June 23, 2011

driving summer.

Mothers drive the home, especially during the summer.
I've learned that sometimes it's difficult to figure out the right speed limit.

Most days I try to keep myself in a low gear.
When I have low expectations for my day, I tend to be more kind and able to handle distractions.
I pick one or two things that I would like to accomplish, but basically just focus on the basics.
Dressing, feeding, cleaning, calming, directing, etc.
On slow days we don't go anywhere.  We just hang out.
I talk on the phone or check my blog or read a book or just spend the day doing whatever it is we do when we don't get anything done...
My kids play together and make messes. 
They laugh and fight, read, watch tv, and graze on food all day long.
I love slow days.
But, after a few slow days, my insides start to scream!
My husband comes and goes, accomplishing tasks.
And I'm stagnating at home, drowning in the slowness and monotony of my life.
I feel an intense desire to get something DONE.

Some days I have a list of "destinations", and I go fast.
Speeding fast.
On these days I have a long list of To Do's... and, I try hard to accomplish them.
If I try to bring my kids along, I'm a mac truck.
Usually I'm trying to fill my day with just one more thing and urging my family forward FASTER. 
Let's GO!!  Let's DO!  Faster!!
Clean the house so we can go someplace fun.
Hurry up, we have people coming over.
We just need to run to this store, and then this store, and then this store.
OR, I do as little as possible for my kids and I try to become a one-woman goal accomplishing machine.
My little girls are in their pjs at 4pm, I have the bigger kids make breakfast and lunch so my kitchen is a mess, the kids are watching tv or playing video games all day, and I'm DOING things I need to get done.
My kids can only handle a few of these days before they get lost in the background and begin to rebel with contention.

I do love my fast days.  I find great joy in crossing things off my lists.
Sometimes, I feel exhilarated after a speedy day. 
But often, I feel bothered and annoyed.
As soon as I complete one task, I begin to thirst for more and more and then I am frustrated that I have to stop and cook lunch, or calm an argument, or feed a fussy baby.
The faster I go, the more I crave speed.
My mind is naturally Nascar fast.  My soul is a horse drawn carriage.
Oh how I struggle to find the balance between my mind and my soul. 

Sometimes my life is fast and I'm just the passenger...  my car is automatic.
We are running all over town, dropping off one kid here, picking up another kid there.
Home for a few minutes and then running again.
Quickly finding shoes and spraying sunblock, buckling car seats, filling our backseat with Happy Meal wrappers..
Kids hanging out the windows of my life... laughing and pointing "Mom, let's go here."
I love these days... but after a few fast and crazy, friend filled days, we are sunburned and windblown and we all need some time at home.

I believe in life we need SLOW days and FAST days.
They're just part of our journey.
BUT, I do feel like the perfect speed is not too fast and not too slow.
The perfect days are days that I plan well or just navigate well.
Days when I'm driving, and BRINGING my children some place that I want them to be.
Days when my kids are on my To Do list and I am thinking about my To Be list.

This summer has been interesting for me.
I have a new baby, and so my days are naturally slower.
But, I am also MOVING and need to pack my house, so I'm naturally in a revved up frame of mind trying to accomplish super-human preparations.

Because of my baby, I begin to feel like I can NEVER get ANYTHING done.
I'm a victim to my children with a list of important, unfinished tasks piling up in my mind.
I don't like feeling like my children are speed bumps, so I often just switch into neutral and glide through my days.
It's better than screaming and going crazy, but neutral is not a great place to be in.
After a few days in neutral, I'm smoking internally.  Unhappy, but not sure why.
I honestly have to give myself mental permission to set a goal and accomplish it.
I have to get my husband and family on board.  I let them know that I'm on the brink and I need some time to get something DONE.
My husband is good about giving me a few hours on Saturday morning to run errands sans children.
I need that time, especially during the summer.

Because of my move, I look around and panic.  I have so much that needs to get done.
I become a mac truck, moving everyone forward.
When I'm in mac truck mode, my days involve cleaning, packing, being the task master for my kids.
And at the end of the day I remember it's summer and my children need more time to enjoy their summer days.

Because of my six older kids, somedays are full of balancing schedules and carpools and fun stuff.
Older kids are a down hill ride. 
Life naturally speeds up if I take my foot off the brake.
Play dates, summer camps, scouts, sports, friends, swimming, library, museums, water parks, etc.
Big kids can fill a calender VERY quickly.
Most of my days I coast down the hill with them enjoying the wind in our faces.
But sometimes, I need to brake from the fun and regain our family life.

Life is a journey and my car is packed full.
I am never happy when I completely loose myself. 
And, at the same time I am never completely happy when I focus on myself.
That's why I've learned it's a great journey where we must learn to control the speed limit.

I love road trips.
I love driving.
I really love being a mother, who is at home each day for the journey of family.
Each morning the road stretches before me, and I can choose our destination.
I set goals, like speed limits in my life.
Before 9am, 25 mph.  Dressing, eating, watching tv...
Toll booth at 9am-- family devotional. 
We decide where we are heading for the day and how fast we will travel.

Yesterday was a perfect, cruise through daily life.
We had a slow early morning, and quick chore filled mid-morning. 
I crossed things off my list... and my list was full of tasks and relationship builders. 
My kids set their own goals and spent the afternoon in drivers ed.
They wrote fiction stories, and read books to their little sisters. 
They practiced math facts on the computer, drew pictures, went for walks outside, read books, read scriptures.
We read two chapters of Robin Hood together as a family- oh how I love spending time with my kids.
Todd got home from work and took the kids swimming while I cooked a nice dinner and tried a new recipe for dessert.
I remembered to love and bond with my baby every time I fed her.  I spent time looking her into her eyes and enjoying the hours we spent together.
I packed a few boxes and organized all my cds and dvds (a BIG check off my list).
Oh, the joy of the journey.

Yes, I am driving this bus.  I'm driving it.
And, I have many passengers, but I can still choose where we go each day and how fast we travel.
I love this journey.
I love setting the speed limit.
Speed limits are hard to be respected

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

What a fabulous analogy!!! I love this post!

P.S. When did you start using capital letters?! :-)

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