I have found myself uttering the phrase, "This is not the way it's supposed to be" a lot, lately.
I am completely overwhelmed and disorganized these days. And for me, that is a nightmare since I strive on being organized and in control. I have my chart on the fridge that reminds me of which kid needs which item for school for each day, right next to Abby's school lunch menu and numerous letters from the school about upcoming events. My planner is always with me so that I do not forget practices, appointments and birthdays. I would like to think that everything in our house has a place and that even my junk drawer is mostly organized.
However, due to being outnumbered by three kids and having my hormones still completely crazy from pregnancy, I am rapidly falling apart.
Within the last couple of months, I have forgotten library books, Abby's lunch, nursery duty at church, pick-up times from school, birthdays and practice times. I have left clean clothes in the dryer for days and clean dishes in the dishwasher for even more days.
It really should not be this difficult. I am a stay-at-home mom who should stay on top of such things. I am sure working moms have to laugh and wonder at how I am not keeping on top of everything with only the house to run. Truthfully, I am wondering myself.
I always swore that my family would never be running around too busy. My parents were really good about letting my brother and me enjoy our childhood without filling it up with activities. They let us get involved with things that were important to us, but did not make us join everything just to be busy. However, with my oldest only being six years old, I am starting to realize how difficult a task this is.
None of the things that keep the kids busy are bad or really that time consuming. It is just when they all happen to occur at the same time that it feels out of control. I cannot say no to the Christmas program at school-it is part of their music class that we are paying for. I cannot say no to the church Christmas pageant since I did not say no the school performance. I cannot say no to Abby's plea to take dance class since I know she will absolutely love it. And now that a school parent suggested to our family that Abby take voice lessons (after hearing her solo at the school program and thinking she has talent), how do I say no?
All of these things are good things. The kids enjoy being a part of everything and we enjoy watching them. What is not enjoyable is the time that it takes to participate in it all. We have spent way too much time in the car going from place to place and I can tell they are tired. They just want to be kids and have time to play at home. Again, they are six and four years old. They should want to be home and play.
What does not help is that Nick has to work extra hours with coaching, tutoring, and every other thing you can get out of a teacher for me to be able to stay home with the kids. I know he is exhausted and stressed, so of course I feel bad for complaining about my tiredness and stress. It is an endless cycle-he works more to provide for us, while I get more stressed because I'm alone with the kids who miss their dad.
I also have constant reminders of things that need to be done. The to-do pile on the kitchen counter never seems to get smaller. My journal next to my Bible has not been touched in weeks. The promise of starting to exercise to P90X keeps getting interrupted by excuses. And every time I turn on my salt-covered van filled with wrappers and toys, it chimes at me to change the oil.
Which leads me to say, "This is not the way it's supposed to be."
Would it not be a marvelous thing if our culture allowed us to easily survive on one income? And what if it was fashionable to strive to be the least busy?
I know my complaints are nothing compared to the real tragedies in the world. I suppose if my latest worry is how to juggle so many blessings, then I am doing okay.