Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On being okay with less than perfect

To say that school this week got off to a running start is an understatement.

I'm simply going to have to rethink my life.

This year I have four children in three schools. They are all loving their teachers, and had a great start to the school year.

But...they have to be there at four different times, and need to be picked up at four different times.

Four kids in sports with all different practice and game times. Makes me just want to throw up the white flag:(Photo by Jan Jacobsen)

Once I have a network here in Small Town, things will be different, but for now, if you're wanting to get ahold of me, you'd better call me on my cell phone. I'm probably in a carpool line (or buying more obscure items on the school supply list)! Ack!

I'm incredibly behind on laundry and have tons to do before we have company this weekend. But (like all good procrastinators), I forgot all that in lieu of lunch Monday with my sister, Rachel Anne. We live about 80 miles apart now, and most of the summer got away from us. So we met halfway and ate way too much while we solved the world's problems at a fancy restaurant (Ruthie-4 enjoyed our "chick date" as much as I did!).

Yesterday was Allie's 15th birthday, which was spent at a volleyball game, a football meeting, and a soccer practice. All. at. the. same. time. We gave up on dinner together (we ate in shifts) but reconvened at 8 p.m. for cake and presents. Allie is learning that it doesn't have to be perfect in order to make a memory. Besides, she is only focused on one thing right now:

I know the next few years are going to be some of the busiest of my life, and potentially the most stressful. I'm sorting through piles of papers, weighing volunteer opportunities, figuring out how to best help my husband's business, coordinating a brimming calendar, and still trying to be a loving wife and mother.

Even if I am only minimally involved with each child's school and sport, I could easily spread myself too thin. (Or did I mean to say, even if I just haul my children to and from each one's school and sport, I could easily spread myself too thin??).

I need to be as organized as possible, but not be a slave to my calendar. I need to be purposeful without being inflexible. For example, we live fairly close to the schools so I didn't even think the kids might be eligible for bus service, nor did I like the idea. But they are, and I'm at the point that I need to consider all things.

Rather than be frustrated with what appears to be a chopped up schedule, I need to look at my snippets of time with my kids as opportunities. Some of the best conversations I've ever had with my children have been when I had one or two (okay, or three or four) the car.

And most of all, I need to remind myself I still have a preschooler at home who needs me. I need to slow down enough to enjoy her sweet company, and take her on "chick dates" even if that puts the laundry farther behind.

It really doesn't have to be perfect to make a memory.


Gwen Sirmans (Ivey's Mom) said...

Let me know when you find the answer to this one. My life is spread thin and I don't want that as my children's memories.

The Coleclan9 said...

Been encouraged by your blog as I too have five kids! Two of them the same age as yours. 15 yr old girl, 13 yr old boy and then the other 3 are 12-Girl, 10-boy, and 8 boy. I can just relate to so many of your issues at this time of life and it's fun just knowing that someone else similar struggles. Keep blogging. Love checking in on it.

Jen said...

You are right. It doesnt. I know you must be overwhelmed...I would be. I hope you get that laundry done...or shoved into a closet somewhere so you can enjoy your guests this weekend.....and Happy Birthday Allie.....soon maybe she can help with some car pooling.

Shannon said...

I just wanted to leave you a note and let you know how much I appreciate your blog. I have four little ones (the oldest is 6) and it's such a help to me from a mom with 'big kids' who is being transparent.
"It doesn't have to be perfect to make a memory" - what a wonderful reminder!

Les & Sweetie Berry said...

It is a season of change at our home too, Son1 and Daughter 1 now off in school or on their own, two left at schedules, games, sports, and homeschooling the last one...whew...God is God I know, just wish I'd listen alot more before I manage to destroy the peacefulness of home with my busyness! I'm sure listening now as He leads me in how to find it again!
Sweetie (Shan)

Debbie said...

I'm another mom with four kids - 17 yr old twins, 14 and 11. I know just what you mean. And yes, the driving, dating etc. is very stressful - but good at the same time.

Aimee said...

I have my two middle children that are in school take the bus home in the afternoons...Daddy takes them in the mornings and the bus brings the has been a time/sanity LIFESAVER and they really think its fun too.


I love your blog and want you to know that I've passed on an award to you!

Cassandra said...

Isn't it funny how fast the day flies by when you're planning your day around drop off time and pick up time....

Kelli said...

Ditto! As an aside, isn't it funny how you can feel so much empathy when you hear of someone else's struggles, even if you're going through the same sort of things (minus one child) yourself? I love how we are all truly connected (in one way or another)! And, I'm still loving your blog. :)

Andrea said...

You're the queen of "not perfect"!
Which I think is pretty perfect, IMO.
So, in Texas they can "drive" at 15?
in NY it's 18, in SC, it's 15. Big difference!!

Lori said...

Couldn't have said it better myself. Both of my dc head in different directions at different I feel your pain to some extent!!! I am glad you checked into the bus thing though.

Michelle @ Sew-Krafty said...

"It really doesn't have to be perfect to make a memory"--truer words were never spoken!!
Thanks for the reminder.