The notion of the life of a stay at home mom being one of bits and pieces has been on my mind in recent months. Sometimes at the end of the day, I feel frustrated by the fact that little appears to have been done. Sometimes, I feel frustrated that I am so needed. Frustrated that I am rarely able to accomplish a task uninterrupted. Five minutes here. Ten minutes there. Maybe a half hour if I get lucky. And in between: trying to meet the needs of my children. And sometimes trying not to feel resentful toward them for taking me away from all that needs to be done around here. Yes, I know, my most important job is raising these two children who need me more than I would sometimes like them to. Everything else is of secondary importance. Yet, in the moment, sometimes all I feel is the frustration, and I let it get the better of me, and I let it skew my vision for what I want my family to be and what is truly important.
For those of you who don’t know, I have a huge issue with guilt. Yes, it’s practically a way of life for me. I can make myself feel guilty for just about anything. And while I can spend a lot of time blaming this or that for my guilt-complex, the fact of the matter is, the ‘why’ doesn’t really matter. I just need to learn to live guilt free.
So, I feel guilty if the house is a mess, or I feel guilty because I become impatient with my kids for keeping me from cleaning. I feel guilty for crafting when there are other things that should be done. I feel guilty because I cannot do it all. And I say to Ben – I have said it to him for years – “I just need to get organized.” But life continues on at it’s quick pace, and another week of undirected living is done with. So much time wasted.
As this idea of bits and pieces has been nudging at me here and there, I realize that though I usually consider myself a rather adaptable person, I have not adapted my life to the challenge of full time homemaker and mother. I throw my hands up and cry that I just can’t do it well, when the truth is, I could do it a whole lot better if I was willing to bend to the reality of my life and embrace the bits and pieces instead of bemoaning them.
I have decided I am done fighting them. I have decided that I can do this better. I am no longer going to look at the whole of my house and say, “I have so much to do, and I need to do it all now.” From now on, my work is done in bits and pieces, and little by little, it will get done.
I’m just about as organizationally challenged as I am guilt ridden. So, this last week was spent trying to develop a routine that will work for us. I have to say “thank you” to Lisa, as her new schedule really pushed me to get out of the mulling-it-over-phase and begin actively embracing order. So, I have a general schedule jotted down, and we’re adapting it day by day as we figure out what works and what doesn’t.
It is really quite freeing because Jonas and I know that both of our needs will be met, and we don’t have to feel selfish with our time. There is time for me to play with him without thinking about my to do list, and I know that there is time for chores – even if sometimes they come in fifteen minute chunks of time. He knows that he will be given my full attention at various times throughout the day, and he knows that there are times that I (or both of us) will be doing work. It sounds simple – and I suppose it is – but it is making a huge difference in how we perceive and embrace the day.
I am too much of an all or nothing person. If I can’t work until it’s done, sometimes I don’t want to start, but I am going to work on changing that. I am not going to allow that to paralyze me. I am ready to stop feeling guilty and start doing what I can, whatever that means for that day.