About Me

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New South Wales, Australia
I write to make people smile about the craziness of life with small people - because it IS crazy, no doubt. It is also wonderful.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Plans

I love a good plan. In fact, I spend a great deal of time planning. Activities, meals, shopping, how and when I will do housework. If I can get up on Monday morning, and simply follow my lists, I have a brilliant day. Like Rainbows-Coming-Out-My-Nose-brilliant. 

During Influenza/Pneumonia Week, I had a Plan. 

None of my Plan happened. And I struggled with that. Nobody wanted to eat the meals I had planned. Which meant the carefully thought out shopping lists were useless. And not having everyone go to their assigned destination (school, preschool) meant that my Oh-So-Amazingly-EPIC to-do lists were absolutely not achievable. 

I did not handle this well. I got up Monday, and felt unwell. But I had a Plan. I went to the pool, did thirty lengths of the pool, did the shopping, but came home and basically collapsed. Unable to cook, clean, or do anything but shiver and sweat and ache. And my Plan - it collapsed too. We went into survival mode. If the children could reach it off a shelf, they could eat it. The television we'd removed from the lounge room? On from dawn until dusk. I was too tired and sick to argue about anything. Want to wear clothes to bed? Sure. Dishes went undone, floors un-vacuumed, refrigerator unexplored. Laundry was washed, but sitting on a bed, waiting to be folded and put away. Things which simply were too hard when you have the flu. Then Thursday, I got an appointment to take my daughter to the doctor, and life became wildly unplanned. Even as my family slowly regained their health, we were blessed with so much food from our church family and friends. By Tuesday, we had enough food to last the rest of the week (and then some!). 

For the first time in a long time, I had no menu. I had no plan. I had no schedule. And it was hard, because I think I had come to rely on my awesome planning more than I was relying on God. I was completely dependent on the goodwill of others, and my own plans went in the toilet. 

There's a reason the song isn't "How Great My Plans", and I know that now, in a very real way. Being organised is important, but ultimately, it provides only the illusion of control. I am not in control, and I don't know about you, but I am humbled by that knowledge. I still might have Pplans, but I guess I am more aware now that they may or may not coincide with God's Plans. And in the bigger picture, those are the ones I want to be a part of. Who better to plan my life than the One who knit me in my mother's womb? 

I still delight in being organised. I still get a thrill out of a day which goes like clockwork. The difference is that now, I know it's not really about my planning skills. It's about the Plan my Father has for me, and has had for me since before time began, and my willingness to let go of my own plans and embrace His. 

Here's to letting go of being In Control (because we're not anyway!)

xo, Sarah

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mother Guilt

I'm wrestling tonight with some massive loads of guilt, and in an effort to work through it, I thought I'd write some things down, and just throw it out there into the night, somewhere between the stars and sky, where God can sort it out because I'm just too, too tired. 

My oldest was in hospital last week. Bilateral pneumonia, as a complication of this blasted flu we've all had. Now. I didn't cause the flu, and I didn't cause the pneumonia. In fact, the latter was caused by her not coughing up the stuff in her lungs. So I know that I didn't cause all the fuss. What I don't know, or what I've been trying rather hard to compensate for, is whether I did everything in my power to make her well. I had rather a rough week as well, having also had the flu. Trying to care for four children, all in varying stages of sickness, while being so sick myself- it kind of addled my brains. I kept looking at her, and thinking "she needs to go to the doctor". But then I'd think - "but it's just a virus, keep pushing fluids, rest. She'll turn the corner soon". And honestly, even the day I took her to the doctor, I thought she'd turned the corner in the night. But I was wrong. 

Cue Guilt. Lots of it. Guilt because I was wrong, because I doubted myself in the first place, because I let her get so darn sick at all, because I had to divide myself between home and hospital, because my other children needed me too and I couldn't be there for them. Guilt because my husband had to hold the fort and he was sick. Because I couldn't do it all. And I know, I know. I've written about not doing it all, and I do believe that. But caring for my family, it's my job. And in the last week, I've felt like I've failed at my job. And no matter how much I tell myself that I've done the best I can do, a tiny part of me still throws out the "why didn't I..." question. 

We brought school holidays forward by a week, because I didn't want to risk our fragile immune systems with anything else from school or preschool. Plus, it's really only been today that everyone's appetite has returned. The adrenaline of last week has worn off, and I'm drained. I actually need a nap by lunchtime, not that one is forthcoming. 

I got a message from a very dear friend of mine, reminding me that this was not my fault. And I know that. It's not really that I blame myself for causing the illness. It's more that I didn't protect them from it, or I didn't cure it. Silly, I know. 

I'm not really looking for sympathy, or encouragement. So many of you have been so very encouraging already - and it is deeply appreciated. I have to let go of all the doubt, and the guilt. Somehow, writing this out has helped begin that process. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. 

xo, Sarah 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Seize the Day!

People always tell me "Enjoy it while it lasts". Referring to the fleeting childhood of my offspring, presumably - but in a bigger, carpe diem interpretation, I take it to mean that life is too precious, and we need to LIVE it. 

I read an article last night, which was shared on Facebook, "it's their day, too", and it was superbly written. Plucked at my mother-heart so intensely, I think every parent/carer needs to read it. It needs to go viral, in all honesty. 

I promise I'm about to join those two thoughts- bear with me? 

This morning, my son and daughter began busily unpacking my cabinets, and giving me a concert with the saucepans and containers. I was tripping over them, trying to make lunches, fielding what seemed to be a zillion questions. You know, just normal stuff. And then, before we left the house, one daughter cleaned up the blocks, including the Very Special Mega Blocks Computer Construction my other daughter had made. We were a bit pressed for time, and she needed to build it again right then, right there. It absolutely could not wait until after school, no matter how I phrased the suggestion. 

In retrospect, and considering that article - building that VSMBCC, it was part of her day. Both times. I could have simply begun putting the others into the car, giving her a couple extra minutes to finish rebuilding. What would it have cost me? I was so fixated on my own agenda, that I forgot about hers. The very thing I get annoyed most about, I was doing to her. 

This morning, my son was busy composing a symphony. My daughter was busy building. They were doing their job, and doing it well. Just because it's play to me doesn't make it unimportant. 

Why don't we encourage children to "seize the day"? 

When do we stop taking play seriously? I watch my children in their play - whether they're singing, drawing, building, digging, swinging, jumping - and they are working hard at it. They take as much pride in learning how to swing independently as I do in a sink with nothing in it (this is in fact an urban legend; it's never happened for me). Why does that have to change? Is it just becoming an adult which makes us a slave to the "to-do"? For that matter, why does the "to-do" never contain things like "make sandcastles with son" or "blow bubbles with daughter"? Why does our Achieve-o-meter require tasks to be done, like "clean shower" or "scrub toilet". I'm not saying that those things aren't important, but I think my point is that I don't want them to be ALL-important. I want to more often seize the day - their day - by loosening my grip on my own. Life IS precious, and fleeting. Too much so to waste on a to-do list which, let's face it - will NEVER be over. I've got four children, and there will always be dishes to wash, laundry to do, weird smells to seek and eliminate. There will not ever again be another today. A day in which they learned how to make music on saucepans, a day in which they built this computer (twice). 

Here's to seizing the day, friends. Theirs too. 

xo, Sarah