The List

Last week I read this post from one of my favorite bloggers, Jen Hatmaker and it made me think.  This bit that she wrote really hit home for me...

I took this in and wanted to believe it so badly and asked God to help me tamp down the vicious self-talk. Then something happened. I started jumping outside of my mind where all the crazy lives and watched me talk to my kids. I was so nice sometimes! I said very sweet and precious things! There were so many I love you’s and you are very smart and attentive mm-hmmm’s and sounds awesome and great job on that laced through all the days. I watched myself do the work of sweet parents, and it occurred to me I am my own worst critic, and sometimes I’m even a liar, convincing myself that nothing good is ever happening in this family, and it’s all my fault, or maybe Brandon’s fault, and the kids are horrid and we are a disaster.

This is a really insidious way to keep a Mama down.

Why do we latch on to our failures and ignore our successes? I would never overvalue and recount someone else's low moments to the neglect of their triumphs; why do I do that to myself? Why do any of us? Why do we observe other parents’ strengths with 20/20 vision while ours are all blurred? It is as easy for me to declare your goodness as it is to affirm my wretchedness; they are inversely proportional. I am savvy to each, conditioned to minimize your humanity and overemphasize mine.

Yesterday Jen posted a link to this blog post on her Facebook page.  I didn't read it right away because I was busy.  Busy emailing, filling out forms for this and that, prepping for meetings, attending meetings, cooking, dropping kids off, picking kids up, doing laundry...the list goes on.  I felt so overwhelmed all day long.  I wondered if I had over-committed myself.  I got grumpy because I felt like I had so much to do and none of it was getting done and why wasn't most of it already done anyway?  So I sat down and I made a list.  The list on paper wasn't as long as I felt like it was.  This list was actually conquerable.  So I started in.  First up I delivered dinner to a group of young adults in town (part of this organization) who are working on trails around Whittier.  It's nasty out, so I made a big pot of soup and a big batch of biscuits.  I texted Scott to tell him when it would be ready.  He didn't reply so I called.  He said he'd been crazy busy all day and hadn't seen my message and it hit me.  I'm not the only busy person!  Hello, Andrea!!  I had gotten so wrapped up in my own whining that I had pushed everyone else's concerns right off my plate.  He texted me in a bit and asked if I wanted to just bring the food down.  Want to?  Juggling three kids in the pouring down rain with a hot pot of soup?  Not really.  But then I thought about it.  Could I?  And if I could, would it make his day better?  A tiny bit easier?  Yes.  Yes, I could and yes, it would.  So we did.  And my day turned around right there with that one choice. 

After we got home and fed, I enlisted my two associates and we cleaned.  We picked up, vacuumed, mopped, cleaned the bathroom, sorted through piles of paper.  We crossed stuff right off of mama's list.  You know what?  By kiddo bedtime things were looking up even more.  The list was even shorter and I felt more in control.  I felt less overwhelmed and more capable.  I took that list just kept right on doing.  There were 15 things on that list when I made it.  Today there are 6.  Of course I will add to it today and tomorrow and on and on.  But I own that list.  It doesn't own me!

Finally at some point last evening I sat down and I read that post I linked to above and I wanted to call this Lisa-Jo Baker woman and meet her and hug her.  She's right.  Some days I spend so much time worrying about what I think I should be doing that I forget all the good things I actually did do!  How does that make sense?  Yuck!  I don't treat other people that way...why on earth do I treat myself that way?  Because I'm human I guess.  Today though, I am patting myself on the back for realizing it.  For salvaging my self worth for one day.  I know I'll trip again but I also know I'll get up again. 

That's what's important I think...not the tripping, but the getting up.