Rushing seasons.

Getting older brings about it many things, such as stray eyebrows to pluck out, love handles to hold on to and expectations to let go of. While I could wax quite eloquently (or at least knowledgeably) of the first two based from personal, daily experience, it is the latter I feel briefly compelled to address, not because I have arrived,but because I feel the pressures on this journey. In a culture that in many ways has afforded us a million more conveniences than our grandmother's ever knew, we have also gained an inconvenient, unspoken expectation to do more and be more. While we may be liberated from the lifestyle of the 1950's housewife, we would be wise to see we are subject to being subservient to expectations that leave us pretending, tired and poor in spirit.

Because God, in His odd sense of humor, decided to give this impatient, noise-intolerant woman five unexpected, strong-willed offspring in a condensed span of three years, it was immediately apparent that I was in a season where I simply could not do anything other then keep these children alive and not rolling around in their own feces (for long). It was sink or swim. Even though I am not far out, I barely remember those years. Thank goodness I have this blog/baby book to look back on in order from keeping my glasses from growing too rosy. It was a physically demanding job that left me very little energy left over for anyone, even myself. I do not yet wish for those days back, mainly because I refuse to let my vision grow to romantic and also because most days I still feel as though am treading the waters of sanity.

My five children are no long babies, no longer toddlers. At ages 8 through 5, they now qualify as "school aged" children. Several weeks ago, I grew nostalgic about this season I will be officially out of in September when my twins head to Kindergarten. I suppose I subliminally placed myself already there and scheduled several events here at my home...nice events, lovely people, promises to them and myself to "keep it simple". Yet, as end of the school year events started piling up, my husband's work schedule kept building, I found myself one day last week completely overwhelmed at "all" I had to do beyond those things (and the wash/perpetual meals/etc). I felt ridiculous at feeling overwhelmed, for surely I should be able to handle a little bit more! They are older! I am not working outside the home! I am (or at least thought I once was) a high-energy person! 

For half of that day, I tried reasoning with the stress I felt, listing off name of the women I knew who seemed to handle a far fuller schedule than mine with great ease. I also fell back on the temptation to believe that scaling back my busyness would indicate spiritual weakness or a lazy lease on life. But then it occurred to me: I am rushing the season of life I am in. It is not weak to keep fortified boundaries in order to give our home a sense of order and peace. It is not weak to admit I cannot do it all and still remain a kind human being to my husband and children, two of whom are still home with me all day, every day and the others who come home from the world, needing an unharried haven.  It is not weak to cancel those events that are not mandatory to the health of the home I've committed myself to growing. This is why the second half of that day involved cancelling events with several very kind, very gracious people who extended understanding. The feeling I felt disarming my self-set expectations was akin to what I felt after a much needed break-up. I'm free! I'm free! I could now go back to concentrate on staying a sane wife and mother (which, even without the add-on's, is a daily challenge). 

I am still in a season where just saying "no" is the stronger choice. I am still in a season where the weak choices are the ones I make when bowing to the expectations of my pride, or the ones I create because I am anxious to be in the season after this one. It is also important to acknowledge the gift of being able to stay in this season, for many, many women have no choice but to work long hours, do both the mothering and fathering, with no extra "special events" to even consider canceling. At any moment, I could have no choice but to have to dig deep and give longer hours than I knew possible. 

For today, I do not have to be subjected  to "doing". I have the gift of focusing on "being" and there are five little lives depending on me being focused enough to keep their home (under which their formative years grow) my priority. The premature rush to the next season will only keep me from enjoying the one I am in. And so, I shift from doing to being, moment by moment.



Jaime said…
Thanks so much for these words! As one who often overbooks things and feels like I will "miss out" if I say no to anything, this strikes a chord. I think of you often and hope all is well. Will continue praying for you as summer hits and your home starts "hopping" a bit more before next school year rolls around :)
From my perspective, as a full fledged member of the "sandwich generation", I wholeheartedly agree with this! I look back, I glance around me now, and I look ahead, and really, I feel like your perspective is true in everyone of those time periods. Take time for those you love in your home, because before you know it, they are not there. I love reading your posts, when you share your heart. Thank you for inspiring me today.

You are a great mom to those five!

I love you!


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