I have a relative in CA who is a little older than I am, though her youngest is 13. Which is no surprise. Only crazy ladies have 3 kids in their 40's!
(That's me, CRAZY. But oh, how blessed. I LOVE MY KIDS!)
So anyway, she has a blog and they are gone a LOT. Like they just got back from a several week drive around the country, and they are moving from CA to FL soon. And today's blog post was about how she and her 2 younger daughters (3 are grown, and her one son was away at camp) drove THREE HOURS to visit a friend.
I know that's not really a long way. It's just that if she is visiting people, and she does ALL the time, she isn't home keeping her house in order.
And she obviously isn't bug eyed stressed about it. Nor is there any sign her house is a mess! She obviously manages to keep her home and family in order in spite of being 10 times busier than I am.
I'm an introvert and a homebody. Trips are stressful. It is so much work getting stuff packed, so much work having kids whining about being the car for hours, and so on.
I mean, I love relatives and friends, but we hardly ever go anywhere.
I have another local friend who travels a lot as well. She loves to travel and doesn't do well being home all the time.
Big point here is that people are different, and that is fine. We are all blessed with different strengths.
Considering that we have 9 children and homeschool, our house is moderately clean and tidy and organized.
I have a low threshold of stress with running around with the kids, even locally. A trip to a splash park is fun but a few hours wipes me out.
It is what it is. I am who I am. I am a good mother. I'm not like other mothers, I know that.
The kids get love, attention, books read to them, prayers over them, and food served at regular intervals.
AND not very many field trips, or trips.
I'm tired. Physically to some degree, mentally more. When I'm out and about with the Horde, it is EXHAUSTING.
Perhaps in a few years, when Rose is safer, I'll do more.
I said a few months ago that I would try to lose some weight.
So it hasn't happened.
So let me just say that yes, losing weight is very hard. I spent most of my life losing weight very easily and maintaining a low weight with almost zero effort. Yep, fast metabolism and lots of anxiety. It was nice. I knew it was nice (not the anxiety part, but the effortless skinny person part). Now I know how nice it was!
I'm maintaining, anyway. I'm consistently at 155 lbs. That doesn't just happen, either. I'm exercising and thinking about what I eat and trying not to overeat.
155 lbs is totally reasonable for my height, and I'm mostly at peace. I just don't want to climb higher, and it is taking real effort not to go higher!
We live with so much food around us, don't we? And as we age, our metabolisms slow down.
I keep reading books about people in other countries and times who didn't have enough food. We are so blessed to have food in our cupboards and refrigerator. I never have to worry about my kids starving.
It's a huge blessing. I just need to make sure I am wise about how much blessing I put in my mouth.
This post will include philosophical rambling. You have been warned!
I'm a project oriented person and have been for a very long time. I was a stellar student in high school, undergrad, and graduate school. I could study for tests, finish projects, and meet deadlines with the best of them, though admittedly with tons of anxiety and stress in the mix.
The nice thing about projects and classes and tests is that they have a firm end date. For better or for worse, at some point its all over but the grade.
People are more complicated.
Until death parts us, the people in our lives will be around, sometimes in our homes, sometimes over phone lines, sometimes attached almost exclusively by email.
(I hate phones most of the time. I'm surrounded by noise and people crawling up my legs so when I'm on the phone, I prefer people who can understand the occasional side comments to small children who suddenly, ardently, need my attention. One of my least favorite jobs in life is trying to work through a billing problem on the phone with phone trees and stupid computer voices and kids screaming in the background...)
Ok, digression over.
But from the perspective of eternity, what is more important, people or projects?
Of course people win, hands down.
And yet, and yet, the projects are fairly important as well because they affect the people. If we never mowed the lawn, we'd be surrounded by 5 foot tall grass fields and the kids wouldn't be able to play as easily, and they'd always come in covered with ticks and chiggers. If we didn't keep working on the pool, it would be a swamp.
So it's a balance; on one hand, we need to get a lot of things done in life, but on the other hand, we need to interact with our loved ones consistently. Quality time is good, but quantity time is necessary as well. Our loved ones won't do well with a stray 15 minutes a day.
Dealing with my wonderful children, especially the youngest 3, is quite exhausting. They are 7, 6, and 4 now. I love them. They are fantastic and cute and amazing. But they are also immature, because they are small. They fight, repeatedly. They do things they shouldn't. And Rose, in particular, is like a comet who often is quite content to be away from her sun (me) but sometimes wants to be circling very close to me. When she decides she wants Mommy, it is hard for me to go outside or even change floors in our house without her screaming in dismay.
You get the picture.
Since it is summer and we're not officially doing school, I've been tackling lots of projects around the house. I am decluttering closets and organizing them. I'm organizing our clothing. You get the picture.
These things have value, without a doubt. But I have to remind myself, when knee deep in a project, that if the kids need me, I need to break away. And not 'need me' in the sense of 'child will get injured without me' but in the sense of 'child is feeling lonely or scared or crabby and I need to spend time with said child.'
Not easy. Because when the project is in mid stream, it is hard for me to swim out of it. I just want to get it done!
But I'm maturing and growing as a Christian and a wife and a mother. The project will be still be there when I get back, but the people need me now.
Summer is nice because we aren't doing much school, but there is always other stuff to do of course!
I'm in the midst of a prolonged decluttering and organizing frenzy, and my latest target involves the bathrooms and the laundry room. It is surprising how many odd bottles of this and that are floating around.
We have an extra trash can for a couple of months (long story there) and I'm going to work on filling it!
When shelves and closets are organized and minimized, it is way easier to find things.
Of course, the midst of all this delightful organization, small people need frequent oversight. One of the most important areas of maturation in my life is realizing that relationships are more important than projects. I love getting stuff done. Dealing with Sarah and Daniel fighting for the 34th time in a day is less satisfying. But it is probably more important.
I am so blessed by Kevin. He is truly my best friend. We have a whole lot in common (including a great deal of esoteric knowledge about materials) and he is a loving, faithful, and committed husband and father.
We went to a work picnic on our anniversary itself. For reasons that aren't clear, I didn't feel great that afternoon and evening so we didn't go out for dinner. The next day I felt fine so we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant and then to the THEATER for a MOVIE.
We rarely go to the theater, being cheapskates from way back.
We saw the Star Wars Solo movie, and thankfully, and somewhat surprisingly, enjoyed it. I say surprisingly because we watched The Last Jedi a month ago or so and loathed it.
Thankfully we saw the Last Jedi on a library DVD so didn't waste any money. I've ranted about that movie on fanfiction.com (as part of my ongoing Star Wars fanfiction hobby) so I won't burden you. Suffice to say that we thought it was totally lousy.