could pinpoint, and when I heard the words of the older brother I could see myself in him - what about me Lord?  And the words of the Lord right back to me, "you are always with me, and everything I have is yours."  I began praying with that imagery, and trying to hold on to the promise the Lord makes to that older brother.  Sure as anything in the days that have since followed, I catch myself thinking these words so often.  This wound of the older brother is so deep within me, "what about me Lord?"  And His promise is everything - "All that I have is yours".  This is where I need to put my trust.

Baby Love
Three friends of ours were all expecting babies at the same time.  Two have been born and we're all on the edge of our seats waiting for number three to arrive!  It has me reflecting very much on the gift that a baby is to the whole world, and what a beautiful sacrifice it is for parents to say "yes" to.  People who say they never want to have children find their hearts softened by new life.  People who are hurting and grieving find new hope in them.  People who, like me, may have found themselves thinking thoughts like, "maybe we should just wait a little bit, I just got my body back" find themselves swooning over a new babe and changing their line of thinking.  I live with the same shortcomings as anyone else, and I am always taken aback to find how much I need to work at being open to life.  So the joyful witness of new couples and their new babies helps me to keep a proper perspective on it.  We have no news as of yet, but as I approach my mid-thirties I am becoming more aware that I don't have all the time in the world anymore, and that someday I won't be able to have babies anymore.  And then I suppose the witness of friends with their new babies will be even more of a gift to me.

I believe that does it.  And now I'm off to the duty of the moment, which happens to be a six-year-old who has been patient beyond his years, and is very much deserving of the story he has been asked to wait for.  I do love this little life!

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