(Written Saturday, June 20)
Thanks to the kindness of friends and family, our week was packed with trips to the swimming pool. With that being said, Sunday will soon be upon us and I find myself concerned about what my children will end up wearing to church. You see, my laundry room has been overtaken by an endless pile of wet towels and bathing suits. When I consider how severely I have neglected the piles of play clothes, I'd say it's a small miracle that my kids were able to find a pair of clean underwear to put on after their evening shower.
Another small miracle: I finally remembered to replenish our supply of swim diapers today. Those swim diapers were that one item on my grocery list that I kept forgetting. Up until today, I was finding leftover swim diapers in miscellaneous closets, in my (shockingly huge) pile of unmatched socks and other completely random locations. I kept getting lucky when I'd remember that I needed one for Forrest as I readied us for a trip to the pool. This week really gave me the practice I needed to perfect the art of hauling four kids to the pool. Maybe I'm a huge wimp, but I find the process a little overwhelming and sometimes struggle with saying "Yes, let's go!".
Don't be so surprised, but Andrew has been on the road for work again. I feel a mix of achievement and self pity as I consider the things I handle on my own. Please don't misinterpret that statement as discounting everything Andrew does for our family, but lately I feel that I am sailing this ship solo. I feel myself wearing thin (I wish that was a literal statement!) as an excess of impatience and discouragement sets in. In these moments, I recognize that I'm not being my best Mom self which makes me feel worse. As I continue to adjust to this new chapter in our life, I'm referring to Andrew's travel schedule, I am trying to simplify our schedule and carve out time to be an individual. Here's what makes me feel a little more sane.
1. Make sure we have family prayer and talk time with Andrew when he's out of town. The kids still like him to sing them a song when he's on the road. It's pretty sweet watching this happen.
2. Be content at home. It's okay if the kids aren't having play dates or outings everyday. I have a good friend whose family thrives on daily outings and I really understand why that time away from home strengthens and benefits them. For us, I do well when we have downtime. When I watch the kids play with one another; whether it's upstairs messing with legos, wreaking havoc in the basement or exploring in the backyard, I feel real satisfaction. There isn't constant harmony, but I really feel grateful for the occasional doses of peace and laughter. For example, my kitchen turned into a train depot this week. I was happy to sacrifice that prime space as I watched that activity link the four kids together. Forrest was especially delighted to have the trains set up in that space.
(And for the record, I'm the official DUFF of this group! Love them.)
4. Utilize babysitters and ask family for help. Thanks to Dave Ramsey, we have a cash envelope set aside to fund babysitters. I protect these funds as the extra help is both needed and appreciated when I find myself in a bind. The week of Lottie's dance recital, I found myself in such a place. With the neighbor girls on trek,I asked my Mom to watch my kids while I shuttled Lottie back and forth to a dance practice for her recital. I respect my Mom's free time. It wasn't an easy thing to do, even though she is awesome, but ended up asking her anyway. The prospect of taking all the kids to that particular event made me want to curl up into a ball and cry. Most of the time, I'll tackle the challenge. I signed up for these kids. I can do this, but that week I felt less than ambitious. It was my opportunity to film Lottie's performance and to do so without Forrest there, was so great. I'm so thankful that agreed to help me out. Thanks again, Mom.
Asking for help includes asking the kids.
6. Count thy blessings. This is the most simple and probably the most important. Cherish my babies. Be grateful that I get to stay home and care for them (I am!). The days of fish cracker crumbs, smudged finger prints on glass and piles of sand being tracked into the kitchen are limited. They won't always want me the way do now and I'm pretty sure that will break my heart.
Swimming pool snapshots:
Until next time!