I was asked what I learned in November.
I learned that saying yes to all the things makes for a tired, crabby, stretched too thin Mama.
In October I was asked to help with a women’s event at our church that would be held in November. To coordinate and decorate a dessert table, and put together a hot chocolate bar. I like food and I like drinks. Sure! Sign me up!
About three weeks after that I was asked if I’d like to take on a temporary near full time job. With the hours of 3 AM-1PM. This meant getting up at 1:45. In the AM. Did you even know there’s a 1:45 AM?
There shouldn’t be. It should be an illegal time.
But whatever. Sure. Sign me up for that too. I love torturing myself.
(I just wanna say real quick, I loved being asked to do those things. My friends believed I was capable to take on these tasks. A few years ago, I would never have been asked.)
So I worked this job, and I did a really good job. But only while I was there. Once I got home I did a terrible job. I did my home-work poorly. I did my mom and wife-work poorly.
And then it was time to get dessert and hot chocolate bar planned. On zero sleep and lots of cranky.
I loved putting this together. I just wish I had taken better care of my responsibility. I wish I had not stretched myself so thin that I couldn’t give this one thing more of my heart and attention.
This sentiment extends to another area of my life.
And for me, my homemaking encompasses a few things. The mothering. The wife-ing. The homeschooling. And the actual making and running of my home.
I have spread myself thin in too many areas, and have not taken better care of my responsibilities at home. I have not given my people, my home, my mini-farm the heart and attention they deserve.
Why did I do this?
For some reason it is in me to make all the people happy. I like to be a helper. I like to accomplish a task. I like to do something with my brain other than fold laundry, or tell a small person for the 37th time to pick up her shoes and put them away.
I’ve found (finally) that I am good at things. But sadly, these things are not homemakery things. I’m not great at teaching my kids, or keeping up with laundry or dishes. But give me a project and dang it, I will get that thing done and I will get that thing done well.
It is hard for me to feel useful inside the walls of my own home when I am not good at the things in here. I’m not great at schooling my kids. I’m not the natural born teacher that some are. I am not patient with my girls when they ask the same question over and over and over. I’m not good at the homemaking. The laundry. My nemesis. We have in our home what my husband lovingly refers to as The Laundry Pile Chair.
He used this term about two months ago and I nearly died from laughter. Sarah from 15 years ago would have cried at his comment, but I now see that he can say these things with love behind them, and I don’t need to take offense.
Anyway, The Laundry Pile Chair (to further be called the LPC) is never without laundry. It is always clean laundry, and often times it is even folded laundry. However, it is never put away laundry. Years ago the acronym FAPA was founded with my friend Amber.
Fold and Put Away.
I’m a fantastic folder. This is why sometimes LPC has folded laundry stacked on ‘er.
I’m a terrible put awayer. This is why always LPC has laundry stacked on ‘er.
And then there’s the dishes part of homemaking. Dear Lord, the dishes. I clearly remember when my deep loathing of doing dishes began.
It was when I was nine and we had Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house. She made a nice meal for the lot of us, and then it was time for dishes to be done.
By my 12 year old cousin and myself. By hand.
Now, this may not seem a big deal, but when you’re a little kid and there is a Thanksgiving meal that has been prepped and now eaten and you’re doing dishes for say 15, it’s quite daunting.
From that holiday forward I have hated dishes.
I’m not good at the homemaking.
What makes me the most sad about the above statement – homemaking is the thing I’ve always wanted to do. When asked what I wish I had done with my life, I say, “I am doing what I wish I had done with my life. This is what I want to do.”
I just wish I were doing it well.
While I was working my temp job in October and November, I had a lot of time to myself to think about how I was doing that job well, but not this job. The homemaking one.
I put forth a lot of time and energy into doing things well for others. Because doing so usually results in a thank you. Doing so gets me noticed.
Ugh, I cannot believe I just said that out loud. But that’s the truth of it.
The things I do inside these four walls of my home go mostly unnoticed and that’s hard. There aren’t many paychecks for cleaning out the fridge, or helping a child spell a word, or cleaning up Ramona’s pee. My husband is great at noticing he has clean, folded, AND put away socks.
But for some reason I cannot think this homemaking is enough. That the good I actually do get done here, is enough.
So, back to what I learned in November. Quite possibly the last days of November. I need to believe what I’m doing here is enough. I need to start saying no to events and activities for awhile so I can devote more of my heart and attention to doing well the things inside my home. The homemaking. Mothering. Wife-ing. FAPA’ing.
It’s time to be intentional with my time here. With my people here. I need to put effort into learning how to do these things well. I don’t think we’re all born with the natural tendency to teach, mother, wife, or laundry well. I think that even though I was born a woman, I have to learn how to do these things well. And sometimes to learn something well, you have to screw it up for awhile.
Then try again and get a little better that next time.