I need a reboot. I am tired. I am run-down. I am overworked and underpaid. (That last line I added for dramatic flair.) (But some days it feels true.)
I knew going into this summer that things would be hard. I had a newborn baby, and a toddler, and four big boys who would be home with me for the summer. So in addition to all this, I decided to have zero expectations. Aim low and you won’t be disappointed.
I realized, I had accepted and made peace with the fact that the television might play more than I like, that we might rely on more electronics than I’d ordinarily choose. I told myself, many times over, that this would not be a summer for setting records with revamped chore lists and The Best Behavior Ever. Maybe not even setting personal bests with hours spent reading or lots of time playing games. I decided that the path of least resistance would be the best way to get through.
This, my dear reader, is no way to live.
I don’t like this hand-to-mouth existence, the feeling of shooting from the hip to such an extent. There is a part of this approach that is necessary for this season. It’s not that I have no plan at all, it’s just that the plan must have very few bullet items within.
But I’m not at peace living this way. I’m tired of it. In the midst of trying to pace myself, I’m afraid I’ve taken a dangerously chilled-out approach that is serving no one, especially not me.
Now let me back up by saying a large part of this approach is for my own good. A few weeks ago, at the beginning of the summer, I went to the boys first swim meet. It was great — hot, but not unbearably so. My sister (I would not be surviving this summer without her) was watching the two little ones, so I was free to do what I needed to do at the meet. And everything went great.
Except, about a day later, I was tired. I was what Paul and I like to call over-tired. To the point that later that afternoon, the thought of rounding up my crew and getting us all out the door, well it just brought tears (lots and lots of them) to my tired eyes. Loading up everyone in the car seemed an insurmountable task, never mind that I had plans to actually bring everyone somewhere after that.
I realized, in that very dark hour, that I needed help. Getting help was not a sign of weakness; it was a sign of using the brain God gave me.
So I have been much aided by my sister this summer, and it has been wonderful. I’m able to take the boys places, specifically the pool, without worrying about the baby getting too hot. I’m able to focus on keeping Henry safe and occupied without worrying about feeding Isabel in the midst of that.
I also made some other decisions that involved limiting my outings, especially uber-tiring events like swim meets. I have been sad to miss the other meets, but realized, after that first meltdown, that it would be better for everyone in the long-run if Mommy paced herself and let Daddy go with the swimmers.
But along the way, something has happened. I have shifted to an auto-pilot that isn’t positive. It’s time for me to start being proactive again, to have a deliberate nature to our home life, to stop going from Morning Block of Time to Lunch to Afternoon Block (with each block having no real goal other than to make it to the next one). I need to pray more. To focus more. To have a plan for what I want to accomplish and (even more importantly) what I want the boys to get done as well.
Boys don’t thrive in a plan-free environment. I don’t either.
How wonderful (God is so good) to come across a few fellow Internet friends of the Heart talking about these same things. Paul and I got home from a much needed reboot date tonight, the kind where after dinner I said “Can we drive around and talk some more? I’m not ready to go home yet.” And we drove and talked, talked about the need for a plan and focus and also a reminder of how well things are going (so I don’t get crazy discouraged) but how they could be even better.
We came home and I found these similar thoughts, reflections of near-burnout and a sense of hope that a refocus will do the trick. It will.
I am tired.
I am ready for change and up to the challenge.
I am encouraged.