Ladies and Gentlemen! It's time for another game of: "WHO PEE'D ON THE CARPET!"
The game that gives moms the chance to evaluate all of their lives decisions that led up to that moment. In this game we are trying to figure out if it was the dog or the 3 year old. Both of whom should already be potty trained giving you plenty of opportunities to doubt your success as a mother and care taker of the family home.
I'll set it up for you. You're cleaning again. You're hating it. Again. You are reminding yourself of all of the free printable cleaning schedules that you've printed off of Pinterest. You are envisioning them hanging on your refrigerator and remembering a simpler time when you actually had the time to accomplish things like daily cleaning schedules. Or, if you didn't have the time you at least had the motivation. (But, now you have 3 kids and not just one, really well-behaved, compliant, mature beyond his years, advanced in emotional maturity, toddler to help you. Oh, and you gave up on thinking that a successful family meant a pristine home.)
So, there you are, putting that stupid WHITE sofa cover back on your sofa for the 10,000,000th time (the one you have to wash at least 5 times a week because it's white and you let a "well-meaning" friend talk you into getting a white sofa because they thought it would look better in your living room but didn't take into consideration that you have 3 kids and by the way YOU HATE TO CLEAN! But now you know that you don't have to let people make decisions for you. ) when you look down and see the tiniest wet spot on the carpet. Boom! Self doubt. Negative inner thoughts. Fatigue. Pain in your jaw from clenching your teeth. Sudden unexplainable feelings of hatred towards your husband. Oh, and you hate the dog because even if it was the 3 year old, you can't hair her because she has that sweet little voice and those precious blue eyes and she's the last one left in the house that thinks you're amazing.
These are the moments that make being a mom feel a little too stressful. I know, you're thinking, "Why stress? Clean up the pee, potty train your dog and your kid, and move on with your life." I will. I promise. I will do both of those things. But, for now just bare with me. It's stressful because us moms put way too much pressure on ourselves. Every day, our "well-meaning" friends, church leaders, advertisements, entertainment, pinterest, etc., lead us to believe that we are the ones who are solely responsible for the success of our marriage, families, and our husbands' and childrens' happiness. We are led to believe that by accomplishing these daily tasks that make everyone else's lives run more smoothly that we are contributing to our own happiness.
Can you believe that? I actually did. I actually believed that.
So, why aren't we fulfilled? If accomplishing a long list of tasks contributes to my happiness, then why do I feel so empty? Neglected? Lonely?
Before you unload the dishwasher, organize the playroom, write your weekly meal plan, sign up for that meal train, check off your prayer list, read the next "5 Steps to Making Your Husband The Happiest Man on Earth", read the following:
Say this out loud, "In focusing on accomplishments, I've forgotten about myself."
We have put so much effort in checking off our lists. We've hated ourselves for not completing our daily list. We've felt our lowest low because we weren't able to follow through with something we promised someone else we would do for them because we were doing other stuff for other people and now that person we forgot will know that we are the kind of woman who can't complete a checklist.
And do you know why we keep telling everyone yes? Because we like to have long checklists! Lets face it. The longer the checklist the more we look like we're able to accomplish. So, we say YES! Yes to everything.
Our husbands have lists for us too. So do our kids.
Do you know why I've been cleaning my house? Because, I'm expected to have a clean house. Forget the fact that I love the way it feels to have a clean house. That I feel less joy when it's a mess. My main reason for cleaning my house is because it's an expectation for a mom to keep a clean house.
Do you know why I yell at my kids when they jump on my huge pile of laundry that is piling up because I've given up on life? Because I feel that ultimately they will look back on their childhood and remember that their mom was lazy and hated doing laundry and they will relate everything that is wrong with them back to them being forced to play on a pile of laundry.
So, what's the solution? Well, there's 5 steps. JKJKJJKJKJKJK!!! There's more.
1. Take care of my heart first. Who else will? I am committing to myself to take care of my heart first. If the soil of my heart is good soil then everything that grows there and is harvested will be good. I will be healthy and nourished. The harvest that I give to others will be healthy and nourishing. I'm not talking about daily quiet time, early in the morning, just me and Jesus and a cup of coffee. I'm talking about searching for Him in every moment. I'm talking about responding to him when he tells me who I am and who he is. I'm talking about being careful what I talk about and am influenced by.
2. Before I say yes, I need to evaluate why I'm saying yes. Ask myself, am I saying yes because I love to add to my list and if I say no then someone else will say yes and then they will have the long list and not me? Or, am I saying yes because that sounds like something that will bring me joy and I have enough in my store house to give a little of my harvest to someone else.
3. Mentally look at all of the things on your checklist and think about which of those things is not bringing you joy. If it is sucking your joy then take it off the list. Here's the thing. I immediately want to take laundry off of my list. But, with careful evaluation I know that it would bring me less joy to not have clean clothes then it would to have clean clothes. Laundry stays on the list. But, taking my son to soccer 3 times a week when he really doesn't even like soccer doesn't bring me joy so that is no longer on my list. See how it works?
4. Make time to do things you enjoy. Like, even if you have to take your kids and they hate it and kind of suck the joy out of the moment. Make time for it. I love to have my nails manicured. I love it. It makes me feel put together. Even if my hair is greasy and I'm wearing dirty clothes, if my nails are done I feel like a Kardashian. I don't feel bad about myself if they're not done but I really like to have them done. But, I rarely have the alone time to go get my nails done without my kids. So, I take my kids. They piss me off the whole time I'm getting my nails done, but when I leave I have pretty nails. So, BOOM! Joy. I also, love to get up early. I don't want to but the times that I make myself, joy ensues.
Ok, I was just kidding. There weren't more than 5 steps and they're really not steps because they don't have to be done in order. They're more like suggestions. 4 suggestions to finding joy...sometimes.
So, who pee'd on the carpet? I still don't know.
Now they're getting hungry and if keep typing and ignoring them they'll start bugging me. Which will make me feel less joy. So, I'm done with this subject. For now.