My friend Amy was just telling me that her sister (who watched her kids over the weekend — Amy’s children are 5yo and 2yo) went blueberry picking with her own four children and the additional two she was watching.
Really, you should have been able to see my expression. The confusion, horror, and incredulity I struggled with were monumental. Blueberry picking with six young children? Really? Wow. WOW! Amy went on to explain that her sister doesn’t seem to make decisions based on the amount of work or trouble that will be caused her. Her sister will choose to do something (because it’s right, or fun, or whatever), and then will follow through with a good attitude about it.
Again, my expression was priceless.
I grant Amy’s sister the “Amazing Woman” award that I just made up. I’m unbelievably impressed by this concept, but I’m probably glad that I don’t know Amy’s sister because I’d end up feeling like Loser Mom.
Honestly, how much trouble or work something is going to cause me is probably the FIRST thing that crosses my mind. Please don’t get the impression that I only DO things that don’t cause me much work, that’s not true. I love to serve others. I really do. But before I commit to serving, I automatically assess how much it’s going to cost me and cost my family. Often this assessment would more accurately be stated: I have to know how much it’s going to cost my family because of how it will negatively affect my attitude because of how strung-out it will make me.
I’ve learned the hard way that my family suffers if I over-commit. I turn into stressed, angry mommy when I’m trying to accomplish too many tasks. My threshold for stress is pretty low. Too much noise and too much clutter can push me over the edge. Running late and grumpy kids can flip my angry-switch. I don’t like being Angry Mommy, so I’ve learned that I must be very deliberate about what I commit to and what I expect from myself.
Sometimes this means that my kids think I’m boring. That doesn’t much faze me. I do struggle with the potential for my husband to think I’m boring. If he were the at-home parent, I guarantee that my children would get to do more and go more places. He would be on-the-go with them all the time. The thing is, I just canNOT do that and be a nice mother.
The reality is that I have a lower threshold for stress and noise and disorder than many people do. If I try to live up to others’ levels of activity, then I fail in critical areas. My relationships with my children suffer when I’m stressed and angry. That is not acceptable to me, so I have to work really hard to keep things mellow. I have to let other people “show me up” and be okay with that.
I love my family. I have to rein-in my schedule in order to be nice to them. That’s reality.
Editing to add a link to another MORM blog. Scroll to the bottom of the linked page to see links for other MORM blogs.
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