My child is the greatest gift I have ever received. I am thankful for each moment I am able to spend with her. But every parent of young children can relate . . . sometimes it feels like I can’t get anything done.
My friend said it well: “I can either be a maid or a mom. I can’t be both in one day.”
Chasing a toddler around, keeping them occupied, fed, clothed, re-clothed, etc.. is very time consuming. Everything else that needs to be done (or that I want to get done) quickly piles up. The words, “overwhelmed” and “exhausted” don’t even touch how I feel sometimes.
For a while my “to do” lists weighed heavily on my mind: the household chores, errands, the books I wanted to read, the time I wanted to spend writing and songwriting, the rehearsing (all things that I must do in order for my soul to flourish), and my Bible (yes, that book that used to be read constantly) remained closed day after day. Everything I did or didn’t do made me feel like I was failing. If I was doing laundry, I felt guilty that I wasn’t playing with Scotlyn. If I was blogging, I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing household chores or playing with Scotlyn. If I was playing with Scotlyn, my mind was full of all of the things I needed to do later. I was never fully present and was always feeling guilt. Every night I went to bed wondering when I would have time to do what I knew my soul needed: time with the Creator and time to create. I guess I thought I had to figure out a way to do it all at one time. I wasn’t accomplishing it all so I felt like I was accomplishing nothing.
I’m not one for New Years Resolutions but this year I made one: to take some pressure off of myself.
I’m learning the art of doing a little at a time and accepting that little as accomplishment instead of failure. I’m learning that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
-If I don’t have time to play the piano for an hour, I can play for 5 minutes (or until Scotlyn demands to play it, too . . . and tells me I’m “all done” which she likes to do almost immediately these days). And that’s OK! I accomplished something.
-If I don’t have time to put away everyone’s laundry, I can put away some of it. And that’s OK! I accomplished something.
-If I can’t finish the dishes, I can start them. And that’s OK! I accomplished something.
-If I don’t have the time or energy to work out for an hour, I can work out for 10 minutes or take a quick walk. And that’s OK! I accomplished something.
-If Scotlyn can’t stand being in the stroller for an hour, I can take her for a 15 minute stroll. And that’s OK! We did something.
-If we only have time for a 30 minute playground stop, we can play for 30 minutes and enjoy ourselves. And that’s OK! We did something.
-If I don’t have time to read more than a chapter or two in my Bible, I can read what I can. (Reading something is better than nothing. For a while I was reading The Book of Common Prayer daily lectionary scripture readings—on my iPhone—something I never thought I would do, but I was reading SOMETHING instead of nothing, and that’s what matters. And that’s OK!
I’m a lot more content and at peace now, not because I suddenly have more time or have learned to balance it all, but because I’m doing my best to embrace the “little bit at a time” approach and consider those “little bits” big accomplishments. I’m doing my best to believe my husband when he says he really doesn’t care if the house is a little messy as long as Scotlyn and I had fun that day. I’m learning to prioritize, to put what’s most important ahead of the trivial. I’m learning to let things go.
I haven’t perfected this mentality but I am working on it. Like I said, I’m learning. I hope this encourages some of you out there!
(What’s funny is that when I look back on all I have done and what my little family has done together over the past 19 months . . . it’s been a LOT! We’ve moved, we’ve taken two international trips, many domestic trips, I’ve released an album, etc.. But let me tell you, those big things can easily be forgotten when we lose focus. Like the saying goes, it’s hard to see “the forest through the trees.”)