Life is all about balance, and as a working mama, I feel like so many days my life is completely out of whack. If I am ever sitting in my office, dreaming of being home so that I can swiffer of my dog hair, and do a load of laundry, you know that something is off with my schedule.
This summer, I had the opportunity to read “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst, and she had quite a few gems for me. I am a “yes” woman, a people pleaser, and a serial list maker, but rarely do I even make the list. I love my mama life, and I would never put myself above Cole. I realize that this is just a chapter and season of my life, and someday very soon he won’t want to play Uno at the dinner table, go outside with me and play in the sprinkler, or have me read one more chapter of Humphrey the Hamster at bedtime. So, I go with the flow and get it done. Only recently (last year) did I start putting regular exercise and a clean diet in the mix of our swirly life, and while I labored over the decision of whether to take my child to the gym with me, he has adapted so gracefully. He has lots of mamas at the gym, and knows all of our zumba songs by heart. As a bonus he gets in some Minecraft time while I work out.
I have the glorious opportunity to counsel single mamas (and married mamas too) and we all have the same, shared busyness. We all want our kids to do church activities, soccer, homework, baseball and little kid life, but we all also want to be able to cook regular meals and be able to see our floors and have clean laundry. No one feels like they are giving their kiddos or spouse the attention they need, and we all feel pulled in so many directions. I remember my mama being home from work (always dressed glamorously) and her being so stressed about what to cook for supper. I can relate to that, because after a full day of taking care of other people, I know that my child also deserves that level of attention. But sometimes I am just all talked out, all listened out, and I have compassion fatigue (my care basket is almost empty, ha). My child knows me well enough to know when we just need to be quiet together, but our world unfortunately does not just stop moving because mama is a busy bee.
I had a stressed out single mama stay after small group to talk to me a few weeks ago. She was feeling pulled in so many directions, stressed out, not appreciated, and just exhausted. My advice to her was to figure out what she could remove from her plate (note that I have trouble taking my own advice), and follow accordingly. My child is always going to get a yes, but I can say no to other people (this is so hard for people pleasers). The author suggests that when you say yes to something outside of your little family, imagine your childrens’ faces, and saying no to them. It is a mindshift, and if you are saying no to someone, for extra volunteering or work outside of your regular job (this does not apply to your work life, your children still need water, electricity and groceries) that means you are saying yes to the parts of your life that will actually matter a year from now. Bringing individual bags of cheetos instead of artfully crafted cupcakes for your child’s snack time will be just fine, and your family will thank you for the extra hour they get of your time.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to pause and pray and ask for some guidance and some peace. Part of having a balanced life is learning to ask for direction from God before you stress about it (easier for me to tell you to do, than for me to do myself, holla).