This weekend, the power went out. It was a scheduled power outage and I had completely forgotten about it. I’d just finished making coffee when it happened, so I considered myself lucky that I made the cut on my daily must have ritual. “Yay! That means we don’t have to take baths!” Aiden exclaimed.
Questionable personal hygiene aside, the power was off and we had things to do. I realized I was momentarily flustered at yet another day of anti productivity. But as I already mentioned last week, a mammoth cold had taken over all of us and if I was honest, I was too exhausted to do anything, anyway.
The power outage lasted for about thirty whopping minutes, and when it came back on I realized how bummed out I was. So we pretended it was still off. I considered it a sign from the juju gods of all things general overachievement that maybe we should rest.
So this weekend, we didn’t create a new project. We didn’t build something gigantic for the back yard. We didn’t even purge or do the laundry. We have no newfangled thing to show anyone.
We did absolutely nothing.
Sometimes, getting sick is our body’s way of telling us we’re doing too much. I’m just wondering why it’s so hard for me to unplug and rest when that happens.
Building legos, pillow forts, and letting the dishes pile up… Why is taking a break such a bad thing?
I think that if we’re yearning for a life of simplicity, it has to have less of the ‘fillers’ in it.
In the past few months, I’ve honestly been searching for answers out of exhaustion and over extension. I’ve asked some of my friends who are in the same stage of life and feel the same way. This challenge is different for everyone.
I look around at the culture we’re immersed in, and I see an excess of involvement and activities. There’s games to attend, parties to take part in, volunteering to cover, jobs to finish, meals to cook… ministries to fill and things to do. Opportunities to jump on. And when, may I ask, did parenting get so hard? I’ve been told that as your children grow, you trade the sleepless nights you endure at the beginning, for other stuff.
A few of my friends and I have decided those people were being nice and lying to us. It gets harder.
With a 3 year old, 5 year old, and 7 year old, we’re in between and at the beginning of it all. I see where it’s headed. I’ve been told by the older crowd, “Just you wait! Just you wait until you’re at the ballpark for five days straight alternating between three playoffs after you’ve hosted a Boston Butt fundraiser for 46 hours and a Girl Scouts stand in at the fur factory! Finished off with a camp-a-thon all night lock in at the church!”
All in the name of our children?
There’s things to be done. Things to help with. But in that lies the key word : they’re just things.
Supporting my children and nurturing them as they grow are my top priority. They certainly come first. But isn’t that what’s so distressing? Isn’t that why it’s so hard to draw boundaries and establish a moderate balance? I find myself frazzled, wondering if I don’t do these things, then who will? Practically panicking at the prospect. Wanting the best for them and making it happen without feeling spread so thin… is it possible?
Is spreading ourselves thin, really what’s best for them?
Maybe what I want for our children and our family isn’t ‘the norm’ and our society’s perception of it. Maybe I don’t want to be seen as ‘the bad mom’ because I view things a little differently. Maybe I no longer care if I am.
Have you guys noticed the swinging of the pendulum?
We’re from a generation of go go go…do do do. We were taught to accomplish and succeed and chase and tackle and make it happen. We are the children of the Joneses.
It was all from good intentions.
But we’re also from a generation of over involvement, overcommitment, and downright exhaustion. I’ve seen the symptoms. I’ve seen the product. And I wonder what if we scaled back a little? If we focused more on simple things? If we obsessed a little less over the unimportant and focused on our actual family a little more? Why is this a bad thing if we aren’t involved in fifty activities during the week and twelve more on the weekends?
Sometimes we need more than good intentions.
I’m two crying sessions away from selling all of our belongings and moving our family to Tahiti.
I kid. Not really. Maybe. We all know the answer isn’t moving. (But oh so tempting!)
Like everything else we’ve included in this series, the things in themselves are not bad, but I believe that an excess of them, is. We’re called to be stewards and helpers and servants. But we’re not called to be frazzled and over involved and exhausted. I’ve been toeing the line. It can also be scaled back all the way, to selfishness. There’s a balance.
I don’t want to miss my children growing up, by being overly obsessed with all the things that come with them growing up, or work stuff, or …. insert boundary struggle here. Forrest for the trees.
I catch myself waiting for it to slow down. But it won’t. Not if I don’t proactively seek the slower side. Not if I don’t pursue balance. And maybe beyond that… the simple. It’s easy to live our lives feeling dominated by guilt and driven by the wrong reasons. We’re told by everyone around us that we’re missing out on something if we don’t ‘do it all’.
In that, are we missing the mark?
It’s certainly not a popular question.
We find ourselves wondering… Is simplicity a virtue to be dreamt of? Or is it truly an attainable way of life?