I had my little guy out in the yard the other day.
While he played with the dog I raked our yard. The more I watched him play the more stressed I felt.
I have a faith. I have a home. I have a job. I have two kids. A marriage. A husband. Personal needs. Friends and other relationships. Hobbies. Things that bring me joy. Demands on my time. Responsibilities. Priorities. Stress.
That's how my mind works.
When we went outside it was to play. I immediately grabbed a rake and began working while expecting my child to play. He wanted to play. I saw a job that had to be done.
I was torn.
I want to be with my kids. I want a picture perfect home. I want to sing and play my piano, write stuff. Paint. Bake. Spend time with my husband. Date. I want to hang out with friends. Spend time with my family. I want to be successful at my job. I want to grow closer to God. I want to serve his people. I want to care for my kids. I want to create memories. I want them to be smart and healthy. I want them to learn at every possible opportunity. I want a foot rub. I want to watch tv. I want to read that book I got for Christmas. I want to make cookies and take them to people. I want to have the best meals for my family every night.
Demands on my time. Responsibilities. Priorities.
I raked that yard. I was working it like Jillian Michaels was standing there yelling at me. My son played. I got mad. I wanted so desperately to play with him but I felt so obligated to clean that yard.
"What would the neighbours think if it was left?"
Then I had to stop myself. Who cares what the neighbours think. If they don't like my yard then they can come and help me clean it. The conviction hit me when I thought, "What memories will James have of me?"
I don't know how to be a mom. I don't know how to be a wife. I don't know how to fill a bunch of roles and be good at them.
Maybe I am too honest. Reality is I suck at living my life. I want things to look so fantastic and to actually be fantastic that I put the pressure on myself and I can't rise to the challenge.
I want Home and Garden magazine doing a photo shoot of my home, while I'm selling paintings and writing number one hits. I want my children to be super intelligent while being physical specimens. I want Sport's Illustrated calling because they want me in a photo spread. I want my husband to rave about how awesome I am. I want my parent's to come over every Friday night for turkey dinner. I want Martha Stewart calling me for crafty ideas. I want my friends to be around me all the time because I am so much fun. I want Beth Moore to call and ask me to start touring with her.
But I can't do it all.
It's funny. Most people probably rake the lawn and think about raking the lawn. I rake the lawn and try to plan my entire life. I try to solve my problems. I try to plan out my weeks. I try to think of creative ways to parent. I pray. I try to come up with party ideas and new things to cook for dinner. I try to budget. I dream.
In all my trying all I do is stress myself.
So I'm raking. My kids running around, playing with the dog, eating "dirt". I'm feeling guilt while "feeling the burn". I'm planning, I'm really stressing myself and this thought wave comes over me.
I have a faith. I have a belief in God. That's an extra pressure as a parent. Not only on top of my own needs/wants/desires, my husbands needs/wants/desires, I as a mother have to think of my kids. So on top of keeping my children alive, healthy, teaching them, encouraging them to grow up and contribute to society, I have extra stress. I now, because of my own faith have to impliment that in their lives.
My faith suddenly became a burden.
Now, out in my yard, raking dead grass, it felt like a demand. I have to pass this on to my kid.
As this thought process is jumbling my brain and causing me more anxiety than I live with normally, my 3 year old decides he has had enough with the dog. Outside stinks and it's time to go in and eat.
To make a really long story a shorter one, I took my kid in and got him lunch. At this point I'm stressed about life in general. I'm stressing about every area of my life and even stressing things that aren't my reality right now, like my daughters prom dress or something stupid like that.
Now it's time to feed my picky little eater lunch. YAY!
I get it ready. I set in front of him and the battle begins. I just want the kid to eat a vegetable. That's all I want right now. In my battle to get my son to take one bite of a freaking carrot something is revealed to me.
It goes like this...
"James, will you please take one bite of your carrot. That's all I ask. One bite."
James, about 45 minutes into the battle and 7 hilarious remarks later, closes his eyes and says this.
"Dear God, What am I going to do? I need help. Tell me what to do. Amen"
At this point I'm hysterically laughing on the inside and being very stern on the outside.
He slowly opens his eyes and looks at me, and says this.
"God says James mommy is mean."
Two things came out of this. One my kid is 3 and doesn't understand health. He doesn't get the concept of eating healthy, being healthy. That's not his reality. He thinks I am asking him to try this new and "yucky" food because I am trying to be mean. Whatever we will get over that.
The thing that stood out to me was this. He gets it. James gets it. He sees me living out my faith and he's picking it up. He knows to turn to God. Even over something like eating a carrot.
Exampling my faith to my kids doesn't have to involve bible stories and scripture memorization. Me exampling my faith to my kids is making God real and accessible to them. Showing them love and reaching out to care for others. It's teaching them compassion and grace. It's helping them understand forgiveness.
I guess Im doing that.
So one worry off my list.
I have been a mom for 3 years now. I still don't know how to balance life. I'm not one of those super moms who knows everything and has never made a mistake with their babies. I mess up daily.
My 3 year old showed me something pretty amazing. I'm doing a good job as a mom. I don't have to be perfect. He actually doesn't want me to be perfect. He wants me to be his mom.
So what will James memories of me be?
I hope they will be memories of a mom who loved, who had fun and who always had time for her kids.
This is my new challenge.