I’m sitting on my new living room couch on a lazy, Sunday afternoon that is – surprise, surprise – raining. (I heard on the weather channel that we’ve had something like 19 days of rain and 4 of sunshine). It does feel as though we’ve missed half our summer thanks to the weather; but I do have to say that I’m kind of embracing the overcast skies and cool, air temps today. I have a fall candle lit, a mug of coffee beside me, and I’m actually enjoying my furniture for the first time.
It feels good to just sit.
I can’t remember the last time I did this. I tend to feel guilty when I’m not “doing” or running around like a chicken without a head. I think a part of me refuses to rest when I know there are needs that I can meet.
Needs of my family… but also needs of anyone in my little world.
Sooooo, you want to know a little secret?
Sometimes I feel like I need to meet the needs of others, even if it’s at the sacrifice of my own family’s needs. It’s never my intent. To be honest, for a long time, I didn’t realize it was happening. But it’s been a strangely easy pit for me to fall into.
I quit my full-time job, because I was compelled to stay home with my kiddos while they were little. But did you know that you can be a stay-at-home mom and still not choose your family first? Yeah, it’s possible. Trust me, I know.
I have a heart for others, and it’s important to me that my children grow up in a home that gives… even sacrifically. It’s important to me that when there’s a struggling, sick, or hurting family around us, they see me and Nate pray… but ALSO take action. And for me, taking action – and showing love – oftentimes centers around the kitchen.
I love cooking for people. If there’s a sick family, I cook. If there’s a hurting family, I cook. If there’s a death, or a birth, a celebration, or a loss. I cook, I deliver, and I pray. For me, a delicious homecooked meal left on someone’s porch (or delivered to their kitchen if they’re up for a quick hug) is how I show love.
That’s how I’ve done it for years.
But I’ve been conflicted over the past year or so, especially now that I run an outreach of my own. The meal trains sometimes get hectic. Finding time to prepare a delicious meal with two littles in the house has been adding to my mommy guilt as I tell my children, “Sorry, Mommy is busy right now cooking for so- and so…” The cooking, the running errands, the delivery, the volunteering for events… It adds up. And each time I choose something that takes up so much of my time, I’m choosing to not have that time to spend with my kiddos.
Just this past week, I had three meals to cook for three seperate families. Three.
I don’t say that to pat myself on the back!! I say that to admit that – while my heart was in the right place – I made choices that left my kids feeling a little neglected. My actions came from a place of love, but seeing the hurt on my children’s faces when I couldn’t spend quality time with them on the one sunny day of the week? It truly cut my heart and made me realize that as in most things in life, there has to be balance.
And I had lost the balance.
Once upon a time, this kind of routine was doable for me. It was a lot, but it was rewarding. And I thrived on it. But remember how I wrote about now being in a phase of life during which I need to choose the simple – but precious – jar of fireflies in my hand? That has to spill over into the ways I fill up my time. I need to choose my husband and children first right now, and I need to find other ways to show my heart and love for others.
I don’t want to stop helping. It just has to look a little different for the time being.
But like not dramatically different… because I’m bubbly, bouncy, and coffee-lovin’ forever. 🙂
And it’s okay. It’s okay if some areas in my life are changing along with the different phases of life I’m in. Change can be exciting and good. To be honest, it’s freeing. It’s freeing to realize that what once worked – but is now causing stress – can be released and replaced with something that is meant for now.
I might not be able to deliver the four course meal with homemade bread, salad, a casserole, and a from-scratch pie. BUT I love sending letters or cards, and that’s something I haven’t utilized in a very long time. (Let me tell you what, when I get an encouraging note in the mail or a message online from a friend, it makes my day!!). I can pick up a quick coffee for a tired mama or order a family pizza.
Even if I don’t have the free time I once did to commit to taking action, I can still take whatever action I can… in a healthy, balanced way.
Right now, I need to make sure I have time free for my own children. If I’m feeling stressed because I need to somehow entertain them while I cook or if I’m impatient with them because we need to run out the door to deliver a meal… that’s not okay.
Just the other day, I baked a homemade blueberry pie; and Brady eyed it with wide eyes and said, “Who gets to eat that pie?” And I realized that a lot of my baking does tend to get delivered to someone else’s family. It broke my heart, and I proceeded to serve him the world’s biggest slice topped with a scoop of vanilla icecream.
I want to find joy in mom life and being pulled in too many directions outside of my home has tried to steal that, even if my heart was in the right place. I can’t juggle it all. And I refuse to drop the ball anymore when it comes to my family.
I want to wake up some mornings and have absolutely nothing planned for our day, so that we can make homemade pancakes on a whim before washing away all the sticky syrup and deciding on a spontaneous adventure. And if the adventure is to stay home and to pull off all the sheets and blankets from our beds so that we can turn them into cozy forts perfect for flashlights and puzzles? I want to be able to do that!
I want these days to be treasured and valued. I want my kids to know that while I have a heart to serve others, they will always come first in my life. And I want my kids to know that it’s not selfish to make sure you yourself are healthy and taken care of too.
I’m a work in progress. So I’m sitting on my couch… sipping on coffee… and feeling content to – for the first time in a long time – just be. And I’m kind of excited to see how everything will fall into place this year now that I’m choosing to accept healthy change in my life once again.