Monday, July 24, 2006

One-ring circus kind of gal


What a couple of weeks! On the calendar it looked fine – a whole week between vacation and the wedding (and I’m not even the mother of the bride!).

The flurry of activity this month has really brought into focus my lack of ability to multitask.

I’m serious!

I see ladies who manage to serve as PTA president, head up the preschool department at church, AND chair the Labor Day picnic for their homeowners’ association. I am so impressed. I wonder how they do it.

Oh, I’ve done my share of leading things over the years, but probably less than you might think.


I have always considered myself a one-ring circus kind of gal.

My main ring is taking care of my husband and family.

Just keeping the Sanitation Department at bay, and keeping up with the laundry around here is a full-time job. The rest of my day is spent making sure everyone’s fed (and not just eating cereal) and no one’s (seriously) injured.

I look up – the day’s gone.

Adding extra rings to my circus usually means the spotlight is moved off center ring for a while. Things like vacation, VBS, school or community volunteer programs – and even joyous occasions like weddings – all good things – make me temporarily loosen my grip on the “home” ring.

And for short periods this works.

The kitchen floor can withstand an incredible number of spills before crying out to be mopped (might need to take a spatula to those encrusted Cheerios under the high chair, though!). The laundry doesn’t seem to mind being stacked up behind the hamper door. I’m happy to report that the kids are improving at entertaining themselves for quite long periods without injuring each other.

But we all feel so much better when there’s at least one of us around here who’s thinking homeward.

Sometimes I wish there were other, less humble ways to show it, but there is a certain sense of security that comes from opening the drawer and finding clean laundry there. Coming in the door to find someone there, waiting just for you. And coming in the kitchen to smell dinner well underway.

These activities, while individually are not that spectacular, are the building blocks of the memory of home that my kids will take with them when they leave here to create a circus of their own.

That thought makes me very careful about adding any commitment to my life that pulls me away from my main focus. It has vetoed certain job opportunities for my husband. With as many kids as we have, this is no small task. My phone rings constantly, and my inbox is full.

I would even go so far as to say this is a battle.

But it is worth the fight to keep the walls of the home ring secure.

For us, it’s not any one thing that turns a well-directed circus into a free-for-all. And it’s never anything particularly evil. It’s an appointment here, a meeting there, a game tomorrow night, company coming over again. It’s the constant barrage of activity that pulls our focus away from each other and toward someone or something else.

But my focus is heading back to center ring this week. My main attractions need me to put the spotlight back on them. This is going to feel great!

And just in time, too.

School starts in just over two weeks!

She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31.27


Wendy said...

I love how you said "these activities, while individually are not spectacular, are the building blocks of the memory of home that my kids will take with them..." I have thought about that so much with my kids. So much of what goes on here seems boring to many people or has been viewed by some as not fulfilling, but really it is THE most important job! I am so thankful to be at home and not miss the little things that happen here. The things that make us a family and our house a museum of memories. Great post!

Susanne said...

Motherhood is the most important job there is! And the words "a constant barrage of activity" really jumped out at me! It's so easy to get caught up in "good" activities. But like you I find things start to fall apart at home. I've also found that others can get quite offended when you start to say no to things, but it is just a battle to break down the family. This was a great post and the more I "coffee" with you, Katherine the more I like your spirit and heart.

Tammy M. said...

I relate to this post!
I just wanted to thank you for your Works for you Wednesday, post last week, on the Passport to Purity. We have a 9 year old son who is ready to get the lowdown, but we just couldn't work through how we were going to go through it with him. My friend Denise who reads your blog emailed me your post. My husband and I read it and we ordered it the same day. I am sure this special weekend away will bless my son and my husband. Thanks for your insight.

AJ said...

I agree with you! Have you read The Homecourt Advantage by Kevin Leman? It's a wonderful book about the importance of home.

Code Yellow Mom said...

Wonderful post!! And the best priorities...You say it so well.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Great post, Katherine. I'm a one-ring circus gal, too! It's so important to guard our energies and commitments so we can give our best to that most important of priorities: our family.

Unknown said...

Oooh, I probably eat too much bread (of idleness) and I know that I am prone to get busy, too. But I really do try to prayerfully evaluate commitments, and keep "extra" stuff scheduled in the week to a minimum. I've learned the hard way. So, thanks for the reminder, and the great way you said it.

Jen said...

I was thinking the same thing yesterday...I sat down to go over our monthly budget for August. Madison has soccer practice on Monday nights, gymnastics on tuesday nights, church on wednesday nights, cheerleading & game to cheer at on thusrday nights and we go to the football games on friday nights...and she will be participating in yet another play at a local theater so rehersals are on saturday mornings. This is just one child. So 5 kids has got to be chaos...its all in how you handle it. Kick back and get the engine running with gas at $3 a gallon and smile....they will all be grown and gone before you know it.

Lana said...

well said, the mundane is overwhelming sometimes but when I stop to think of the love and security it gives my family it's a little easier. Thanks for putting it so nicly into words I can relate to!

Stephanie said...

What a great reminder and I like the hoop analogy. We had a WEEKEND around here and had big, late night commitments Friday and Saturday and it reminded me why I aim to reign in our weekend activities to one thing and keep us on our regular schedule for the most part. A 2 1/2 year old up until 11:30 two nights in a row with no naps about pushed ME over the edge. :)

Laura said...

Hi! I so so agree with your post. Family first even when that means saying NO. Why is it so hard for woman to say no? I often get looks like I'm the horrible mom who doesn't have her kids signed up for a gazzillion activities during the school year. Each child gets to pick one activity and thats it. We have a lot of downtime and I personally don't see anything wrong with that. You really summed it all up so beautifully!

Jeane` said...

Your blog is like breathing in clean, fresh, familiar friends and I are BREATHING DEEPLY, these posts you 'penned' several years ago! Take heart, your words are giving life and lightness of heart to those of us still in the trenches of the very young and very many.