Dietrich comes up to my leg while I sit at the computer preparing to write this blog and wipes his snotty nose on my jeans. Then he looks up at me and says “dodo,” which seems to mean, “Can you please get me a tissue and wipe my nose?” My translation must be accurate because after I’ve done this, he happily walks off to stare out the window at the mower next door.
These are my days recently. Constant interruption. Keeping up with housework and homeschooling three kiddos, all with a toddler underfoot who is down to one nap a day, is like juggling. All. Day. Long. I’d like to say that I do it with grace and supernatural patience, that I’m the epitome of “supermom.” But there are days, days like today, when I feel like the balls are crashing down.
Don’t get me wrong. I love homeschooling. I wake up each morning excited about the day because we get to do school. But somehow in the day to day struggle to complete three separate educational to do lists, things never look like I imagine them. It’s in those moments, when I’m reading louder and LOUDER, so that I can be heard over the screaming baby who is just tired, because he’s in that stage where he needs exactly 1.3 naps, that sometimes I lose my cool. This morning it was in the middle of morning prayer time where I reached over and slapped my squirmy middle son when he interrupted. How ironic is that? I can’t even focus and react correctly when I’m praying.
I know that my failed reactions are not due to a single instance, but rather are an accumulated frustration that I can no longer hold inside. I’t fairly obvious that my life is prone to frustration. I’m a stay at home mom with four kids of varying ages, all needing my attention and time. But that is my life right now, so just saying that my life is a great big frustration is not very helpful.
Balance is what I need. A juggler can’t juggle very well if they are only standing on one foot . . . on a tight rope. Well maybe they can, but I can’t. Technically I can’t even juggle, but let’s pretend I can. 🙂 I need both feet on solid ground to juggle. Life needs to be a balance of rest and work, aloneness and togetherness, spirituality and practicality.
I started this blog in a week that seemed to be going from bad to worse. Every time John asked me how I was doing, my answer was “I just need a break.” I was tired of concentrating on dinner and school and baby and future plans and church and housework. I wanted a chance to be able to sit down and just think of one thing without interruption for an extended period of time. But somehow as I pick up this blog to finish it, I find myself in a week that is going so much better. I’ve been a bit more patient, school has gone fairly smoothly, and the house is clean. And I hadn’t even had that break that I thought I needed so badly.
The only very big difference in my week that could explain my renewed energy and more positive attitude is a small group get together on Monday night. I hosted, which meant I piled almost all the housework into one day. I still fit in school too, so that day was pretty full of preparation, but the rest of the week has been much smoother. I haven’t really accomplished much more than I did last week, but my attitude has been energized by the interaction with people (something I need on a regular basis) and my day starts so much better as I come downstairs to an already clean house, kept clean with just a short pickup and sweep each day. The deeper cleaning will all wait until next Monday when we’ll do it all again. I also feel more fulfilled because I now have something in my week that is a concrete step towards my goal of building community into my everyday life, a goal that I was feeling little progress towards despite how passionate I feel about it. Not only do we have a weekly meeting set up, but I feel much more ready and able to have other people into my house any other day of the week as well.
Somehow I made a step towards that balance this week. And ironically it happened not by doing “less,” but by doing “more.” It was just that that more was exactly the sort of thing that I needed to do. I hope that my choices this next week will continue to lead me towards balance, because I really do want to be full of joy in these busy days.
P.S. I started this blog about two weeks ago. I wrote the end one week ago. For some reason I never got around to posting it, so I feel like I should update that this week has gone somewhere in the middle of those last two weeks. Not as horribly bad as that first week, but not as exhilaratingly good as the second. But that is sort of what balance is about, right?