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.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Surrendered Life

My husband said last night he was concerned that I don't have interests of my own. Presumably, he meant ones which don't relate to housecleaning, childrearing, or to my status as a homemaker. At first I was, shall we say, indignant? The more I think about it though, I think he may be on to something. I do in point of fact have interests. I enjoy reading, writing, listening to music. I really enjoy creating things, or solving problems. I enjoy cooking, because it incorporates several of those things all at once. I think what is apparent to me, and not to him, is that every one of those interests has had to adapt because of my role as a wife and mother. I sort of wrote about this a few years ago, in this post. But with two more children, life has become more intense. 

The truth is, I don't dwell on having no real life of my own because I do miss the ease of operating without little people in tow. I miss being able to say "I'll do this now", and *gasp* then DOING IT. I miss being able to linger over an iced chai, while reading a book with no cranial merit whatsoever. I miss sleeping without smelling wet nappies, and errant limbs draped over me. I miss sleep, full stop. I choose to not dwell on it, because that way lies resentment and bitterness. I do not wish to burden my heart or my loved ones with such a heavy load; I choose instead to acknowledge the temporary loss of those things I miss most, and simply move on. 

I am so aware of the passage of time these days - 40th birthday, 10th wedding anniversary, children growing up, milestones reached and conquered. With that awareness comes a desire to slow down, to live intentionally, and to not dwell on what has been, but rather to learn from it, and apply it to what lies before. 

Someday, I'll be sipping iced chai and reading a novel, or even writing one. But today, I choose to read parenting books, cook meals which are less likely to be rejected outright, and write Facebook status updates and the occasional blog post. I choose those things, and choose to be content. Because my contentment (and thank you to the dear friend who reminded me of this today!) does not come from the presence or absence of solitude. It is there in all circumstances. I surrender the "me" so that I can embrace this life, this family. 

And this surrendered life? It is beautiful, and so worth every moment of surrender, no matter how hard. 

Like now, when a child just whacked me IN THE FACE with underpants after going to the toilet. I really wish I had made that last sentence up. See? Surrender. Choosing to be content with writing while being pelted with underpants. 

I need to go scrub my face now. :)

XO, Sarah

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