Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sweating the Big Stuff

I'm coming up on a one year anniversary.  One year since I made a HUGE leap of faith and moved to a new state.  The move came on the heels of a life-changing event:  divorce.  

Looking back on it now, I wonder sometimes where I found the courage to do it.  And I also wonder if I was slightly--well--CRAZY at the time.  I came here only knowing where I WANTED to work, but not knowing if I would actually get that job.  I did.  I came here knowing I was moving into a nice house with even nicer landlords, but I didn't know if I'd like where I live.  I do.  I came here not knowing how in the world I would ever manage to work nearly full time (after having always been home caring for my kids) and raise four kids mostly on my own and do all that comes under that umbrella.  I have.   Have I excelled at it?  Probably not.  Most nights, when my head hits the pillow, I feel like I've done just barely enough to scrape by and keep my kids out of the foster care system. 

Hitting a one year mark like this causes a mom to do a little reflecting.  I've been thinking about what this year has taught me.  I'm sure I could fill a novel with all the lessons I've learned---some of them very reluctantly and some of them still in progress---in the last twelve months.   But the one thing that seems to stand out is that I've learned to let go of a good many things.   My house is no longer the cleanest on the block.  My car gets washed once a year...whether it needs it or not.  My clean laundry might sit in the basket for a couple of days before it gets put away (wrinkled) in the drawers.  My girls don't always leave the house with perfectly combed hair complete with rubberbands and barrettes.  My floors can go unswept for days and days and days and I'm ok with it.  Well, sometimes the ants force action on my part, but mostly I'm just ok with it.  I even leave dirty dishes in the sink for a whole day and night sometimes!  

I've learned that much of the stress in my life was manufactured in my head.   I've found that it can be liberating to let go of those things that simply don't matter.  So what DOES matter?  Are my kids safe and healthy?  Do they leave the house every day knowing mommy loves them?  Do they know how happy I am to see them when I pick them up from the sitter or when they get home from school?  Am I making time for them, collectively and individually, so that all of these changes that have shaken their little foundations will be easier for them to absorb?    Are we having fun together as a family?   Am I the best teacher they have?  Those are the every day things that truly count. 

I admit there's a big learning curve here.  It's only been one year.  Not nearly long enough for me to get this whole parenting thing right.  But maybe I can almost put a big fat check mark in the "letting go" box.   There are one or two things I'm still gripping pretty tightly, but I'll get there.  I'm still under construction.

So what about you?  What are you learning to let go of?  Or what would you like to let go of but just can't seem to loosen your grip?

7 comments:

The Solomon Fam said...

I loved this post! Thanks for the wonderful reminder that I really needed. I don't even have a job outside the home but I think I create stress in my head too. And I easily feel overwhelmed when Roger is gone for months at a time. I probably waste most of my energy doing the same things you mentioned just to try and keep up the appearance that I have everything under control. And while I do that a lot of important things don't get the attention they should ,

You are a wonderful Mom and I hope this next year holds wonderful things for you!

Jenna said...

Wow, I can't believe it's been a year already! I think you have come a long way in a year, and whether or not it makes a difference, I never once thought this was a challenge you couldn't master. Your kids are growing and adjusting so well, and that is in large part (if not entirely) due to your efforts and priorities as a mother. Thanks for making me reflect a little on my own "things". I think it would be good for me to start making a list here...

Sharon Schade said...

I miss you woman!! There's a lot I've gone through, learned and still learning this last year too. More than a year actually, but a TON more in the most recent. Letting go and resigning/accepting certain things....yeah, just craziness....

BossyMommy said...

Golly you guys, thanks. sniff, sniff.

April said...

Thanks for that great post! My friend Hilary directed me to your site, and she thought you might be interested in contributing to "The Power of Moms" (www.powerofmoms.com). I think many, many moms can benefit from your experiences. Great work!

Kristi Smith said...

I will have toread this later, can't read the yellow type on my phone and I am at a conference. Just wanted to say CUTE HEADER!

Josh and Kirsty Baldon said...

I really loved this post. I saw it on facebook and I started reading it then I HAD to go to page to read the rest. That was the sweetest blog. You are such a strong woman and a great mom. Remind me so much of your mom. I love that woman. Thanks for sharing. I know I have few things to let go and you have encouraged me to do so. Thanks for the blog!