Thursday, June 28, 2012

giving up on the good (for something better)

This notion of doing it all has obvious been on my mind a lot lately.

Then I read this post this morning and I realized that I've got some good to give up on.

Before Jack was born, I was notorious for buzzing through my household to-do list like a maniac. Andrew called it my Tazmanian Devil Days. It was usually a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon when I would take on this don't-talk-to-me-I'm-busy attitude and just plow through whatever was between me and total relaxation. Then I'd celebrate with a glass of tea and a smile, knowing that the rest of the day was mine to do with as I pleased.

My intentions were good - I just wanted to be able to give Andrew and our time together my undivided attention. But what is it they say about the road to hell?

These days, the list seems longer than ever. We're still trying to get settled in this house of ours, so there's more than just the dishes and the laundry. And I try to buzz through my list, but something different happens. I go, go, go and when I get to the end, there's nothing left. No chores, maybe. But also no daylight and no energy. And do you know why that happens?

It took me eight months, but I'm finally realizing that I can't do things as efficiently with him around. Who knew?

But this scenario kept playing out where I'd push to get things done - because I like for my house to look nice and I like to have a good dinner on the table and I like to have the laundry put away - but I was giving my family my leftovers. Jack was getting a busy mama during the day and Andrew was getting an run-down wife at night. And friends? Nobody wins at that game.

It was the day that I had to set a timer for 30 minutes during naptime, just to give myself time to relax with a magazine, that I realized how messed up things had gotten. Who times their relaxation?! I do, apparently.

So I started praying hard about it. Not that I'd figure out how to manage my time better or that Jack would take longer naps so I could get more done, but for a heart change. I knew that I couldn't walk away from my to-do list without some serious anxiety over what wasn't crossed off unless I got down deep to the root of it.

And Jesus said, let's see if you're still a perfectionist when I'm done with you, sweet girl. 

It's working.

It took me three days to load and unload the dishwasher this week.
I haven't swept in a week, even though the dog hair is gathered in clumps around the baseboards. Shiver.
The curtains in the sunroom won't be hung by the time my mom gets here this weekend.

Baby steps, people.

I'm still trying to figure out how to make my list more manageable so I don't feel so overwhelmed by it all, but what I'm really aiming for is the ability to put down the broom and sit in the floor to play with my son instead. Or put off the dishes until morning so I can watch a movie with my husband. Or here's a thought: put aside the laundry so I can put my feet up. And not just do those things, but feel good about it. 

I'm getting there and it does feel good. Really good.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go do the dishes. I've given up on that good long enough and we're starting to run out of glasses.

2 friends said...:

  1. I am a self proclaimed perefectionist...and the Lord is daily showing me that I can do it all and do it perfectly all the time.

    I sometimes get all frazzled and then the Lord tells me to take a breath and rest in him.

  2. I, too, often run myself into the ground and try to perfect the imperfectness that is my house/life/laundry etc. In those moments I try to remind myself that I only have to do what the LORD has called me to do. Recently in my family there has been a huge riff in my family because I didn't attend a function; but that function was not in my daughters best interest. Though it would have been nice to be there to support my relative, the Lord did not call me to do it. He called me to be a good and discerning mother. I'm praying with you sister, that we both find the balance.


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