Friday, November 07, 2008


I don't know about you, but I really struggle with setting limits in my life. When I want to do something, I want to do it whole hog, all the way, hard core. I don't just want to eat a little healthier, I want to start making smoothies with spinach in them and only buy things that are frugal and healthy and cruelty free and organic and possibly gluten free as well. I don't want to just improve my relationship with God, I want to start praying an hour a day, do an intensive Bible study, go on a three month mission trip, volunteer at a soup kitchen,knit hats for under privileged Ukrainian children and sponsor a Haitian child.

No baby steps here folks.

But it always seems that when I take the reigns and I start running, God brings me back with inflexible barriers that force me to move slower. He manipulates the circumstances in such a way as to make me see how much better it is to take my time and to pray first and make lists and plans later. You know, measure twice cut once and all that.

I've been thinking a lot about how I want to structure my days while I am at home. You know, now that the kids are a little older and able to play with each other and watch tv and entertain themselves for longer stretches of time, I find myself in need of a new game plan. I can no longer rely on my children structuring the day as I had been. When your kids are little, most of your day revolves around putting out fires. You wake up to them crying in hunger, then they need to be changed, then they need this, then they need that. It's not a bad phase of life by any means, but the child is often doing the leading. And when you have two children that are young and close in age, while they may not be in charge, it is profoundly crippling to think that you can have a strict and set agenda that they will adhere to with no effort on your part. With children come interruptions.

But now, there are less of them. I no longer have to look at my children and gauge their emotional/intestinal/physical abilities before I go to the grocery store. I can go when I need to and through conversation and manipulation get through the errand without too many difficulties.

I can do this, you see, but I don't.

I seem to be having a problem adjusting to the face that I no longer have babies. Tot is four and will be starting Kindergarten (even if it is home school kindergarten) next year and Little David is already 2 1/2. They don't use high chairs or booster seats, I haven't used a stroller in who knows how many months, they both sleep in twin beds, and I am quickly approaching not having to buy diapers anymore. I am officially a parent of kids.

And so now, when I am beginning my day, I forget to plan. I have lived in a reactive state for so long that I have forgotten that it is infinitely better to be proactive (also a brilliant face care system). I forget that I shouldn't be sitting at my computer waiting to break up a fight, or tear a loaf of bread away from Tot's clutching hands. I should be doing something. I should be reading one of those history books on my shelf that I swore I would read when I found a chunk of time I could concentrate. I should be catching up on laundry. I should be cleaning out all those files from 2007 (and maybe 2006...). I should be reading more books to the kids, getting them outside more, doing more art projects and science projects. I should be having Tot do more work books and more memory work. I should be baking with them more, teaching them about household chores and responsibility. We should be having craft time, and music time, and, I don't know, Godly Instruction From Your Patient and All Wise Mother Time. Who knows who would be leading that one.

And now we are back to limits.

It seems that when one tries to teach one's children all those things in a single day, one's children get irritated. And one Unsinkable gets tired, grumpy and discontent with her mothering abilities.

This is when God straps me down and wrenches me away from the myriad of blogs that tell me how to hand felt my children's winter hats, and lets me know that one baby step, done regularly and well until it is an ingrained personal habit, is of far more worth than trying to do a thousand special things and only being able to make it for a single day before collapsing on the couch and never trying anything, ever again.

So, limits.

I'm working on mine. Slow and steady. Rough and ready. Working, working, working.

Also, if I find some one to lead that "Godly Instruction From Your Patient and All Wise Mother Time" I will totally let you know.


becky said...

thank goodness!! will you tell her to swing through alabama on her way? thanks.

Tiffany said...

This is a great reminder even to those of us who aren't parents. Thanks, UK. I, too, am a whole-hogger, and I desperately needed this reminder today.