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|Tired of Being Too Busy
We max out our calendars with so many things. We try to please everyone. Well, everyone except for those that live within the walls of our own home. We expect them to “understand.” Why?
Having a large family, I understand that I am not always going to be everywhere that everyone needs me to be. Most days I wish I could clone myself. My husband and I are very I involved and active in those activities that our children have shown interest and those that are our own passions and pursuits. But when is enough – enough?
Enough was enough when I realized that I am missing out on things that are important to my kids. Enough is enough when I am disappointing my own children. I think I started worrying more about what other people thought and who I was disappointing out in the “real” world. Too many fundraisers, volunteering, and stepping up to do school or community events. Trying to sugar coat it all with the idea that I was expected to do certain things and my children would just have to understand. But yesterday it really hit me. My children should have to understand nothing. I am their mother first and foremost. That is the most important thing that I have to do.
When I go to my fridge and it is empty for days…what am I doing? When my daughter begs me for weeks to sew something for her and I don’t…what am I doing? When my home sits in complete dishevelment for days upon days…what am I doing? When my kids aren’t feeling well and I tell them to finish their schoolwork and take some Robitussin…what am I doing? When my children ask me to sit and watch a television show with them and I tell them I am too busy – what exactly am I too busy doing?
I believe that is the reason the last 5 years have flown by. I have completely overextended myself. I don’t want it to go by so fast anymore. I don’t want to miss those things anymore. I should be telling other people NO – not my children. It is so incredibly easy to make those kids wait on everything else. They don’t argue. They don’t get upset. They just say okay, put their head down and walk away. That is a dangerous place to be - because they are keeping track of all of their disappointments silently - internally. Those are their memories of me as a mother and what they will remember in their hearts. Then what happens when it is time for them to raise their family? What example have I shown them?
Recently, my husband and I have acknowledged that we are in way over our heads. With teenagers, people can have a false sense of security. You can get into a mind set that they are “old enough to understand.” Or that they aren’t as needy and that they are more independent or since they are older they should…Blah. Blah. Blah. But it’s just not true. I am learning that our teenagers need us more than they did as little children. Yes, they are completely capable of making themselves dinner or washing their own clothes. That isn’t the point. They still need our company. Our example. They still need us to put them first in our lives so that they feel secure. They need to know that they are still important to us – not because we said so – but because we make choices that showed them that. They may not say all of these things to us because society’s expectations is that they “grow up” – but that is just not reality of our teens.
For the first time in a very long time, I put my family first yesterday. I didn’t worry about all of the things that were lined up on my plate. A few years ago, I was headed out the door to go to work. My son at the time was 11 years old. He had not been feeling well. Just as I had to walk out of the door, he began vomiting. All over the bathroom. In my panic, I said, “I’ve got to go to work. I can’t do this right now.” All I could think is that I had a class starting in 30 minutes. I will never forget the look on his face or the sound of his voice when he said, “Don’t worry Mom, you can go, I will clean it up.” That was not okay. So yesterday there was something happening that was very important to my son. It was more important than anyone could realize. But I knew how important it was. I looked at my son and told him that I had to work. I saw that same expression on his face as that night he was sick. But this time, he didn’t tell me not to worry and he didn’t tell me it was okay. Because it wasn’t.
Now I have the luxury of not having to work to support my family. But I have chosen to teach dance classes because it has been a passion, but also because it allows my daughter to participate in more than she could if I didn’t teach. So there is somewhat of a financial necessity for it though it isn’t to pay the mortgage – that is for sure. I teach to allow my daughter opportunities that we wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. But I certainly don’t need to teach or do all that I have become wrapped up in. My own quest to say “Yes” has crippled me again.
Yesterday, my daughter was struggling with some schoolwork and my son was in need of more assistance with some new Algebra concepts. She has not been feeling well as it is and her patience was low. I found myself frustrated and was considering giving up homeschooling after 8 years. Not to mention the fact that my oldest son was home sick from school and since our insurance changed I hadn’t found a new doctor for them and we were out of Albuterol for all of their asthma. Then it dawned on me what was actually happening. My husband and I needed to get 70 wrestling uniforms picked out, inventoried, bagged and name-tagged because we run the local wrestling team and it is time for uniform distribution. I was frustrated that my kids needed me while this was hanging over my head. What was I thinking? Quickly, the thought crossed my mind…somebody else needs to be doing this – not us. I need to go take care of my children and focus on what they needed from me.
So yesterday I got substitutes to teach my dance classes. The world didn’t come to an end. They all survived without me. I’m not so important that someone else couldn’t do the job. I made my family my priority. I was there to support my son. I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t have been there for him. It was the most natural feeling in the world. I didn’t feel guilty or worry that I wasn’t “at work.” But I know that I would have been miserable if I had gone to work and abandoned my son. While driving home last night, he commented that I was there. I said, “I got someone to teach for me.” He said nothing. He just smiled. I asked him, “Are you happy?” Without hesitation he responded, “Very.”
In my efforts to be everything to everyone, I am losing my compassion and patience for my own children. I am expecting them to understand and accept things they should not have to. They should be my first priority – always. Yesterday I remembered that these children are on loan to me from God. He has trusted me with their care. The rest of the world will just have to understand…
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