Before Jake died I was really involved in a lot of different things. I was the Primary President (church leadership for the children’s Sunday School), I was the PTA VP, I volunteered at the school to read with the first graders every week, I was the room mom for my son’s class, I was teaching a boys tumbling class, coaching a boys soccer team (I don’t know how and have never played soccer?!?), taking a painting class, in a clogging class and tap class, not to mention having 3 young boys and a husband to love and take care of.
I loved my life, and I was very happy. The last year before he died is when I started taking on too many things. I found myself never saying No to anyone…except my family. I thought I needed to do everything and be everyone for anyone that asked. I was very young and trying to do my best to be the kind of Mom, wife, church leader, and volunteer I thought I should be. I was stressed out all the time with scheduling all my different commitments. I found myself dreading things that I had originally really wanted to do. It was hard to enjoy the fun times because I was worried about the next thing was I needed to do.
The week before Jake died I was more stressed out than I had ever been. I had an issue with one of the church leaders I worked with that was very hurtful. I was regretting everything I had over committed myself too. (I’ve mentioned this phone call in my original post found here
) I called my mom on Thursday Jan. 22, 2004 and told her all of my problems. She listened and offered advice about different things I was struggling with. At the end of the conversation she said, “I hope your weekend gets better.” My response, “I don’t know how it could get worse!” -The thought of those words leaving my lips still makes me shutter…I had no idea what was coming for me!
About 7 hours after that phone call I got a knock at the door. Four people that wanted to come inside, they needed to tell me that Jake had been killed at work…and things were about to get a lot worse!
After Jake died, I realized how trivial all the things I had been stressed about were. None…and I mean NONE of those things mattered. What mattered were my kids, Jake, my family, and my faith. That’s it! That is the only thing that truly matters in this life! Yes, there are things we have to do. There are commitments that need to be made and people to serve. There are things to learn and see in this life, for sure. But, none of it is more important that the people we love!
How often do we dread the holiday’s coming, because of the commitments we have made?
How often do we snap at our children because we are trying to make their class party games just perfect?
How often do we ignore our spouse’s because we are busy planning something for someone else’s family?
Do you say no to your family more often than you say no to the people asking for your time?
After Jake died I got out of everything I was involved in. I needed to grieve and I needed to move, but I learned a lesson that I try to keep with me, and sometimes need to remind myself of. We all need to serve, help, and volunteer. We don’t however need to do everything! We can say no. Set your limits of what you can handle and still be a good mom and wife. Serving in my Church is important to me so that is something that I have continued to do throughout the last 10 years. I am careful to make sure that any extras I take on add a positive element in my life. (Including doing this blog and speaking.)
Don’t spend energy on dreading the next thing…because most likely you are missing out on all the good things. Your kid’s won’t remember that there wasn’t an Elf on the shelf, one less game at the class party, or any other insignificant thing you don’t do. Every one of us is unique in our role as a Mother. You may be looking at your neighbor wishing you were more like her, a better cook, able to handle it “all” with grace, or throw a birthday party like her. She is probably looking at you thinking similar things, focusing on her weakness’ and your strengths. Learn to accept yourself for who you are and what you are capable of…and KNOW that it is good enough!
I have found in life, that trials will come our way…people will die, they will get diagnosed with autism, they will have OCD breakdowns that are debilitating and heartbreaking, they will be born with genetic issues that will plague them for life, or any number of things that we can’t control. These are the things that will bring us stress, sadness and heartache. Don’t let the good things be the hard things.
Even when these hard trials in life come, there is a way to find happiness and joy. (My thoughts on this is found here.
If you are not loving your life…If you are stressed all the time with small things…If you dread the next thing coming…If you are thinking, “I don’t know how it could get worse” then I urge you to step back and take a look at what you can eliminate.
What can you simplify so that you can start loving your life again?
It’s time to take your life back, and start enjoying it again! Life is short…too short sometimes. Enjoy what you have, while you have it…because you never know when you might lose it and it’s going to get “worse”. Don’t let life pass you by…enjoy living your life!
*This post is not at all meant to be judgmental or have anything to do with the typical “mommy wars”! I don’t intend to minimize anyone’s trials or struggles. This post is meant for each person individually. We are all different and have different levels of stress that we can handle. Some people love the “Elf on the Shelf”..and some hate it…there isn’t one right way to be a mom. I just know that if it brings you joy and you love doing it…then DO IT!!! But, if it brings you stress, and makes you grumpy…then DON’T (and don’t give yourself guilt over not doing it). I make no judgment on anybody’s choices. This was a lesson that was important for me to learn, and may help someone else out there.
Questions to Ponder:
How can this perspective help you better manage your time to focus on the most important things and people in your life while still keeping an outward focus on serving others?