Today I woke with a little more bounce in my step then the last couple weeks. The last day of school will do that for a mama! Getting to this spot has brought my heart so much respite. Like a weight lifted off my shoulder. After a long month of more then usual responsibilities, it is nice to let one thing fall off the plate. My son's 2nd grade year has come to a close and I think the whole family has been waiting for this day for some time! It was a tough year and while I didn't like the beginning of this journey very much, I feel so at home with where the beginning led us to. I have thoroughly enjoyed doing part time home-schooling. Ending 2nd grade with my boy who has spent his afternoons home with us the last 5 months is such a beautiful moment. I feel like we all tackled this year together, as a family. It was different and took more from me in the mom department, but the heart growth we've all had and the extra built in time for our relationships has been so, so good. The five of us have truly benefited from this structure for this season in our lives. I would do it again in a heart-beat if I had to choose.
In all the added things to our schedule the last few weeks and my total crash last weekend after exhausting every angle of myself, I have looked back at what I would do different...given the next time I decide to home-school, raise chickens, nurse a baby, start a business, do day-care, and all the normal stay-home mom stuff we all attempt to do everyday. Yes, I have definitely learned what NOT to do along the way this month!
This is where my paper plate parable comes in. Looking back, I had a lot of big things on my plate. And the pace was much faster then I ever intend to live my life. I knew going in that it would be a crazy few weeks. I didn't know it would almost swallow me whole when I was so close to the end. I should have been better prepared, like when I know a baby is arriving into our home soon and stock the hall cupboard with paper plates like they are going out of business at the paper plate factory.
Here is the truth. I will have another busy season like this short one this last month. Everybody has unusually busy seasons in their life. So often our commitments in our lives will intertwine a time or two and we will catch ourselves running very fast to keep up. It is okay to have a paper plate season every so often amongst your home. It is temporary and does not define who you are at that moment, but rather who you are working at becoming. A mom after God's own heart knows when to pull out the paper plates and when to serve with her best china. Paper plate seasons are all around us and I am fairly young in the parenting journey, thus I am positive I will find myself in another paper plate stage of life.
While I attempted to keep all my things afloat this last month, I became incredibly discouraged when so much of what I was doing felt like it was all falling around me. I really felt like I was not doing 1 thing in my life well. It was overwhelming and so frustrating and Satan loves getting me down to that place of discouragement and doubt. I should have gone into this season with my paper plates in stock.
Next time, I will let some little things go for a bit while I keep the bigger things of the moment moving ahead. I will use paper plates more and be okay making 10 lbs of taco meat to serve every which way you can name it. I will rent some good learning videos from the library and feel good throwing that in if I need some work time quick. I will set up "help days". Days already planned for my kids to go have fun some place else, with someone else, so I can get some work done. And be okay with that. I will say no to almost anything that comes up last minute, knowing I need to stay focused on whats already going on, and will not add to my commitments in the midst of over-committed mode. I will delegate when it comes to the house chores more. I enjoy serving my family in this area, usually. But when my mind and energy is being used up in other areas, I fail in this area miserably. A cluttered and messy home makes me feel anxious inside and I can imagine my family probably doesn't enjoy "relaxing" when there are old diapers sitting next to them and the chewed up tennis balls all amongst their feet and breakfast dishes still sitting smelling up the kitchen :) As for home-schooling...that's the beauty of homeschooling. You can take breaks when life gets moving faster then usual. Let that move down a bit on the list for a few weeks. It will still be there when this all passes! I will skip baths a bit more and know sending my dirty children to bed will not make them sleep worse or better. I will say yes to all offers of help. I will go to bed as soon as I can and get as much sleep as possible (those dirty clothes will still be there in the morning!).
Paper plate seasons will happen. I know the norm here is not paper plate mode. But, it doesn't hurt to let them take over for a bit while you keep your heart, mind, and body in a good place for yourself and your loved ones. For me to let go of a few little things while the load is heavy, lets me make the big things like our relationships and the tone of our home stay in tact. We're all going to have those times in our lives when the paper plates just need to be pulled out. And it is okay. For we all know that when those paper plates run out or aren't needed anymore, the brightly colored teal glass ones are anxiously awaiting to be used again and the people eating off of them will hardly have felt the difference.