What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday Madness

A morning begins. A school morning. Even though I haven't PLANNED for it, even though the school shelves that got so nice and tidy had become destroyed by summer reading, summer painting, summer creating, and summer neglect.

Still, we start cheery. I know in my head this week is going to be easy and slow on everyone, meant especially to remind minds of what was once learned after a summer of intense play. And meant to give a Mama some time to fully prepare.

But soon, baby cries for feeding. Toddler cries because she can't sit on baby and give Smooch smooches. Boychild sings at the top of his lungs the ABC song and then interrupts himself every five seconds to ask me what an R looks like and "Is this a V?" holding up a Z puzzle piece? Right while I am trying to explain something to the girl beside me, from the math workbook she was SUPPOSED to do during the summer months. Then the girlchild begins to wail "I don't remember how to do this! I don't KNOW ANYTHING"

And my eyes begin to glaze.

The school shelves shout at me that they ought to be perfect this very moment and WHY aren't you prepared?!? The laundry whirling in the bathroom screams of work that will be coming shortly, "so be prepared for us" the thumb their noses my way. A new cabinet sits empty, mocking me until it gets filled.

And oh yes~Judah gets baptized on Sunday and has nothing to wear and I have no time to sew him anything! And a baby at church needs a welcome gift made, by Sunday. And thank you cards need to be written and birth announcements need to be made for the few that would appreciate one. And pears and grapes are going to be needing to be canned soon! And I haven't gone to the garden in a few days-there is likely another large batch of tomatoes to be dealt with. And I haven't forgotten about the jalapenos that are actually getting wrinkled waiting for me to deal with THEM. And I haven't paid the bills yet this month, have I? And Judah needs to be put on Matt's insurance.

Matt is gone for work, day one. I want so badly to have it altogether when he gets back. I want him to have a nice meal waiting, since he wanted to go back to work about as much as I wanted him to. I want to have the cupboard he built for me filled by the time he gets home, so he sees how much I appreciate his work.

But I don't have it together at all. Not one little bit.

My teeth bite back the tears inside of me. My hands clench, holding my emotions as best as they can. For several moments, I can only sit and wonder at the awfulness of this moment.

Instead of crying, wailing with the rest of them, I give Corynn the easiest pages in math to do. I tell her I am here for TEACHING and how it is okay not to know something because "hey! that is what LEARNING is, after all." I say it in a voice, almost whispered and too controlled, but not harsh or impatient or frustrated like it could sound.

We bring out the paints. Adele' eats the paint and paints her dress with them, but hey. They are non-toxic and washable. I get a potroast with potatoes and carrots in the crockpot, with extra onion, just like Matt likes.

And I begin organizing. I can't organize the school shelves because the table is full of painters so I instead organize the pantry. I sweep the shelves, sort the food, and my teeth begin to unclench. Organizing SOMETHING always helps.

I feed the baby. My dear one, who I would love to sit and rock all the live long day~kissing temples and puckers and soft, furry ears. And I mourn that I am pulled in so many directions, away from his little body. I mourn that there is laundry to do, and school to teach, and produce to can, and eggs to gather and supper to make.

I mourn for my baby, who has already lost the baggy back-of-the-head-wrinkles that he had just a week ago without me noticing.

I spent nine months anticipating his birth, waiting impatiently for him to grow strong enough to come and ever since....I beg him to stop growing. Stay little, my darling! Don't let me forget how you lean into me and tuck your head into my neck.

Eventually naptime comes. Quiet. And baby and I get some moments. Moments to stare adoringly. Moments, just our own. Being behind a camera always helps calm my nerves.

After rest, children run in sunshine and Mama stays inside and fills a husband-made cupboard with jewel tones. It is lovely.

The school shelves never did get organized, my curriculum never did get hashed out. But a cupboard got filled for a husband, a pantry got cleaned for a family, two loads of laundry were done for bodies, a baby and Mama had alone time, a toddler got extra snuggles, and two children were taught a very good lesson on patience and self-control. A Mama, too.

Even though for some reason, some of the carrots and potatoes were still hard by suppertime, the rolls were just a TADBIT burned; and even though the school shelves and school planning were moved to TODAY'S agenda; and even though I wondered how I would survive the day that morning~ I did survive and not just that: I got the most important thing accomplished.

On the first day of school, it was I who was taught. My homework was self-control. I learned that more than any other thing on my suffocating to-do list, prioritizing your FAMILY is most important. Loving on them, doing things FOR them, and reacting in a godly way TO them is the most important thing to check off on your list.

Show your family you love them.


Anonymous said...

(hopefully this is not posting twice)

Amen! Well said :)

Michelle G said...

Oh my...my heart goes out to you!
Thank you for reminding me about the IMPORTANT check list :)
My hubby says I'm the hardest on myself and I know it's true (sometimes) and I know I try to wear too many hats (sometimes) but......well what's the end of that sentence? :}
I have cried with the insurance company on the phone today (poor guy) because they cancelled my car insurance because I had an accident - not that I've been 100% accident free for well forever - I've NEVER been in an accident or gotten a speeding ticket for that matter and I'm now 40!!
I have cried because the phone wouldn't stop ringing :)
I have cried because it feels like I'm getting a fever (thank you mastitis...probably due to the fact that I'm not home to nurse and jeeze do I ever want to be!)
oh well - now I'm crying again. sorry to vent.
I just really understand how you feel....and I really appreciate the honesty - some days it's a comfort to know that I'm not the only one in the world who has "these days" ;)
Michelle @

Leah said...

