Tuesday, April 01, 2008

How DO I Do It?

I was asked that twice today. Well, actually, they asked how DO you do it...referring to me. I don't usually give it much thought, because frankly, a lot of days I just feel like a slug. I know I'm busy and all, but some days I just don't feel busy. And other days I want to pull the covers back over my head to avoid the busy. So here's how I juggle full time school for me and homeschooling two and a half kids: I've made friends with imperfection.

See, as a kid, I always had this feeling I could be perfect. I could do everything that was expected of me, some nice stuff for others and keep myself out of trouble. No matter what I did, I expected that I would be the best at it. Not being the best at absolutely everything was simply crushing to me. Yep. I put the fun in dysfunctional. Then I got married and unleashed my perfection on raising a family. And of course, being the second wife, I had to prove I really was the best wife. Too bad no one ever told me that life is a marathon and not a sprint. Over the years, I have found myself sprinted to exhaustion on more than one occasion. Lucky for me, I'm not dumb and I do have a lazy side, so I have learned to ease up some. Some. Mostly in the area of laundry and cleaning. Anyone who sees my house on a regular basis would never guess at the perfectionism that lies beneath this calm exterior. I have learned to step over the laundry piles and let the dishes sit in the sink out of sheer need. See, I figure that educating myself and my children, well, that's probably more important than folded laundry, and being calm and loving towards my kids is probably more important than my need for a clean living room with no PILES of stuff.

I'm not that fru fru high energy mom who hovers over her kids and fills their days with stimulating activity. I'm not that mom who does "school at home". I'm not that mom who volunteers for everything. I do what I do because of some simple time structure during my days, a little planning at night and a whole lot of breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. I try and handle certain tasks only on certain days and I don't beat myself up if I don't get around to them. I try and keep to a loose schedule to keep our studies on track, but I don't beat myself up (much) if we don't get as far as I'd like. I try to read my scriptures before I fall asleep at night. I try and do my studying the night before I have class and a few hours on the weekends. I try and have the kids help keep the living room from looking horrible and I try to keep the kitchen from utter chaos. I let the rest of it go. I get to it when I can. My neighbors hate me because I have the worst yard on the block. Oh well. I serve in my church calling and I try and find things to show my kids how to serve others. I guess if it bothered them that much they'd offer to cut my grass.

There are lots and lots and lots of things that I can do better. Being forced to embrace my own imperfections is a daily reminder of why I need to depend on my Savior. It's comforting to finally know that my imperfections are built in and it is not within my ability to perfect them through any amount of will power.

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