It's been a good summer so far. We've been busy and productive and we've had a lot of fun. For the most part, the kids are doing a good job with their "must-do's" every day (reading, writing, doing a job around the house, working on one of their summer goals for their "practice" point, that sort of thing - they have a chart to check off this stuff every day). It's like fingernails on a chalkboard for me to see my kids lazing around in front of a screen unless they've accomplished a few things that feel somewhat productive first so these daily must-do's not only help the kids to get some good stuff done each day but they also help me relax as they enjoy a bit of recreational screen time and a whole lot of just playing with friends and jumping on the trampoline and that sort of thing once the "must-do's" have been accomplished.
But I'm feeling pretty frazzled way too often. Between running kids around to the few things we've signed them up for this summer, helping them set and work on the goals they've set for the summer, overseeing those "must-do's," trying to keep on top of the added laundry and grocery needs that summer brings, and dealing with unanticipated needs of our ward (I'm in the primary presidency and Jared is the Bishop), I've only had a hour or two (taken in haphazard 5-15-minute snatches) to work on Power of Moms stuff. I've been able to get to the most urgent things. And I've felt good about letting non-urgent stuff wait in the interest of focusing on motherhood. But every couple days, I get super overwhelmed as I realized how much I'm putting off with Power of Moms and wonder how I'll ever catch up. Plus I keep noticing new things I need to do sooner or later - the paint on our windowsills that we did just last fall is already chipping off and needs attention. Our neighbors are getting some work done on thir house that we also need done on our house but the company working on their house that gave us bids simply won't call me back and it would be so nice and easy and perhaps less expensive if we could get him to do some of the same work on our house while he's doing work on the house next door.
Right now, Eliza is sitting by me doing some artwork after getting back from basketball camp and the twins are jumping with a friend on the trampoline after finishing all their "must-do's" but the older boys are likely lounging around a bit and I've asked them to do some stuff that I don't think they've done but I'm so tired of trying so hard to keep everyone happy and productive. I'm also tired of having so many "must-do's" in my own mind all the time and feeling like I'm always running and never arriving.
Anyway, some days things seem great and I know I need to take the way I feel today with a grain of salt. It might just be the time of the month or the fact that my jeans are feeling too tight and it makes me feel grumpy to be reminded that I've been eating a bit too much lately and should change that. But I've definitely realized that I've kept up an un-sustainable pace for many years and that I crave more opportunities to really enjoy motherhood and less responsibilities related to running a website that helps other people enjoy motherhood. It's a fine balance. I love Power of Moms and know it really does help me be a better mom and person. But I've got to do a better job of compartmentalizing my life, planning what is most important to do, doing those things, and leaving a lot more margin in my life where real living can happen.
I loved this article on Power of Moms:
It helped me realize how simple motherhood can be. I need to simply be present sometimes. I don't have to have a big activity planned or be actively teaching the kids something wonderful. I just need to be there. I bet if I just go sit out there and read a book (the book the twins are reading and that they really want me to read with them - Mysterious Benedict Society - I do love reading but always feel like I've got too much to do to sit and read - but they say kids really need to see their parents' reading to be great readers themselves...) while the kids' jump on the tramoline, they'll want to show me some cool new tricks and I'll enjoy looking up from my book to watch. I bet if I ask my daughter if she wants to play duets together, she'll enjoy her practicing time and I'll get a chance to play the violin myself - something I do way too seldom. I bet if I go find Ashton and just sit by him, we'll end up talking about something interesting. I bet if I go tell Isaac he did a great job vacuuming out the car and ask him what he feels like doing this afternoon, we'll nave a nice talk (and we can bury the bad feelings that we had towards each other as he was being super grumpy about vacuuming out the car and I was feeling angry that he felt so put-upon to do this small job when I do so much...).
I realize I've been over-thinking and over-worrying. I need to think more about what needs to happen in the present moment and less about the things things on my to-do list that are looming large and feeling overwhelming. I've got to come to terms with the fact that I'm just not going to get a whole lot of new things done as far as Power of Moms stuff this summer. I'll keep up on basic things - but my ideas for new things and my hopes of doing the projects on the list will just have to wait. I need to be here - really be here - with these kids - for their sake, and for mine.
So there are my rambling thoughts for today... I'm off to hang out with my kids and follow their lead for a while.