I was a little worried about parenting by myself this week.
Our family is busy, boisterous, and, quite frankly, a tag-team effort on a good day. So how on earth could I manage all by myself? Confession time: Usually when Shauna is away, even for a night, I eventually lose it. The stress causes cracks of frustration and anxiety in my emotional armor, and very often overwhelms me. At some point or other I blow my top, vent some steam, act like a two year old, repent, apologize, and slink around guilty for a day or so. Usually more than once.
This time is different, at least so far.
It’s been four days (longer than I’ve ever done this before), and I’ve actually gotten calmer as the time has gone by. I’ve surprised myself, in fact. And now, stepping back for a moment at the end of another peaceful day (which included me taking the kids to church by myself, preaching, and taking care of a teenager with the flu) I’m noticing a few things that stand out this time around. The things that have made the difference.
1. I’m depending on God more. Like, inviting him to fill us all, looking to him for wisdom and everything else. It’s not just lip service; my heart is truly leaning on him.
2. I’ve lowered my self expectations. I can’t do it all, so why try? I’m not two people, so why pretend I am? I’m a “single dad” this week, and that changes things in a big way. So be it.
Trouble is, we’re going to run out of socks and underwear before my honey gets back which means I’m going to have to figure out the washer and dryer. Don’t laugh, they’re digital, freaky things that chime out melodies and ping and beep and will probably snicker LCD mockeries at me on the display if I get it wrong. Maybe I’ll just go out and buy more. 😉
3. I can’t believe I’m writing this because it’s so obvious, but my time management motto has usually been to budget enough time to accomplish each task. But most of my home and schedule stress comes from budgeting JUST BARELY enough time, so that I have to hurry to stay on task when I get close to the end of an allotted amount.
I once heard a preacher mention that Jesus was never in a hurry. In that spirit, what I’ve done this week is budget too much time for everything, so absolutely nothing has to be rushed. Leave early, arrive early. Start sooner, finish sooner. Relish the time left over. What this has done is enabled me to live in each moment instead of worrying about whether or not I’ll be able to keep up.
Whether I’m in the zone or not, though, I want my Lovely back. Sigh…
You ‘an me, Jesus.