I was trying to sit and help my eldest study for the upcoming spelling bee. Everything has felt like an effort these past couple of days, and add to that the fact that it’s after eight and in the bedtime hour. My second oldest tells us he still has homework to do, and his chores still aren’t done. Everyone seems to be a whir of activity.
The child who is supposed to be washing his lunch dishes comes running through the living room to the piano, but the water is still running in the kitchen sink.
“What are you doing?!” I practically yell at him. Maybe he’s just letting the water get hot, I try to rationalize to myself.
“I’m doing two things at once because you are all telling me to do everything,” he replies, exasperated at best, still moving, straightening up his piano things.
Alas, I feel I’ve not done a good job this day. My nine-year-old feels the need to multi-task. God bless him, the boy is as slow as Christmas and has a hard time focusing on doing one task, let alone three or more. Often, I have to write a list out just so he knows what he needs to do, and even that can mean a day-long commitment.
Why do we have so much to do? I wonder. So much laundry. So many dishes. So much house to clean (and we’re not in an extremely large house by any means for a family of 6). So much work to be done.
I remind myself that these are the ropes. Sometimes you swing high. Sometimes you swing low. It helps keep things in perspective because as soon as I think this, I remember how grateful I am that we have all we do. We are richly blessed.
We have to be careful, though, of how much of our time we spend in the absent-minded state of doing, doing, doing. Am I showing my kids how I do motherhood, or am I showing them how to be a mother? Am I teaching them that the only way they will get anything accomplished is if they run themselves into the ground 24/7, or am I showing them that it really is about one’s quality of being that is of utmost importance.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what I’ve said if I haven’t lived it. I would have rather heard my son tell me he’s done his best this day to do what he can. I would rather have seen a sleepy, contented smile on his face than the tired, sad eyes that were giving up on his homework.
When the tooth fairy visits tonight, I hope she brings another friend with a magic wand to wave over us all renewal, confidence and peace. We’ll start again fresh in the morning light.