Honestly, this could apply to any number of things in my life-- it would probably eliminate a big source of stress if I could accept the fact that my 2 year old doesn't respond to any form of discipline whatsoever-- but right now, at this point in time, I'm having a really difficult time accepting that I simply can't do everything that I set out to do on a daily basis. I am stretched too thin, and what I need to tell myself (and believe) is that it's OK.
Every day for the last 8 months or so, I have told myself right before I go to bed, that I am going to wake up at 5:45 and get some writing done/ enjoy some time to myself. Then, at 7:30 am, right after breakfast, I am going to squeeze in a half hour walk with the kids before heading out the door to drop Niall off at pre-school. Then, at nap time, I am going to do all of the laundry and clean the house. The list goes on and on, but the "checks" never seem to get ticked off that list.
Why am I so surprised that I hit the snooze for an hour every morning, become consumed with random issues that come up after breakfast, and then find myself returning emails and sorting through the junk pile at nap time? Every day this happens and every day, I am so confused and saddened that I can't seem to squeeze a 25th hour into the day.
I think that giving ourselves a break, as parents of young children, is probably one of the most important and most difficult things we can do for ourselves. And yet whenever I do, I feel guilty about it.
I can barely stomach the number of missed photo ops with my kids in the last year, I've lost my patience so much more than I should have (or even did a year ago), pretended I was listening to Niall's stories when I was really zoning out thinking about all of the other things I needed to be doing...
But every once in a while, I get so tired that all I can do is plop down on the couch and completely give up on the never-ending lists... and that's when I get to soak up the best moments; the unexpected ones. That's when the boys climb up on me and we all start making funny faces or have a pillow fight or read ALL of the pages of a book (not my abridged version). These are the precious memories that I know are slipping away and will soon be gone forever. These are the moments when I have to force myself to abandon the daily grind in order to live for something better.
And so, I've decided that I will. And I will stop beating myself up about it. I know that I will always feel a little guilty for not getting other things done, but I also know that it's ok for things to be just "good enough" for now. One day, I will have my order again; my schedules; my attainable goals. But right now, I only have one more year until Niall is in real school-- as in all day long; as in he will be away from me for more time than he will be with me in a given day.
I can literally hear "Cats in the Cradle" playing in my head every time I tell him that I don't have time to build a lego tower together or read him 2 stories instead of just 1 or watch his cool new dance move because I'm in the middle of making dinner. I want to look back on these few fleeting years I have with my kiddos and remember myself putting down the grocery bags to stop and marvel at a worm the boys found in the mud, ditching my phone to go paint with them instead of "supervising" from a distance, and completely tearing apart the sectional couch to build the best fort ever-- regardless of how annoying it is to put it all back together. (And no matter how much Niall insists he can help me with that, I am way too psycho to accept zipper side out and upside down cushions).
So I will strive to be less "perfect", less structured, less of everything that I have always tried to be... in order to be a different kind of perfect. Perfect for this phase in my life, this phase in their life. Perfect for what I want my memories of my young family to be. Perfect for being completely imperfect. And that's OK... for now :)