I have come to the realisation that I can no longer accomplish all that I want to in a day, and in order to avoid feelings of disappointment and inadequacy, I have come up with a new list of priorities for myself:
Anything else is a bonus! It sounds silly, but this has helped me tremendously. Instead of going to bed beating myself up because the laundry was not folded and put away, the bathroom was not cleaned, or the floor swept, I can pat myself on the back that day for making sure my kids knew they were loved, for feeding everyone, for making sure everyone did something physical, and for teaching everyone at least one thing. And this change of perspective could not have come at a better time because, man, this week has been a real kick in the arse.
It's five o'clock and supper has once again snuck up on me because I have just spent the last three hours trying to remove a deeply embedded splinter from the heel of Avery's foot. I have a freezer full of meat, but no time to thaw and cook any of it since we need to be back in the car at six o'clock to get the boys to their youth activities at church and to take Zoe to soccer practice. The baby is on the shaded deck in a onesie, squealing with delight from the confines of his exesaucer as he watches Avery dunk yet another ball into the makeshift basketball hoop the boys made. For a brief moment, I think to myself that Leif's bare legs must be getting cold, but since he is happy, I brush the concern away and focus my attention back on what to feed my children. The counters and sink are littered with two days worth of dirty dishes, some of which still hold crusty dollops of ketchup from our lunchtime feast of BBQ hotdogs (the great thing about my new priorities is that is says NOTHING about the quality of food!). Elliot pops his head into the kitchen and whines that he cannot possibly mow another inch of what has quickly become a dandelion infested, field of hay in our backyard. With Derrick super busy, working full-time and finishing up his CMA plus two MBA courses, Elliot has been deemed the Man-of-the-House and has been entrusted with the sacred job of taming the jungle that, I swear, has waged war against us and is determined to swallow up our tiny, blue house once and for all.
You can do it, Buddy! Just finish that last patch. I will run you a hot bath and you can have a can of Coke with supper. Okay? You can do this . . .
Right, supper! As he heads back outside, I turn my attention back to the kitchen and begin scouring the cupboards for anything that will fill our bellies. Seeing that we now only have forty-five minutes left before we need to be out the door, I decide to fry up some eggs and bacon, our go-to meal on busy nights. Once the bacon is laid in the frying pan, I remember I need to fill the bathtub up for Elliot and so I run off to the bathroom to get things set up for him.
Mom, mom! Grab your camera and come quick! Elliot found Godzilla's baby!
I look around me. The bacon is sizzling, the baby is fussing because he is now alone on the deck and probably starting to take notice of the cool breeze blowing on his bare extremities, and the tub is running. So, what do I do? Well, like any sleep-deprived mama who is trying her best to live in the moment and show her children that she does indeed care about them, I grab my camera and run out to the backyard.
Mom, it is so cool! Can we keep him?
Ummmm . . . nope.
But if we let him loose he might grow up to be as big as Godzilla and reap havoc all over the world!
Still, nope. We can take his picture and then put him back in the grass.
As Avery begrudgeonly returns his treasure to the jungle, I scoop up Leif, run to turn off the tub, which thankfully did not overflow, and place Leif in his highchair. I hand him some blocks, and he immediately shoves one into his mouth and sits contentedly while I flip the bacon and scramble the eggs. At that moment, I feel an overwhelming urge to text Derrick and declare how much I love our crazy life, even though, just an hour before, I had texted him threatening that this was the day I would be finally running away.
Derrick, I just had the greatest epiphany! This is OUR life! These are OUR children, and this is exactly what I have always wanted! We are truly blessed. Oh, and I fear I may be bi-polar.
To, which he replied:
Yes, yes you are.
Life right is now is infinitely harder than I ever thought imaginable, but it just feels right, and although I do not love every moment of my day, I am happy and my heart is full.