I have a question: does anybody else ever struggle with ALL the roles that are upon you? A couple of days ago, the highlights of my day went like this (roles in italics):
Mom got up and after piddling around with personal business for a bit, made breakfast for the kids.
Housekeeper cleaned and completed a few necessary household errands.
Homeschool Parent reminded everyone that they still had math and an hour of reading to complete–youngest two are on the computer.
After a little check-in time with Facebook, e-mails, etc., Writer sat down to work on a number of deadlines that are quickly approaching. In the meantime, there are various distractions: Homeschool Mom is feeling under-planned and overwhelmed, and Mom is being asked to stop and get various tasks accomplished, or just to “come and watch ________.”
Writer continues to work, but is growing frustrated that kids have not moved from the computers. Also, Healthy, Whole, and Beautiful knows that she needs to get up and do something besides sit on the computer (and then wonder why her kids don’t move). So, Healthy, Whole, and Beautiful decides to take an evening walk to get some exercise. But, Mom also knows that she needs to get the kids moving, so she offers the youngest an opportunity to ride her bike while she (HW&B) walks.
The youngest and HW&B walk, but the youngest needs to stop about every 2 minutes for water, directions, the occasional running over of HW&B’s foot, or just to talk. HW&B’s plan for a cardio-enhancing pace is blown. Mom is trying to comfort HW&B with the thought that she’s spending healthy, quality time with her children, but HW&B is not buying it. She’s frustrated and Mom’s feeling guilty for giving in to HW&B’s lamenting.
Mom comes to a happy compromise: she abbreviates the walk with the youngest, sends her home for the oldest to help with a bath, and then HW&B can continue her walk.
Once home, we all skip dinner and have what we’ve been waiting for all day–smores. HW&B knows better, but forget her. The rest of us want satisfaction. We get showered, and once Housekeeper completes a few more tasks, we all head to bed.
Our associate pastor was speaking along these same lines in a mid-week service. He talked about the Lord doing a work in him over the years. He shared how, when his kids were younger, he always had on the back of his brain what he had to do for himself as he was spending time with them. Now, he plays with his granddaughter for 6 hours and doesn’t think twice about it. His answer to the question of balance was to allow in our lives a release of the Holy Spirit. I get that, but I also thought, “Yeah, but you’re a grandfather with fully grown kids.” It’s a very different season of life than where I now reside. I needed a more practical, relevant example.
I see women like me all the time. Given multiple roles, many make choices that seemingly benefit themselves over their children. One even scolded me about not following the advice of the flight attendant–take care of self first before you try to take care of anyone else. My mind can see the logic, but my heart is vision-impaired; who I am will simply not allow me to do that. Also, at the risk of sounding mean, I see the fruit of that mentality, and it’s not what I want to blossom here.
I also see the other side of this dilemma–moms who are always stressed and tired any time you meet them. They run around with their kids, they work for long hours, and they always look wind-blown and exhausted. No thank you to that fruit as well.
I like to think I’m somewhere in the middle…on a good day. But then again…
The third version I see is the “God first, family second, no matter what.” I shared this wisdom for a long time, but I’ve come to a revelation over the years: God is always first, but if family (especially kids) are always second, between the “Can you’s…,” the “Will you’s…,” and “Can I’s…,” nothing else gets done! At least that’s the way it happens in our home. And to be sure, there is work to do. The Proverbs 31 woman wasn’t solely a keeper of the home; she worked, she researched, she delegated, she invested. For the work that the Lord has put to my hands, and for what “helpmeet” looks like in this home, I have to pray about daily priorities.
What do You want me to do today, Lord?
A few days later, I’m in a better place. HW&B sacrificed her time so that Writer could meet a few deadlines, and she’s okay with that. After all, she even slowed down long enough to paint her toenails this morning (lol).
Housekeeper has a clean kitchen (for now) and all the laundry folded. (Now to those stacks of papers all over the bedroom). Homeschool Mom, after a small scuffle with Amazon, should get her planners today, so she’s believing that school has some hope of beginning according to schedule with some sense of order. Mom has watched the youngest’s dance routine and helped the oldest sew sleeves on her latest creation. Instructor will ask hubby to grocery shop so that she can attend a faculty meeting tonight. For our home, all is normal.
As I was wrapping up this post and thinking more about the balancing act and how to effectively “be all I can be,” the beautiful Daniele shared an article she wrote for The Better Mom blog. I don’t consider myself burned out, but if I’m not careful, I could see that place from here. Each day, give me strength, grace, and wisdom to do what You want me to do.
How about you? How do you balance all the roles that stand before you?