I’d like to start this post by speaking directly to those who had a nice, casual morning. Yes, you. Whoever you are, I have one question for you that I hope you can take seriously: Can I come live with you?
Our morning started with the typical muffled stomps of four year olds walking around at 5:30am. Then their little disobedient steps moved down the stairs to the kitchen – which we’ve told them 100 (200? 4 billion?) times not to do. Back in our bedroom, we console ourselves by saying that they’re just playing with the dino magnets on the refrigerator, even though deep down in my heart, well actually not even that deep, just in my head, I KNEW THEY WERE EATING FOOD. Which may not seem like a big deal to you. But food that is supposed to last us the week gets gobbled up in one sitting with these two. Imagine two squirrels with a million acorns, two lions with a fresh carcass, two four year old little boys who have NEVER SEEN FOOD BEFORE. That’s how fast it goes. Down the hatch. Gone.
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, HOT DOGS, muenster cheese, all gone by 6:30am. Once discovered, the median blood pressure in the Katulka household is through the roof, and we have boys who have been caught. This is just not a pretty morning.
My first thought is, “I will never buy fresh fruit again.”
My second thought is, “I hear we’re going to miss these days.”
Both make me sad.
By 7:30am, the fumes have settled, we are communicating like humans again (as opposed to zombies, or babies who freak, or wild beasts who only make wild noises). We still have no idea if the boys understand that they’re not allowed to go downstairs without us. I mean they are communicating with us like they do, but tomorrow morning will reveal the truth.
By 8:30, I sit down at my computer, kids are gone, laptop open to get work done, and I look at my phone – battery left 6%. I look at my computer – battery left 5%. And then I realize, if I had a Battery Life Indicator on me, it most likely would say the same. Maybe even less.
Is It Possible To Recharge With Small Children – ah hem, and one on the way?
I think for parents raising small children there are two things at play: one, the sheer exhaustion that it is to raise small children. Whether you’re using your token system, stickers, picture diagrams to explain how the day needs to go, it still doesn’t solve the age dilemma. My four year olds are taking in what I say about as effectively as when I tried to talk to a worm the other day, and my six year old is at that beautiful independent stage where she believes she knows just a little bit more than me.
The other thing at play is your personality – your God-given way of how you view your scenario. Are you prone to optimism (this will pass!!) or pessimism (we are doomed for life). Unfortunately, my mind says doomed, but my heart says temporary. What does your mind say?
So, since we can’t shake either of these two things today — your kids’ age nor your bent toward how you view the world, how do we recharge? Especially when we don’t have an indicator to let us know that we are hovering toward 0%.
Honestly, I’m writing this while my dish rag is still wet from cleaning up a smearing of hot dogs, cheese and strawberry juice all over their bedroom (did I mention the free-for-all buffet took place in their bedroom?), but I *think* these are some steps we can take into consideration.
Don’t forget your name. This morning Cohen asked me, “Who is Karen?” And I stared back at him, like, great question, Cohen. Cause I’m mom, right? That’s my name. I have no other name. Now, I don’t want Cohen calling me anything other than Mommy, but shoot, I really couldn’t answer him. When was the last time you heard your own name? Don’t forget that you are someone under all that disciplining, sandwich-making, hot wheels cars picking-up-ing. You’re not just the housekeeper. You’re not just the 5’6″ gal who used to have abs.
Do something completely disconnected from your kids that brings peace. Now, for me to say I’m completely disconnected from my kids would be a stretch. Because, in this instance, they’re in the childcare downstairs while I do it, but some Yin Yoga for this pregnant lady is my new thing I fight for. Even when they whine. Even when they don’t want to go to the gym. I’m powering through for the hour of laying on a cushion since that’s about all I can do at 25 weeks.
Produce something, think creatively, take a walk outside. I work part-time running my own business which I love. And while that stimulates my productivity brain and utilizes some creative juices, sometimes I just gotta get on my blog and rant. Or rearrange rooms in my home to make enough space for our growing family, or pop in some earbuds with a good podcast and take a walk outside. Don’t just dream about it, do it. Produce, create, do.
Think about others – what is their battery life? When you’re operating at 6% yourself it’s hard to find the energy to consider someone else’s battery life. But if conversations with moms at the playground has taught me anything, it’s that we are all struggling with something. It’s a lie to assume that everyone is operating at 100% and you’re the big loser who can’t get it together. But, do take a moment to check in with your friends and neighbors – because you are not the only one.
STOP COMPLAINING. This one is just for me so you don’t have to read it. My kids are healthy, we have food to eat and food to waste (sad face back to this morning), Chris and I love one another, I get to feel little kicks inside me, and while all of these things can also produce some crazy in my life, it sure is not worth complaining about.
As my husband told me last night, he thinks we are in a stage of being refined. That’s what the Lord does as he seeks to see us be more like Christ. Even Jesus faced the future doom of total rejection of his people, a brutal and bloody death on a cross, and yet he stayed the course. He didn’t quit, he didn’t complain, he promoted truth and justice during his short time on earth. And most importantly, rose to victory in the end. Our story is not over yet either.
Which brings me to the bigger imagery of the battery life. Your battery will not last forever. Nor will your child’s. Or spouse’s. Some of you already know this – and I imagine your daily perspective has changed deeply because of it.
We won’t live forever, so we have to protect our batteries while we’re here on earth. The better charged we are, the better life can be managed and enjoyed.
I’m starting a 6-week long Bible study tonight called “A woman who doesn’t quit” – it’s a study on Ruth, and let’s just say, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Get re-charged, friends.