We may not have a new baby in the house, but I still can find myself feeling just as ragged as a new mom some days. Adding our second child didn't come with the demands of a newborn, but it sure did bring on a whole new set of demands that are new to us. Managing time, I guess, has been the most challenging for me. Along with letting go of all the expectations I had and still have of myself.
I want to be that mom whose kids' friends feel comfortable talking to and being around. I want to be fun-loving and welcoming and hospitable. I want to be active and involved, the cheerleader and the confidant. The nurturer and the guide. I want my kids to know they can always come to me. Talk to me. Confide in me. I haven't kept much of all that up, though. Lately, all I've been is the grouch, the distrusting one, the critique, and the control freak. My main focus seems to be keeping an eye on the calendar to make sure everybody gets fed adequately and has a way to get to their appointed place on time.
I don't know how (or why) parents do it when they have multiple kids in multiple activities. We do three things in our home: school, church, soccer. Plus Mike and I each have a favorite pastime. He likes to work on his truck projects. I like to focus on my writing. I've realized lately that we can't do it all and still maintain our values as a family. Time to reprioritize.
God. Family. School. Recreation. It's all important, but if it's not in order, it doesn't work.
I'm crazy about commitment--100% commitment. If we say we're
going to do it, we're going to be there 100%. Now I see that as another
one of those high expectations I put upon myself that I have to let
go every now and then.
Two amazing camping weekends just for guys with the youth pastor appeared on the youth schedule at church. A time of fellowship and to teach them how to man up and be the young men that God called them to be. We had to choose between that or soccer games or school activities that they're already committed to. We agreed that the church events had to come first. That decision sends a message about what our family values most. We wanted to make sure they got the right message.
We've had our 15 year anniversary trip to Mexico planned since the fall when Madai set her wedding date for the same weekend as our anniversary. We made arrangements for the boys to stay with people and still make it to school. Then the soccer schedules were finalized and three games in three different places and times appeared for the same weekend. One that went till 10:00 at night on a school night. Even though we had friends volunteer to help with transportation for the boys, I felt like it was too much to ask, so we actually considered changing our plans and shortening our trip. That decision would send a loud message to our boys, though. A message that says that their activities come before our marriage. We can't do that. We knew we needed to stick to our original plans. God blessed our decision quickly by having another friend volunteer to take care of the night game transportation. So unexpected, which made me even more grateful.
The calendar is always full of activities. Some for school that we can't avoid. Choir concerts, family nights, informational meetings. Some for adoptive purposes, likewise, that we can't avoid. Post-adoption paperwork. Immigration appointments. Applying for and waiting on a social security card. Post-placement visits, dates, and reports to keep up with. Some for church that are necessary for spiritual growth, like guys' camping trips, ladies' Bible study, home groups, etc. Others are beneficial and good, but need to be chosen based on what else has already filled the calendar. I had to swallow the fact that I can't teach a ten week Bible study, have two boys in soccer, keep up with school activities in three different schools, and still be able to attend my monthly writer's group. I hate missing it, but I also hate feeling pulled in so many directions at once that I no longer feel a passion for any of them.
There's a writer's conference coming up at the end of the month right here in Fort Worth taught by my friend from writer's group, Mary DeMuth, specifically on self-publishing your book. I know it's exactly what I need at this time so I can make sure I take the right steps to publish my second book, (truly the guidance I've been looking for), but for now it's just a maybe, a possibility. I can't add another thing to the calendar at the moment.
So, in a nutshell, this is my biggest struggle as a new adoptive mother. Managing a schedule with a new one added. Prioritizing and remembering what message my choice of activities sends to my children. Letting go of the high expectations I set for myself. Accepting that 100% participation is not required. I even had to ask for help with Bible study one night because I felt ill and overwhelmed.
I haven't gotten it all figured out--what I should say yes to and what it's okay to say no to. It's a daily, weekly struggle. When is it time to step back in order to rest and regroup and when is it time to seize the opportunity in front of me before it slips away? (Had I given in to feeling overwhelmed a few weeks ago, I never would have gotten the chance to meet Jennifer Rothschild and Stormie Omartian, to catch up with old friends at a book signing in Indiana, to see my grandparents again after probably seven years, to meet my niece and nephew on Mike's side of the family and hang out with my sweet sisters-in-law.)
There you have it, from my heart. I like to share all the fun and positive stuff on here, but if you are a reader because we share the adoption journey together, then here's one of those honest posts that lets you know some of the struggles in the journey, too.
(Sigh... I told David I just wanted to finish up this blog entry quickly before I went in to read with him tonight since I've been attempting to write it for a week now. I clicked save and just now found him sound asleep. Let. the. guilt. go...)
- I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother. Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing. Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.