What CAN I do?
This is something I’ve pondered for a while and wanted to share. The idea that in the throws of raising young children it is easy to see the list of things you aren’t able to do. Things like…
I have a newborn – I can’t fit my clothes or find a way to make dinner or take a shower or do laundry.
I have two wild toddlers – I can’t make it to the mall to pick something up or sit through a church service without meltdowns or survive the grocery store for even 6 items.
I can’t entertain dinner guests because my children act like farm animals at dinner some nights.
I can’t help my friend who has new baby because ‘helping’ involves me toting my four kids along which is entirely NOT helpful at all.
I can’t host a BBQ this weekend because my backyard looks like a goodwill store.
I can’t ask my mother-in-law to help me with laundry because I want her to think I’m perfectly capable of folding her son’s laundry.
I can’t run a zillion errands for my friend who is really sick this week.
I can’t get my hair to look decent or get the look I want with make up or find the right outfit to make my post-four-children-body to look ‘just right’.
I can’t find a way to get my house clean in it’s entirely all at one time.
While there are genuine things I truly ‘can’t’ do…I’m starting to realize there is a whole myriad of other things that I CAN do. Looking for the can-do things has radically changed my perspective and the way I operate as a mother.
I may not be able to fit clothes or make dinner after a new baby arrives but I can head to the thrift store and find a couple things that will work so I don’t have to wear my pajamas for the next three eight months after delivering a baby. I can get a Costco bag of chicken strips and meatballs and pre-cut veggies and make some super simple/easy meals for a few weeks months.
I may not make it to the mall to find the right gift for a friend or refill my make-up but I can plan ahead and find it online for less money (often) and free shipping (usually). I can resolve to plan well and shop for the whole week’s groceries on the weekend or late at night when I can go without kids.
I can extend grace to myself when my children are the ones throwing a fit in the third row of the church service and when it’s my son who laughs when someone farts in the row behind us and when my daughter takes all her clothes off and runs away from me.
I can have dinner guests and politely give a disclaimer that my children are, well, children and they might be loud. And I can rally my kids for a ten minute clear-the-grass-off pick-up in the yard so we can have room to have a BBQ.
I can ditch my pride and ask for help folding the ten loads of laundry piled in my family room.
I can always add a little more food to my dinner and bring a meal to a sick friend or one with a new baby or one who is hurting. This one is the way that I very often find I can be a blessing to others and it truly delights me as much as whoever I am cooking it for.
I can choose to be glad that though my whole house can’t get clean the same day…getting a couple rooms in order will suffice until, maybe until my children are grown?
I can know that any hair/skin/makeup/clothing issues I may struggle with completely pale in comparison to the life I get to live every day. It may be mundane or chaotic or exhausting or overwhelming or a far cry from ‘ideal’ in someone else’s book. But it is mine. And I’m the only one who gets to live it out. For better or worse.
Embracing that last truth and really the whole general perspective that choosing to see what I CAN do instead of what I can’t is in the process of changing my life. For good.