onesmallthing. onesmallthing. onesmallthing.
This has become my mantra over the past year. If I could have a life verse that isn’t actually listed in the Bible, this would be it. One small thing each day. Or each moment. Or each breath. It depends how I feel on a given day.
People say moms deal with life better when they get up before their kids. I guess that’s true, but I hate that it’s true. I’m not a morning person. I was so glad when my kids were old enough to turn on the TV by themselves and pour a bowl of cereal because it meant I could sleep longer and escape facing the chaos a little longer. Which, I know, is inherently selfish.
And that’s where my crazy kicks in.
One of my biggest realizations since becoming a mom is that I am consumed by selfishness. Mommyhood requires becoming selfless, and for me, it’s a jolting journey to get there. I’m hoping by the time I have grandkids I’ve made at least a bit more progress because it is not easy.
I want what I want. I want it when I want it. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I want to feel good, look good, be right, and be in control. Almost any decision I make that’s off track falls into one of those desires.
I tend to be highly sensitive to noise. That’s awesome with four kids who love to be heard every. single. minute.
I connect best with God in solitude. Super cool when you’re a late riser, have a houseful of noise, and are married to a man who thrives on quality time.
I’m messy and unstructured by nature. Which is great when you have 5 other people depending on you to feed them and clean up after them and organize their lives.
I could go on and on and on with my list of things that butt up against my daily role of being mom.
What I’ve discovered is that I spend most of my days trying to battle the craziness of my kids with my own personal version of crazy. It comes through in every area of my person. And I think it’s pretty common to most of us moms. We’re just trying to make it through our own hot mess or we’re focusing on unhealthy behaviors or we’re swallowed up in misery because of choices we’re making. There are so many versions of how this looks – here are just a few of mine that might resonate:
Mental and Emotional Crazy: feeling overwhelmed, depression, anxiety, a mind that runs constantly, negative self-talk, sporadic or long-held resentment toward spouse or kids or other people, frustration, complaining, detaching from reality and focusing on what is not real, feeling weighed down by worry, selfish desires, pride, vanity, loneliness, isolation, jealousy, escaping from reality through TV or reading or work or relationships, avoidance of conflict, unrealistic expectations, perfectionism, apathy, indifference, fear, victim mentality, etc.
Physical Crazy: being tired or completely exhausted due to busyness or lack of sleep, not eating well or taking care of my body, lack of exercise, health problems that cause physical symptoms, dressing sloppily (which increases feelings of depression), poor posture (which makes me feel less in control), avoiding doctors or health issues due to “lack of time,” unstructured days, over planning family and personal schedules, household chaos and disorganization, financial stress, long work days, little free time, etc.
Spiritual Crazy: distancing myself from God whether intentional or not, ignoring God’s plan or will in how I deal with life, not cultivating a relationship with Him through prayer or His Word or time with other people, isolating from community, not investing in my own spiritual health, etc.
It’s a long list. And it’s really consuming when that’s all I focus on. Which, I’m finding, is what I’m focusing on during the most crazy-feeling times. But it’s the only part of the formula that’s really going to change the outcome of my life:
My Kids’ Crazy + My Crazy = We’re All Going Crazy
My Crazy is part of what makes everything else feel so big and overwhelming and unmanageable.
My daddio has given me the best wisdom from the time I was little. He sensed in me this overwhelmed nature, and he gave me the best tool he could to help me deal with it. “One bite at a time and you can eat a whole elephant.” Take it step by step. Moment by moment. Bite by bite. And those things will add up over time, and you’ll find that the huge, scary, unmanageable thing has been conquered.
That’s how we get through motherhood. Through our days. Through our weaknesses. Through our kids’ days. Through our marriages and friendships and jobs and extensive to-do lists. One bite at a time.
I’m learning to cope with the crazy by doing #onesmallthing each day. And as I learn to cope, this whole big thing called life gets easier. In the next few posts, I’m going to lay out a few of my coping skills. Because we can live life by a new formula, and the results are encouraging and hopeful:
My Kids’ Crazy + My Coping Skills = Winning More Often
My goal is just #onesmallthing each day.
One small thing by one small thing.
And that is how the days of this big ole life become beautiful again.