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This post has been brewing in my mind over the last few days. You are probably going to shake your head and say, “well duh!” when you read it. It is typically not what I write, but I felt the need to say it, more to myself than anything.
I know that I share a lot of hands-on activity ideas, homeschool stuff, toddler and preschool activities as well as ideas for special needs. And it may seem like all we do all day are fun little activities and I am always brewing up something new to try out and blog about.
While I may have tons of ideas in my head (seriously, I do!), I can assure you, most of them have yet to hit the blog, let alone us actually do them. We really don't do all these hands-on activities all day long. We have many days where I am just praying we all make it to bed time, honestly. And today was the typical Monday craziness for us.
Perhaps you can relate… I had all the best intensions. We were going to do some of our letter of the week tot-school activities during Ben's morning nap. Then I was going to take Ellie outside during his afternoon nap after it warmed up a bit. Oh, and I was going to work on the computer during Ben's afternoon nap and while Ellie was in quiet time. I should know better than to plan ahead like this… you think I would have learned by now that with a 3 year old and a 4 month old… planning is a laughable thing really.
Of course my best laid plans and intentions went out the window. We did make it outside, but for much shorter than I anticipated because Ben woke up just after we got outside and he was super fussy so we didn't last long with him out there.
By supper time it was survival mode, so I got the iPad out for Ellie just so we could all make it through the evening without going crazy, in all honesty. And sometimes, we do a little more TV than I would like, especially last month when Ellie was sick for 3 weeks out of the month and I was sick for 2 of them. But sometimes, you just have to get through the day right?
I had plans for a really cute Thanksgiving sensory bin for Ellie this week too. I was going to make the colored scented rice last night and post a picture on Instagram of course. I went to get the food coloring… guest what?! We are out. HA, so much for best laid plans again.
And when we do get to an activity… we are lucky if it lasts 5-10 minutes. A very few things have gained her attention for longer, but usually by the time I take the picture, she is just about done with it. Five minutes later things are strung around the house and I am scrambling to get something else ready for her to do or get her to help me clean up.
The last 4 months have caused a lot guilt. I wasn't reading with the kids enough, I wasn't doing enough activities with Ellie, I wasn't able to spend the time with her that I wanted to because of nursing or taking care of Ben. Perhaps it's the lack of sleep from having a newborn or the yearning for the routine that I planned and of course blogged about.
The self doubt began to creep in. How could I blog about all these hands-on activities and being an intentional parent when I was barely doing it myself. I knew I was trying to do too much – trying to keep the house cleaned, meals made (and not just throw together last minute things of course, actual well-planned meals), activities set up for Ellie, play time for Ben, reading time for both, and of course blogging my way through it.
I was circling down hill fast and I may have had a few cry-out sessions in the bathroom… with chocolate.
I decided to buy a book and read while I was nursing Ben to sleep at nights. This quote I am about to share with you, completely changed my outlook and attitude (actually this entire chapter, so you just need to get the book and read it!)….
The only thing worse than this unattainable standard is the guilt that follows when perfection proves impossible….
Meanwhile, we have beautiful lives begging to be really lived, really enjoyed, really applauded – and it is simpler than we dare hope: we just gotta unload the beam” – Jen Hatmaker, For The Love
Oh the guilt… yes this was so me. Trying to do it all and then wondering why in the world I was exhausted, moody and to be perfectly honest with myself, downright depressed sometimes.
So I am here to say, I am not doing it all, I CAN'T do it all – and you shouldn't expect yourself to be able to do it all either.
We may not make to what I have planned for the day. We may be a month and a half behind on our letter of the week activities (truth!) and sometimes we may barely make it to bedtime. It may seem like I only share the best of it on social media. And honestly, sometimes I do that because I need to be able to look back and see that we were still having fun, we are still making memories (even if it all fell apart right after I took the picture, because it usually does!)
So please mama, be gentle on yourself. Give yourself some room to breathe. And go eat some chocolate!
There's always a new day to try again. And I'm talking to myself most of all.
Ironically as I was about to push publish on this post, Ben woke up after only being down for 45 minutes. It's like they know somehow….