Signs of staying the same.

alexander's bad day.JPGThis has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I’d move to Australia, but I don’t think Dave would want my cranky family.

Some things popped up this morning that disrupted the plan I had already laid out. And not only that, but the thing that popped up meant I need to be on the phone and the computer all morning, which means the kids have been either watching t.v. or bugging the hell out of me, or getting in trouble just to get any sort of attention from me.

It is what it is, and it sucks. But I have to admit I’m not dealing well with the stress and the disruption, as I’ve fallen into some old patterns of yelling at and barking orders at the kids.

on the potty with the clockLately I’ve been acutely aware that time as a resource is very limited. Not just in terms of the number of hours in a day, or days in a week, or weeks in a year – but in terms of my ability to steward it well. I’m not sure if this is a word used much outside the church context, but when I say stewardship I mean, what am I doing with the ____ God has given me?

In the case of time, I feel as if I’m always chasing it. Always trying to keep up, but one step behind. I’m always late leaving the house, always late arriving at our destination, and always scrambling at the last minute for a deadline.

One day my kids will be all grown up – did I steward my time with them wisely? Did I enjoy them? One day I may need or want to go back to work – did I steward my time well while running things at home? Someday my gym membership will run out and we’ll decide to not renew – did I steward my time well and use it as much as I was able to? I could go on and on.

When I consider a day like today that was supposed to be wide open for adventure and fun, and instead is filled with chaos of attitude, time, and clutter all around us, I can’t help but wonder how much of this chaos is due to the legitimate wrench in my plans, and how much is due to my lack of stewardship over the time I’ve been given.

If I was a better steward, would I have recovered more quickly and easily from this interruption? Would I have already completed what I am now catching up on?

I don’t like feeling like I’m barely keeping it together. I’ve been working really hard to stay on top of things, and I wonder if others feel as overwhelmed as I do by the basic tasks of paying bills, keeping a decent house, making sure we’re all fed and clothed. I don’t even have high standards! It’s not like I need my house to be spotless, or that I obsess over Martha Stewart-like meals – I have very low expectations of myself.

And still, I find it difficult to meet even the most basic needs.

Keeping Watch?I don’t notice this as much when the train is running smoothly and on time. When we wake up on time and get out the door on time and get done what we need to get done, it still feels overwhelming, but at least I get it done. It’s when something extra and unexpected gets thrown into my day that I seem to lose all focus and chaos sets in. Suddenly, because of this one unplanned thing, I don’t clean up after breakfast, and I don’t start that load of laundry, and I don’t follow through with basic tasks, leaving stuff lying around until my house is full of clutter and my brain is about to explode.

I’ve always considered myself a very flexible person, but maybe this isn’t so true? Maybe I’m only flexible when I have 24 hours notice? Or when I didn’t have plans to start with? Or when I’m in charge of what gets sprung on me unexpectedly?

I don’t know the answer to this, and I was sort of hoping it would come to me as I wrote as things so often do. But it hasn’t – though I feel better for having vented it.

The kids are asleep. I will now shut down the computer and put my house back together and reset my attitude for the next part of my day. God be with you, and thanks for listening.

5 thoughts on “Signs of staying the same.”

  1. Hi Jen,

    I’ve been reading your blog for the past couple of days and feeling that maybe we might be soul sisters beyone sharing our first name. Your post today is very compelling evidence that we might be, in fact, peas that once occupied the same pod. Firstly, you have highlighted my most favorite books of all time. We joke about Australia all the time at my house. Secondly, I used to think I was such a sharp tack….very strong, very in control, extrememly organized and effective….the last 3 years have blown that concept to smitherines.

    I look forward to wallowing in life’s piles with you (via blog) in the future! Thanks for putting an eloquent voice to the chaos inside my own head!


  2. jen, i hear your struggle to be flexible with interuptions. you are a great mom and have reasonable expectations! thank you for sharing the struggle and your desire to steward your time. I am praying for you, friend!
    love, trisha

  3. Well, if it makes you feel any better, you described my life to a ‘T’. Well, except the chronically late part. I’m a ‘get there early at all costs’ freak. But anyway, I’m pretty sure it’s all just a thing called Motherhood. I do know it gets better as your kids get older. And for me, it got a lot more enjoyable. I miss and remember fondly the baby/toddler/preschool days. BUT, I’m having a lot more fun parenting now that my kids are older. I’m not sure if this is because I’m better at it (doubtful) or if it’s because I let things roll off easier (this is prolly the case.) ANYway, chin UP! This too shall pass. 🙂

  4. I found you from Diane’s blog… and after reading this post was so touched by your honesty, your desire to be the best God’s girl you can be. I think every single mother that desires to be a God’s girl goes through the anxieties just as you have described here. And I can tell you, after many long years of raising children, then having our granddaughters move into our home while Mommy struggles to regain a hold on life going through a divorce, I am experiencing the very same things you are!

    But each day, I do the very best that I can do. Give the day to God and try to not take over for Him in guiding my steps ;o) and I try to take care of everything I am in charge of. What I have found though, at this end of life, is the things that used to irritate me and make me fall apart because I did not have time to deal with them or I was trying to stay on course… those things just don’t get me upset anymore and I have an “I can only do what I can do” attitude.

    God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, He only expects us to do what we can do.

    So fear not… you are going to continue to be the great dedicated Mom you are and God is going to bless you for giving your all.


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