Saturday, August 23, 2014

I Can't Do It All

Everything Changes
©2010 Marie Bellet, Ordinary Time Music
Whenever I think that I know what I’m doing,
Everything changes
It must be true that you learn something new every day
Still all of these lessons are keeping me guessing
Everything changes, everything changes
I can't do it all. There it is.
Our culture has told women a lie for far too long. "You can have it all." I knew that wasn't true. Story after story tells of women who tried to chase ambitious careers and babies at the same time and either failed and/or ended up miserable. I never wanted that. After all, one of the main reasons I homeschool is that I truly enjoy being around my children all day, every day. Scratch that, I like being around my children most of most days.
I can't do it all. I can only do what God wants me to do. That's the part I am still learning.
I am sure no one really noticed that from May 2012 - February 2014, I only posted here two times. I know there are only a handful of friends reading this. During that time, I began and ran my own direct sales business (I know, direct sales - ick! I thought I'd never do that, much less enjoy it so much, but that's a story for another time!) and had baby #4. I was a little busy.

Newborns are so yummy!
That's the understatement of the year. As 2014 began, I was drowning. I felt as if my life was rushing along at Mach speed, and it was all I could do to hold on for the ride and survive. Elizabeth's amazing online workshop this spring gave me the knowledge and tools I needed to recover from the burn-out, but practically, I never made it past implementing the first week's suggestions.
As soon as that baby started walking, my sanity started to rapidly dwindle. I would be homeschooling the two "big" kids (ages 11 & 8), anxious to get finished with school and accomplish the next business task, but then I couldn't turn my back on the curious toddler. And, at the end of the day, in the evening, I was spent. Anything that took any mental energy was torturously slow. I thought, surely, I could excuse this kind of cerebral exhaustion the baby's first year, but he's already one. The carpets went weeks without seeing a vacuum. The toilets were scary. And, I lost my patience with my children more times than I wish to remember.

Lego minefield
I can't do it all. Neither can you. If any of this sounds familiar, something needs to change.
For a recovering perfectionist, the anxiety was overwhelming, but I thought I could hang on if we could just finish school...if I could just get past the homeschool conference I was co-leading again...if I could just get on top of a few of these household projects piling up and come up with a new plan, a new schedule, a new method for organizing my business. I was a deer in the headlights, frozen, not sure which way to turn to avoid collision. Even then, I felt convinced that during the summer God would lead me to peace through the wisdom of other Catholic moms. Little did I know that the solution was something more drastic.
I can't do it all, but that doesn't make me weak or inadequate. God gives me strength.
I love my husband. He is amazing. The way he knows me and loves me anyway, the way he gently urges me to keep on, the way he compliments my abilities, the way he adamantly insists I take care of myself. So, when I finally admitted all of these feelings to him (This is always literally gut-wrenching for me, because I'm scared he'll tell me something I don't want to hear.), he told me to quit the business. I certainly didn't want to hear that! But, after the shock wore off, I was so grateful for the permission to quit, that peace settled in almost instantly (plus I'm pretty sure I ran out of tears around 2am).
Quiet sunrise over the ocean
It wasn't my idea. I loved the work. I loved the extra, flexible income. I loved the social time. Yet, when my mom asked me how I was feeling about my decision a few days later, I told her I was relieved. It felt like I could breathe again. That's how I knew the peace was from God.
I can't do it all. I really can't. Even if I really want to.
We just finished our first week of homeschool, and it went wonderfully! I made many changes to how we school by adding looping and a mid-day hour-long break for Mom that I hope will transition into true recreation in cooler months, in addition to pre-K lessons first thing every morning. I'll share what's working soon.
My summer was mostly spent shutting down my business and refreshing my soul. I flew to a family wedding on the beach in Florida. I attended the incredible Edel Gathering in Austin (I do owe my Edel sisters a proper re-cap post, of course!). And, I cleaned out my piles of things to-do. Plus, we hugged, danced, sang, cuddled, read picture books, and smiled more than I can remember in a long time. Hubby and I even began somewhat regular date nights again, and I am reconnecting with friends I didn't even realize I was missing.

Dance & Karaoke Party at Edel
There it is. I do not have superpowers. I have limits.
You have limits, too. Don't try to deny it. We are all together in this: Catholic women, Catholic mothers, Catholic homeschoolers. Seeking holiness. Finding busy-ness. And when there is no quiet, when there is no stillness, we cannot hear that God is repeating: Stop. Love. Trust. Enjoy.

Stop the voices that say you must do more. Love the people around you. Trust in My Infinite Mercy. Enjoy the gift of life.

I want to write in this space, and I have a hunch that God wants me here, too, doing this thing that brings me joy. Please pray for me. I will pray for you. And, when you see a post you like, please share it with a friend! I would love this tiny corner of cyberspace to be a place of honesty and inspiration, as I share the journey of this mother's heart with all of you.

Bless Your Heart!