The best laid plans…
Seriously though, why is it that when it seems like I have taken every necessary step to get all my little ducks in a row I turn around 10 minutes later to see that my ducks aren’t in a row at all. In fact, they aren’t even in the same vicinity of each other.
2 months ago on January 1st, 2019 I sat down and wrote out all my goals for 2019 and two weeks after that I wrote all about my unconventional way to homeschool. In each of these posts I shared all about the steps I have taken to ensure that my home runs on point due to the fact that life has changed and so has the season we are in. With me working 32-34 hours a week these simple things I shared were going to keep my house running smoothly, the laundry at least in a manageable state, meals routinely prepared and consumed on a manageable schedule, and my older kids sailing through their educations. I was even going to have time to read wonderful books to continue my personal growth, strengthen my spiritual disciplines, and cultivate my relationship with my husband so that we had a strong marriage to model for our kids.
Wanna know the truth?
None of it has has happened. Not even one tiny bit. For 2 seemingly blissful weeks I followed my carefully crafted menus. I took the time to go to the grocery store once a week following the shopping list to the letter. No extras in sight. I had a plan and I was sticking to it. I also spent time in the kitchen the next day prepping the meals and making sure the fruit and veggies were accessible and the snacks were carefully portioned out so that not only were the kids not getting too much junk, but everything was ready to go for packing lunches on the days we have to leave the house.
Then the semester officially started. Everything quickly faded into mass chaos as I attempted to navigate getting 5 people dressed and out of the house 2 days a week with all the necessary items in tow. Figuring out where the kids would be and what they would be doing while I was at work the other 3 days. Helping Dusty to figure out how he was going to fit in caring for the kids while I was at work a few days a week, producing the product for his newly launched small business, getting all the reading and assignments done for his classes, and attending the class lectures he was doing all the home work for. Most days dinner has consisted of the two of us standing in front of the fridge debating how much longer we can make those left overs last before they go bad for good. School lunches have consisted of lunch meat, cheese, cheese it crackers, and maybe some fruit snacks if the kids were lucky enough to get a care package from Grammie. And breakfast is the most sugar filled cereal we can find because having time to actually fix a hot meal is a thing of fantasy these days.
School time for the kids worked the way I described it for one week. For one beautiful week I came home after work, sat the kids at the table, and we walked through the daily lessons. And even then we only made it through about half of each day’s worth of work. And let me tell you, it was far from the beautiful, calm, encouraging stage I painted in my post. Nope, it was filled with tears of pain and anguish due to the fact that my 8 year hold has determined that a pencil is a torture device I dreamed up just to make his life miserable topped with the 6 year old singing her work as loud as she could over everyone else in the room because “I just love to sing mom. It helps me think”. And the cherry on the top of the chaos cake in the form of the 16 month old insisting I help her change her shoes no less than 18 times while begging for the food that has yet to finish cooking. By the time dinner was finally done all I wanted to do was sit on the couch lost in what ever pointless television show we choose to watch as we ate. I would sit there taking bite after bite imaging the mess to be cleaned up in the kitchen lying to myself as I said “we will finish the work when dinner is done. It will be fine.” Lies, all lies. The completion of dinner meant it was time for the kids to go to bed because if they didn’t I was going to lose it on them and no one wants to see that. Here I was gone from the house all day for one reason or another and I couldn’t wait for the kids to go to bed so that I could just get a moment of peace. Mom of the year right here ladies and gents.
The rest of the time, on the day’s they aren’t at the school where there are teachers paid to ensure they get their lessons done and they have been home with their dad for the majority of the day, I walk in the door I jump in to cooking dinner again telling myself we will get to the school work when we have eaten. And again the day ends with me sending the kids off to bed having not done a single lick of school work that day and me trying to re-arrange lesson plans for the teacher tomorrow.
The easy thing to do here would be to find some way to wallow in my own pity-party. (Ok, mini confession time…that is exactly what I have been doing for the last few days. I dove head first into the fountain of perpetual pity and it has taken nothing less than 2 arguments with Dusty, an entire roll of toilet paper used as tissue, and countless pep talks from my mom to drag me out of it.) But the fact of the matter is I have been trying for far too long to do it all on my own. I have had this idealized notion that because I am the “homemaker” it is my responsibility to do it all by myself. After all, it’s my job. This is what I was made to do. I have even been known to get mad and Dusty for trying to help with things like cooking dinner and cleaning up the kitchen. (This is where someone should check me for some form of illness because who in their right mind gets mad at someone else wanting to do the dishes!)
When I was in a season of being a full time stay at home mom then me feeling like it was my responsibility to do it all made a bit more sense. I mean after all Dusty was out working hard all day to make sure our bills were paid and we had food on the table. The least I could do was hold up my end of the bargain. The times and our responsibilities both in the home and out of it have changed but my perception hasn’t. I still hold fast to the need and desire to run and manage every aspect of this home the same way I would if I were here all the time. The routine should be done the same even because that’s how I would do it so that’s how everyone should do it. (Great plan Elizabeth, lets force everyone to be just like you!) So the truth is it’s time to let go. It’s time to let go of my unrealistic standards for myself and for those around me, my need to be in complete control of everything that goes on with the 4 walls of my home, and my inability to trust that Dusty, the man that God has given me as a partner in EVERY aspect of life, is perfectly capable of handling things here while I am out there.
Does this mean that I will be out in the work force and he will be the stay at home dad from now until kingdom come? Who knows. Is that what I would choose for our family if God walked up to me tomorrow and laid out a series of life choices for me to pick from? Nope. I wold would race back home in a heartbeat. But for now, I am going to try to learn to lean in more. To lean in to the support that I have from my friends and family who are my tribe. The ones who are there no matter what to make sure we are all going to succeed. To lean into the grace and mercy of God who has me and my family right where he wants us at this moment in time. Does it make sense to me any my finite mind why I would be given this passion and desire to be in one place doing one thing but for God to place me somewhere else for the time being? Nope, but I bet the Israelite people felt the same way every time God moved them somewhere other than their promised land all throughout the Old Testament.
So for now I will trust that I am where I need to be and rely on the team that He has given me to make each day about bringing Him glory. Will it be messy and will there be a lot of tears and stress? Probably, but I know I won’t have to manage it all alone.