I can barely recall the days when I used to hit the alarm clock two or three times before getting up. Or how often I went over to do lists in my mind between the alarms or while actually doing my hair as I got ready to head to work. But I do think that those days were easier. Could it just be that realities fade somewhat as they become memories? Do we prefer to remember only the good things, and not so much the more stressful things? Or is parenting and schooling at home really the hardest thing I've ever done?
Yes, that must be it. Really!
Take this week for instance. Yes, I plan a week at a time now. I used to plan for months back in the day, but now I settle for a week at a time. And sometimes a day at a time. It just makes more sense. And I am the first to admit that I have less control than I used to. Yes, less control. Before, being in charge meant that I could request progress/activities, and while there might have been griping under a few breaths now and then, it generally got done. There were deadlines. And my paycheck depended on them. As did many others. So they guided my life.
Now my 'deadlines' are fluid. I am raising children. I am not in charge of them. They must make their own decisions. It is my job to train, guide, teach and direct, but ultimately they will need to make decisions on their own. And live with the consequences. And I want them to generally make good decisions based on strong biblical principles, have strong relationships, be true disciples for the Lord, read wonderful books, do necessary math without struggle, and enjoy learning for learning sake. So I am very flexible. Because I am a parent. Of children. Who are ever-changing.
Okay, now back to my week...
It was my goal this week to stick to our schedule, make sure we made adequate progress in our school work, maintain a pleasant, encouraging attitude in a clean house, guide my growing children in thinking beyond their needs, get the laundry done including folded and put away, and make dinner at least 5 nights this week without depending on quick fix things like hot dogs. And I have other goals, too. Things like making sure I spend some time each day in the Word and with the Lord, praying over my children and their individual needs, reminding my husband of the reason we thought getting married was the absolute best idea in the world all those years ago, and coloring my hair while spending some time with my Mom are on the list, too. If you add in the necessary things like keeping milk and bread stocked in the frig, getting Laura to therapies and dance classes on time, making sure the boys shovel the three feet of global warming that falls in our driveway, and baking cookies for my troops, you can see my eyes glazing over.
But last week I realized something. Something I apparently was missing before. I discovered time. Time with the kids doing, well, nothing. You know. Like watching movies while not cutting out something for a school game, stitching, or reading at the same time. Just talking to them about whatever comes to mind without listing on ebay or carrying clothes down the stairs at the same time. And time to myself. Before everyone else but Don wakes up. Time to just sit quietly. Listening. To the snow fall. Or the cars drive by as the world wakes up outside.
I'm sure the kids wonder why I am not doing something else while I'm doing something, but they haven't complained. And if they saw me sitting, just sitting, before I started my day in the Word, I'm sure they'd have even more to consider. But I've discovered something valuable here. It is a hard job that I do every day. But it is doable. Maybe not to the ultimate standards that someone else may set for themselves, but at least I'm here. Home with my children. Molding their hearts and minds every day. To the best of my ability.
And some day... yes, some day, they will be thankful. And I will be wondering why my to do list is so small.