Making it to Monday: Finding Space to Live Amidst the Chaos of Motherhood
It’s been a long time coming. A few days ago Autumn crept stealthy into our lives. The Kansas winds began to gust, the temperatures inched lower, and even the trees seemed to take a deep breath. The insanity of the beginning of school has begun to fall into routine, a chaotic routine, if that’s possible, but a routine. Without the constant treading water, the constant catch up of the late summer, I too had time to breath. What most often occurs, at least for me, is that with that first long deep breath after a season of exceptional stress, struggle or exhaustion the exhale is unbearable. The weight of the season was so heavy on my soul that when it was finally let go, when it finally found it’s exit, I could no longer exist without it. I had carried it too long. It was part of me now.
Divorcing myself from the pattern of ragged exhausted so deep that the absence of it - is the absence of identity, has been the most difficult journey I’ve ever endured. For far too long I have defined myself on what I was capable of. I found strength in being all things to all people, in saying yes instead of no, in nice over loving. I have cared with faux indifference about what others think of me and my family. I have held unspoken expectations of those I love and cherish to such a degree that I consistently set them up to disappoint me. I have hidden myself in tasks so that I could lazily hide from my truest joys. I have littered the kitchen table with to do lists so that I could hide away from my truest desires. I have been so tired. It’s quite exhausting to hide from yourself.
My mother in law spoke great wisdom a few weeks ago. She said “I spent my whole parenting life with or about my child. When he left it was as if I had lost myself.” It spoke into my soul in a way I can’t put to words. It was everything I was terrified of. I want to be whole for my children now, so they have a positive role model of mental health. I want to be whole for my husband now, so when our children are launched into this world we have things we enjoy together. Mostly though, I want to be whole for myself. I want to live this life now so that the patterns of incapacitating exhaustion can be put to rest.
As I begin to give myself space to Live amidst the chaos of this life I began here.
The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. – Lysa Terkeurst She hypothesizes that every decision may have multiple great outcomes, great reasons and can be fruitful in many different ways. The truest test of the decision is whether it’s the "best yes." Putting my commitments through this quick test of “yes?” has opened up time that I didn’t know was possible. I can be committed to the programs and activities and ideas that most serve me and my family. I can leave those that don’t for others.
The Second Principle and one I am still working very hard to master is all about boundaries. I have always been a pleaser. I have seen it as the greatest of my character assets. I am undeniably kind and compassionate. I give people their time even when it takes away from mine. It turns out this greatest gift of mine was actually creating a 5 alarm fire. I caught a video a few months ago of writer Brene Brown speaking on boundaries. She talked about being a kind and compassionate and having boundaries. She says that having boundaries is more loving and kind to others! It was as if I had found my home. This people pleaser can serve others better by establishing boundaries! It was the freedom I so desperately desired. “I am far less sweet than I used to be, and far more loving” – Brene Brown
The beauty of growing up and watching my little people grow up is knowing what I want for them. I want for them to not feel less valuable or useful when they are tired. I want for them to find their strength in their character and not in their to do list. So this Monday I will rest, I will put my feet up and read a book, I will enjoy the beautiful fall weather, and have wine with lunch because I have given myself space.