My days are spent at home with two babies. I have two daughters, a 2 year old and a 3 month old and trying to juggle two different nap and feeding schedules, along with housework, time with the Lord, trying to make some money from home, & perhaps miraculously bathing and caring for myself, is a lot to handle. A friend recently explained it so well; she said it was like living a giant game of Tetris.
I am in the season of Tetris, trying to fit weirdly shaped pieces together as they are coming down at me at an uncomfortable speed and am trying to avoid letting them pile up. While I very much enjoy the game, and know I am collecting life long memories, sometimes I wish I could just press pause.
I know I am not alone in this, and It’s not just for stay at home moms either. Giving your physical & mental energy all day everyday while also being keenly aware that the things you say and the way you say them will have a lasting impact on the little hearts you’ve been entrusted with is a heavy burden!
I find I am able to get more done when I have a schedule in place but I also tend to be more anxious with one because the perfectionist in me wants to complete every item I’ve written down in order and well & I’m not yet good at giving myself a break when issues like teething and growth spurts interfere. It’s not the parenting responsibilities that throw me as much as it is the flexibility my little people require of me. You’d think it would be a given that in the midst of momming you wouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the babies don’t know how to read your schedule and therefore aren’t always so good at following it. I am still growing in that.
Today’s was a whirlwind of a morning spent baking egg muffins for the week (in hopes of giving my hub a healthy option for those scary early mornings), setting a slow cooker for dinner (because during the cooking hour I’ll be doing something crazy and trying to tutor while the girls dare I admit watch tv for an hour), plus packing lunch for the picnic I promised the girls and myself because taking care of the household brings it’s own flavor of mom guilt and I need to make sure I get quality time and sunshine squeezed in before nap at noon. I share this not to boast (I don’t know that I’ll ever make those time sucking muffins again), or to get sympathy (because when I’m not anxious I really enjoy all of these things) but to give a little light to the mindset I was in when the Lord gave me a much needed gift.
After wiping a nose and a bottom, grabbing a sippy and a tiny pair of polka dot sunglasses, my girls and I made the trip down the stairs to the van and buckled in for the park. As I was pulling out of the court I saw the time, 11:08. I had 52 minutes to get the girls to and from the park if I was going to be able to time their naps together and get a window for a much needed nap of my own. It’s in moments like these where I usually huff and puff and wonder why I’d made the effort for such a short “adventure”, and question whether or not I should have opted to skip the park and stay inside again.
Thankfully as I drove down the road this time I felt the Lord leading me to simply set an alarm for when we’d need to leave and then choose not to look at my phone again until the alarm went off. Because I don’t know about you, but when I’m operating on a tight schedule, I usually spend most of my mental space assessing if I’m still ON schedule and enjoying little to none of what I had scheduled. So I did it. I set the alarm and decided to forget the time restraints.
We are blessed to have an absolutely beautiful park right down the road from our home that includes a pond with a dock, a sensory garden, two playgrounds, baseball fields, and a dog park. With so much to see I am often spending our short visits there trying to squeeze it all in. We do a few minutes in the garden, a few on the dock, we hurry to the playground where I try to expedite my daughters climb up the jungle gym so she has time for more than one ride down the slide, and it then it’s time for the quickest picnic you’ve ever see where I’m bribing my daughter to eat another bite of PB&J and don’t even have time to take out the Goldfish because it’s time to start the carseat process. No wonder I avoid the trips.
But again, today I felt the nudge to pick a spot and enjoy it. No rushing, no guilt, no frustration over the short amount of time we have, just resting. I chose the garden and decided to stay for the entire visit, forsaking all the other “funness” in hopes to follow the Lord’s leading. What happened in the next unknown amount of minutes (because I wasn’t looking at the time) was beautiful.
I sat with my baby on my lap because she didn’t need to be in the stroller and ready to go.
I enjoyed her little rolls in my arms.
My toddler drew with some chalk.
She watched a man playing basketball. “Try again” she’d whisper.
She followed a butterfly.
We closed our eyes and enjoyed the breeze.
We pretended to be the wind and blew on leaves in our hands.
We looked around.
We literally smelt the flowers.
I genuinely relaxed.
I genuinely enjoyed.
& When the alarm went off and I said it was time to clean up, my daughter said “home?” and I said yes and that was it. The tears over not going to the playground didn’t happen as I feared (though I’d be romanticizing if I said she didn’t see it and emphatically ask for it during our time there). She didn’t complain that our time was too short and neither did I. We packed the Ziploc bags in the unicorn lunch box, strapped in to the car and went home.
Would I have preferred more time in the park? Of course. It’s beautiful there and we love it. But will I look back on this day and be disappointed for the short visit? No. I’ll be thankful I went at all.
With God’s help I can accept that this is the season I am in, this is the season I am blessed to be in. I live in a world where naps need to be had and toys need to be put away and small chunks of peaches need to be picked up from under the high chair. There are many demands on my mind and time and there’s no way to avoid that. But instead of frantically turning my head to see all I have to do and all I want to do, I will do my best to embrace the moment I am and squeeze it for all it’s worth. In regards to our short trips to the park, or their cousins house, or the store, I will choose to look back and be grateful for the short visit and ignore the fact that I’d have preferred more time. While I’m in the garden I will enjoy the garden and when it’s time to go I will leave without regret. As the Tetris pieces keep falling I’ll give all I have to make it to the next level and try to keep in mind that in a few years I’ll have forgotten the stress and will be so thankful that I got to play the game.
“So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?”