to do or not to do

it's a good thing i've experienced a few social worker visits over the past few years.  today was our first follow up visit.  she was scheduled to come at 10:30.  the last couple of weeks eric has taken morning duty and gotten everyone breakfast and off to school which has been such a help.   i was exhausted this morning and so had been laying in bed playing with sarahjoy until about 9:45.  at which time i decided i should probably get up and do something with myself.  i was tempted to remain in my pajama pants but decided otherwise.  mostly because i couldn't possibly admit to any outsiders that i had failed to get dressed to meet the social worker.  i would have either had to lie to my mother or bury her.  neither of which is an acceptable option.

so i pulled on a pair of jeans and headed downstairs.  micah and lydia had been playing for a couple of hours without me so the place was a complete wreck.  toys were strewn everywhere.  blocks, tinkertoys, books, kitchen food, every toy you can imagine had been pulled out.  but, you know, i didn't care.  not sure that i shouldn't have cared, but, i didn't.  (this might be a sign...)

it's 10:30.

i am dressed, with my hair pulled in a messy ponytail and not a stitch of make-up on.  slurping on a bowl of cheerios.  the kids are playing in a mound of toys that stretch far beyond the playroom.  and it must have been "trailer park day" because the choice of outfits were amazingly similar to those you might see in such a place.  micah had on sweatpants that were too big with his underwear hanging out.  lydia had sweatpants and a shirt that looked like it had been balled up under her bed for a year.  neither of them had brushed their hair so there was this matted mess in the back of their heads.  sarahjoy was still in her pajamas (but had her purple converse on) and her hair was going in 107 different directions.

a knock on the door.

as if on cue, sarahjoy spills her bowl of cheerios she's been walking around with (note: walking around with food would never have happened with child #1-#4.)  so now there are cheerios all over the floor when you first walk into the house.  she starts to cry and i ask micah to please go pour her some more.  he quickly obeys (with his pants hanging halfway off his butt) and poors some in her bowl . and pours the remainder of the box all over the kitchen floor.  "MOM...i don't think i am a very good pourer."

enter mrs. jewel cooper, social worker lady.

toys everywhere.  food covering the floor.  sarahjoy is crying.  kids are looking, shall we say, a bit questionable.  in fact at that point i am fairly sure the stability of my mental state was questionable for the common observer.  perfect for a reality show intervention.  or maybe we could just be our own reality tv show.

but thank goodness that i had enough dignity to apologize profusely and run around frantically for 3 minutes to pick up the mess i have been worn down to just a hint of my former self and didn't waste a moment worrying about it.   of course, i sort of felt bad, but not bad enough to do anything about it.  i am not sure if that is a good thing or not.  sometimes it scares me how much i just let go.  stuff i would have never allowed to happen 5 or 10 years ago.  even 2 years ago.

the social worker came and left and didn't appear to have a problem.  she laughed.  and wrote a bunch of notes.  so i suppose we'll see what those notes had to say.  maybe they say, "warning.  mother in danger of complete loss of control."

but i kept thinking about the whole scenario.  i wrestle with my desire to do things vs. my ability to get them done.  i would love to have a spotless house, or even a mildly clean one.  i would love to cook healthy meals and always have a refrigerator stocked full of healthy food options.  i would love to exercise regularly and get back my old self.  i would love to just have some self-control and self-discipline!  i would love to get dressed everyday and look decent.  i would love to spend quality time with the Lord.  i would love to be prepared when the social worker comes.  i would love to bake fun treats for community group and not just a pan of brownies.  i would love to welcome in friends with a homecooked dinner and not digiorno pizza.  you know what i would love?  i would love to wake up at 6:30 every day ready feeling energized.

but i don't do any of those things.  at times i feel like a big failure.  sure, i have 5 great kids and in so many ways we have the 'perfect' family.  and by that i mean we have the family that is the dream of so many - happy marriage, healthy kids (well, almost healthy), great job, beautiful house, fun place to live.  but i am lacking in so many of the other things.  so many of things that really don't matter, but they do matter.  i am frustrated.  i am trying to tell myself, "you have so much going on.  don't worry about it."  

but i don't like how things are right now.  and i can't decide whether i just need to let it go, or whether it's time to stop letting it go and get my rear in gear.

grrr. i'm just frustrated.


Kirsten said...

My dear, you have just put into words what I have been feeling ALL WEEK. I'm frustrated by many of the same things.

The answer for me is probably "get off your butt and make some changes," but I do not have four kids who have been sick and another one who just arrived in the family two weeks ago, now preparing for major surgery.

There will be time enough to make something other than brownies after you get your family healthy and you all have had time to recover from the past few weeks/months and establish a "new normal." You are an amazing mom and a beautiful woman, inside and out.

Sending hugs...

Anonymous said...

You'll get there....don't worry. You have jetlag, a new child, bonding and attaching, sick kids, kid prepping for major surgery and trying NOT to get sick. Finding a new normal is going to take some time. Don't be too hard on yourself. It will come and you will know when the time is right. Don't sweat the small stuff. Easier said than done, I know. Your priorities are straight, and if you even still NOTICE these things, then you are good. There will be a time for getting it all together, but now is not it. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Hey, wait.....I just read the blog that you were able to take time to write. That's worth something to count on the plus side. You even laughed at yourself.....good for the soul--laughter!
"This too shall pass" (eventually--onto another "life experience stage) BTW...I hope your pj's are warm flannels with yellow smilie faces printed all over them--or maybe superman.
"Surely God is my help; the LORD is the one who sustains me"--repeat at least 100 times before you scream. (I know;been there, done that; it helps)

jsldove said...

It's your season in life now, you've heard it before, the kids will grow up and remember the precious time with you and now how organized you were. I now know this too well with all the girls grown up. I miss when I could just kiss and make it all better. This is a sweet and crazy life now for you enjoy the ride!
Prayers for you all next week!

babs said...

This too shall pass: exhaustion, frustration, lack of "proper attire" for divas and offspring. One day you will be dressing and putting on makeup every day, and your five kids will be rarely home and you will WISH for days of cheerios and goo. (maybe not open heart surgery and social workers, however). Your kids do NOT care about all the stuff you wish you were doing. All they care about it that you are a fun mama with a houseful of crazy kids. What a great way to grow up. Just be YOU (well, maybe plus a toothbrush and bath) and you'll be an example for all young mamas.

B.T. said...

I was passed your blog from friends at Grace, and I have been glued to it for two weeks now. What an awesome talented, wide-open and real person you are. I think you are an inspiration to mom's out there who are also frazzled half the day. You have a serious talent inscribed in you. You seriously could apply your writing skills to some editorial, newspaper, etc. and get paid. I love reading your info. We are praying for a speedy back to normalness for you and your family, and especially for her surgery. :)

Anonymous said...

Just read your post and noticed Jewel Cooper is your social worker. I worked with her at United Methodist Family Services years ago and love her!
As always, I appreciate how real you are as you write.
Praying for the surgery tomorrow to go well.
~Karen Schanck