I woke up this morning in a funk. I was disappointed about the results of last night’s presidential election. I really wanted Mitt Romney to win and when he didn’t, I got in a mood. You don’t want to mess with me when I get in a mood!
As I woke up this morning and knelt down to say my morning prayers, I had a sense of peace wash over me. I realized that I was getting angry about something I had absolutely no control over. There was no way I could change the election results. I can’t change our country. I can’t make people get jobs. The only thing I can change is me. When I let my thoughts wander about what things I would like to change about myself, I immediately felt a sense of deep understanding that who I am is ok with God and he’s pretty darn happy that I’m trying to be better. This means a lot to me and I will tell you why.
When I was a young woman, I daydreamed about what kind of Mom I would be someday. I didn’t grow up in a traditional home, so I just kind of made up in my mind the kind of life I believed I would have somewhere out there in the future. It would start off with a marriage to a man who shared equally in all responsibilities around the house including cooking, cleaning, finances, and child-rearing. We would have a perfect and happy marriage with stellar communication. Next would come the kids, lots of kids. I was an only child and always wanted brothers and sisters. When the kids came, I would quit my job and be a stay at home Mom, and I would enjoy every minute. Being a stay at home Mom would insure that my house would be clean, my meals would be healthy, and my kids would have perfect hair and clothes. In my daydream of my future life, my kids would get along smashingly, my husband would appreciate all of my stellar efforts, and everyone would be one big happy family.
Well, fast forward to reality. Here I am frazzled, juggling work that’s not really working, keeping the children alive, stacking up dishes in the sink so they don’t explode, cooking something remotely edible, volunteering in my not so spare time, church service, yard work, home work, budgeting, couponing, exercising, sewing, breaking up arguments between feuding children, errands, sports and music practice, and driving…. lots and lots of driving. What happened to my little girl dreams of the perfect life? And why am I still judging myself on those same impossible standards?
My life is never going to be perfect. That’s a fact. Concrete. It will not change. While I face many challenges and I’m literally frazzled and on edge 90% of the time (the other 10% I’m sleeping), I can improve, but I need to give myself credit for trying, even when I fail. I have learned the most from the times I have failed big time in my life. While my life isn’t perfect, it’s pretty darn great and I really need to focus on the good things more than the bad. I have been happily married for 13 years, which is longer than I’ve ever done anything before. I have 3 wonderful kids that won’t die if they eat chili from a can and haven’t brushed their hair in 2 days. I have great friends and family, a great house, transportation, and lots of opportunities ahead of me. I want to be confident in my blessings instead of having an inferiority complex hangover.
I’ve done this parenting plan thing for 3 months now and I’ve seen huge changes in myself as a mother and huge changes in my kids. I haven’t been perfect at it. I am trying though. I am thinking that this month I will work on really listening to my kids. Do you know what I mean? Here’s me: “uh huh,” “yeah,”, “I don’t know”. I have no clue what my kid just said because I totally tuned them out, but I agreed with it…. I don’t like doing this and I want to be better. I want to have conversations with my kids without worrying about the 10 loads of laundry blocking the entrance to my bedroom, or the millions of things that should probably get done in the next 5 minutes. What’s more important, that stuff, or the kids? I want to be able to tune out that noise in my head that blares about the chores and tasks I should be doing, when my heart tells me I should be engaging with my kids more.
I will post about my experiences this month. I’d also love to hear from you. What things are you trying to change and improve at?