I sent my three bigs to school today. Aside from a blinking back a few tears for my new middle schooler ( how did that happen? ) , and gulping that huge- annoying lump in my throat because it is the end of another season – I’m actually ok. Maybe even more than ok?
It is almost perfectly fitting that it is rainy and downcast outside. Selah Bear is napping, and I am sitting on the couch, watching the rain fall on the glass. It is unbelievably warm and cozy in the house. Quiet . Peaceful.
A week ago we were in South Dakota. On the way there, Michael and I listened to an old sermon from Greg Boyd about raising children( if you haven’t heard him speak- look him up – he’s amazing ). Anyways , one of the points he discussed was how us parents shouldn’t frustrate our children, and one way we tend to do that is by putting unrealistic expectations on their tiny shoulders.
Ouch. Oh, how that hits home. These days, I am finding myself in a season of really seeing myself as a mom. Gosh- it’s so hard to view yourself so painstakingly clear; all the good, the great, and the downright ugly. But it’s ok . It really is. I’m beginning to welcome these realizations, as hard as they can be, because there is aspects of myself as a mom, a wife, and as a friend that I really am seeking change in. Give me the hard , so I can be better, for them.
Deep breath. I can do this.
Anyways, it really has made me stop and think about what, and how much am I requiring of my children, and what my response is when they don’t meet those too often un -reachable expectations. I’m actually embarrassed with my initial reaction towards them. It’s not loving . I become irritated, exasperated, and frustrated. That is not the kind of mom I want to be. Total opposite.
I want to be the kind of mom that is patient, kind, understanding, and full of grace. I am confident though that God stirs up change in our hearts, and then walks us through those changes. It is so hopeful, and so encouraging that change is possible.
Along those lines, what is also hitting me hard these days, is the realization that the expectations I am putting on myself are also wildly unrealistic. And when I fail to meet certain standards, I am even more frustrated with myself.
When Michael left for work this morning, he hugged me goodbye, and he told me to sit down and relax today.
If you know me, you know how tall of an order that is. I usually hit the ground running in the morning, often shoving too much into too little time. The concept of leaving margin in my day is foreign. Always on the go, always trying to complete the next thing. Then inevitably becoming extremely annoyed with myself when the day doesn’t quite go as planned.
More and more, I am realizing that I am hungry for a simpler life. One that isn’t filled with these crazy and impossible, self induced, to do lists. I want to learn how to embrace the quiet. I want to see and really enjoy my children, and husband. I want to be content with just being who I am. Not pushing myself to become someone I’m not – and then hating myself in the process. Does that even make any sense?
I don’t know. But I do know that I am going to take it day by day. Which is probably why I am a little relieved that school has begun again. I am excited to have a little extra time to really shift through my priorities, and discover what and who is important in my life, right now.
I don’t quite know what that looks like in the day to day yet. But I do know that I need to pull back on my expectations of myself, and my family. Which is precisely why I am listening to my wise husband, and about to sip my forth cup of coffee today. Maybe I’ll get to the laundry and dishes later, but while the baby sleeps, I am going to sit here, look out the window and just be.
The kids are going have a great school year. I am so excited for what they will learn, and how they will grow. This year, my goal is to learn how to breathe deeply again, everyday.
But more importantly to grow into the Mama my kids need.