Maybe I'm just a little slow on the uptake.
Maybe my BS (bachelor of science) didn't actually give me any CS (common sense).
Maybe my Pottery Barn catalog world just doesn't exist.
I feel overwhelmed a lot of days. I mean, come on... I have five children five and under. I've been mistaken for some kind of Supermom. Please let me dispel that myth once and for all: Do Supermoms raise their voices? Hide in the bathroom with the fan on? Call their husbands in tears two or three times a week? Have puddles of spilled milk on the floor... from yesterday? Well, if they do, sure I'll go pick up my Wonderwoman uniform from the cleaner's.
Spanx don't fail me now.
I always admire the Mommas who always have clean houses, home cooked meals, pretty blogs, Gap Models for children, and a smile to boot. I aspire to be like her (she's not a myth, I met her)... I want shiny floors, homemade whole wheat bread, a cupcake blog, children whose shoes are on the right feet, and a shower at least every other day.
But I don't always get what I want.
This hit me a while back after I let my son watch Blue's Clues after he got home from preschool. I told my husband because I was so excited by this revelation:
When my patience runs short
and my to-do list is long,
and my to-do list is long,
my kids can watch TV.
(told you I was slow)
I know many of you have lived by this principle for years. I, however, am eating my typed words. I never wanted to be the Mommy who sits my children in front of the television as a way of avoiding them because I don't want to interact with them. On the contrary, I love my children and I wish I had the energy to keep up. Instead, I find myself losing it because
I can't keep that many plates spinning.
We all have them. We all have plates we keep spinning.
Clean floors. *spin*
Hot meals. *spin*
Never raise my voice. *spin*
Complete Pinterest projects. *spin*
These are not bad plates. But whose plates are they? And where did they come from? And let's call these plates what they really are: unrealistic expectations.
I have a few plates from being an oldest child. I have a few my mom handed down, others I borrowed from my mother in law, a few more from girlfriends, and I just picked up a couple more from that lady with seven kids at church who homeschools and has it all together and even looks cool.
I stopped spinning my "no TV" plate and it hit the floor and shattered. Now, my kids watch TV three or four times a week. Sometimes, I nap while they watch the Man with the Yellow Hat... you know, the negligent one with the mischievous primate.
And that's okay. I am letting go of unrealistic expectations.
I remind myself often that...
- Studies show that dirt builds immunity.
- Meals from a box won't kill anyone.
- It isn't a sin to be angry. Be angry but don't sin (Ephesians 4:26).
- Kids are simple.
- And don't pick up everyone elses' plates.
Here's what I've found about myself... when my unrealistic expectations aren't reality, I'm disappointed. When I'm disappointed, I get mad. When I get mad, I get loud. And I don't want my children to be afraid me. I also know that God hasn't given me a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). If having trouble spinning plates is messing with my peace, God probably didn't give me those plates to begin with.
His yoke is easy. His burden is light.
So let me say it again... If keeping up with [unrealistic] expectations is causing strife, it isn't what God expects.
Besides, God didn't send His Son to die for a plate-spinning circus seal to entertain Him. I'm a dearly loved, adopted daughter. I guess that means I can stop performing (and teaching my children to perform) all together.