I think that last sentence is about all you need to do at this point.
I usually give my self a good month to six weeks to get any kind of REAL schedule going with a newborn. I mean you try and you set your goals, but in the end you have to give yourself a little grace. You shouldn't feel pressure to be up to "normal speed" on anything. (Hey, I have to tell the same thing to myself nowadays, my being so sick and all).
Oh how good a roast sounds! I wish I could eat normal food! (My kids are getting anxious for the time to come when I make THEM some normal food again too.)

Bonnie said...

I, am in your boat. So exactly in your boat. And I am glad because it gets a bit lonely in my boat sometimes, and its good to know someone else is in my sea.

Kimberly said...

You've done all you need to do. And more.

Tracy said...

Rebecca, be encouraged. I have no newborn babe, and I too was behind getting ready for school. ( I still am!) Why can't school wait until October when canning will surely be done, I wonder. And so, day by day we do a little. And day by day I learn along with them, just as you are.

A few suggestions: keep doing easy math until you get on a good schedule. Have Corynn read to Andrew and Adele. She can play school and teach Andrew his letters and numbers. It will reinforce just how much she knows, and free up some time for you! Gardening is science, as is animal husbandry. I think you're doing very well. Much better than you might think.

Easy meals would be good for these days- your fresh eggs, with some lovely biscuits? Breakfast for supper is always nice! A few sliced tomatoes, perhaps, and it's a meal. ( I know crockpots are supposed to be easy too, just know that it's okay to relax a bit. )

I'm praying that your week goes smoothly. And I'm glad you took precious time to stare at your babe. He won't stay this way long!

Anonymous said...

Dear Rebecca, I will throw in my two cents worth...remember I said two cents! I have been a mama for over twenty five years and I am the mother of a two year old as well! (with many in between) I know without a doubt that trying to be all to everyone only leads to distress later on. Please slow yourself down. Get rest when baby rests...sleep! We homeschool to be able to set ourselves apart from the world. That is true in studies as well as in family life. Live family life right now! Don't worry about schooling "studies" School needs to consist of family arts. Caring for a newborn, cooking and cleaning for each other etc... Pushing yourself to do it "all" will put you into the place I was in when I wrote to you many years ago with the sorrow that you tried to help me with. We have a misunderstanding that we are to be it all for our families, we can't be and never will be. Am I saying that I don't want you to nuture your children, no, absolutely not! Nuture is what I want you to do most, and in turn I want them to nuture you as well! I love homebirth because when you have a midwife at home she is so nuturing and she requires two weeks of total nuture for moms and new babes. So very important! Hugs to you dear One and lots of Nuturing prayers being said for you. Much love, Mumofeight

Marlene Bibby said...

Sounds like a victorious day. And remember, even though you don't have as much time to love on Judah, he has 3 siblings that love on him too. He wins all the way around!

Leah T. said...

Your blog post today was perfect. I felt just like this just a few weeks ago when we started school. We still aren't getting everything done that I'd like to but... And how I'd love to snuggle with Hannah for hours on end. I get teary-eyed just thinking about how quickly the last 2 months have flown by!

The pictures of Judah are wonderful! He is such a handsome boy. :) I need to take some bare skin pictures of Hannah, too. I really wish we still lived close so I could hire you to take some pictures of her for me.

I can't wait to see the cupboard Matt built for you! I'm sure its lovely!

I still have thank you notes to write, too. And a gift needs to be made as well. Can you guess who for?! ;)

Nanci said...

Precious Rebecca,

I will share with you a well-hidden secret: There are NO supermoms, though the world (even the Christian world sometimes) tries to convince us that there is.

I always start on an abbreviated schedule for the first couple weeks of school. Addiing subjects as we go along. Then we go strong until about December, when I slow the pace again a little for the holidays. I didn't do this when I first startedhomeschooling. I started with a vengence, every subject -- every day. And it only led me to frustration, thoughts of failure, and despair. Now I do much better , because I realize that it is okay to ease the kids (as well as myself) back into the school routine. And it's okay to have days when we don't get accomplished as much as I'd like.

You have done very well. Cut yourself some slack.

A verse that often comes to my mind during the school year is "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil (difficulties) thereof." Yes, I know that is speaking of food and clothing (the necessities of life), but I think the application can, also, include a homeschooling mom who is struggling with the "evil" (difficulties) of getting everything accomplished for her home and school.

Tracy has given you excellent advice. Follow it. And as always, I continue to pray for you (especially now keeping in mind the new challenges you mentioned.)

Love and hugs,


PS it is important for you to get enough rest. Without the proper rest and downtime, you will simply burn yourself out.

Morgan said...

You are a wonderful woman and mother! I love coming here, you are so real. Congratulations on this new little bundle of joy. I wish we lived closer together to maybe give you a helping hand ;)

Shanzanne said...

And I was feeling overwhelmed?! Thank you for sharing this... it was Godsent to me today.

Anonymous said...

Oh, sweet relief. For awhile I was really starting to think you were superhuman. You are human. And that's a compliment. :)

That said, you are such an inspiration and an encouragement. I don't know if I will ever have that much self-control. Please don't be too hard on yourself. Many women I know have relatives stay with them for weeks after baby and hardly leave the bed or couch. You are schooling, canning, cleaning. All on you own. Bravo to you!

Louise said...

Oh Rebecca, you are doing SO well! My baby is nearly 3 months old now and my four eldest children go to school leaving me with just the little two at home and still I cannot get a thing done!! I consider it a very successful day if the laundry has been washed and dried, dinner has been made and I've managed to spend a little time with my children! Anything else is a bonus. I think you are doing amazingly well.
Love Louise