Thursday, December 18, 2008

Finding the Time

This holiday season, in fact all holiday seasons since I had children, has been hectic. I always enter the month of December with so much expectation and excitement. I want to do the 12 days of Christmas for someone, I want to make homemade treats and deliver them to all my friends, I want to make homemade gifts for loved ones, I want to go see the lights at the temple, I want to do a cookie exchange, I want to send out Christmas cards, I want to put up the tree with my family while Christmas music plays in the background, I want to help my children understand the true meaning of Christmas, I want to make homemade crafts with my children, I want to help my daughter learn to play her Christmas song perfectly, I want to make sure Owen gets more opportunity to be included in the events of the season while not ignoring the baby either. I'm sure there's more that has escaped my mind or I've repressed in order to survive.
Some of these things got done, others didn't or haven't yet (there are still some days left). The problem I'm finding is time. I want to do all of these good things--I really do. The predicament is doing these things with kindness in my heart and patience for those around me--more specifically my children.
Perhaps I'm the only person with this flaw, but I'm willing to confess it--I am not patient. I get irritated when I can't get everything done that I have on my list to do. I am all about lists. I can't sleep without them--literally. I wake-up in the night and just lie there until I've written it down and mapped out a plan of action. Sick, sick, sick.
In all of my desire to bring a little bit of joy to those around me, I often feel like I'm bringing no joy to my own children. I lose patience for Ryanna's million questions and slow processes, I lose patience for Owen's messes and his ignoring me, I beg Eli to hold off from receiving attention/food/whatever so I can just get "one more thing done!"
All of this leads me to my resolutions for next year. Gaining patience would be the obvious goal. Yes and no. I'm not naive enough to believe I'm going to reach that goal in one year let alone one life, but I can do something about making better time for my children. I want to do more one on one activities with them. The obvious connection between that and patience is not readily visible. Dealing with three children at one time has been quite a new and trying experience for me. However, one child at a time is not only more manageable, it's even fun.
Last night Ryanna and I took a cookie making class together. I signed us up for it a couple of weeks ago. I was under the assumption that we would be making the cookies together--which didn't actually happen--but we still had an hour and a half of time with just the two of us. It was fun to learn some new things and just have her by my side. There is such joy in spending time with your child when really can let yourself unwind.
So, my goal for this next year--one of them and perhaps the most important one--is to make more quality time for our little family. Our lives already feel so busy and I know it'll only get more crazy, but I truly believe that the most important days are these--while my kids are young. I need to use this time being a good mom. I just don't want to look back at this time and wish I'd spent it gaining close relationships instead of to-doing every day. It's going to be tricky no doubt, but it is definitely a worthwhile goal.


Lara said...

I've been feeling much the same lately. This season brings so much stress and I have felt like I am so over extended that I can't put the joy into it for my children. I'm trying, but my patience definitely wears thin. And, like you, I don't know that I had so much to start with in the first place.

I watched an excellent talk on KBYU last night that just strengthened my resolve to better about making quality time for family and not letting other stuff get in the way. If you're interested here's a link to the transcript: Avoiding Being in the Thick of Thin Things: Establishing a House of Order

CC said...

Love this post... I know what you mean; I just finished school and never noticed just how many things are lined up for the kids that they lined up themselves because I couldn't be bothered often times during this last semester. My head is spinning trying to catch up, but I'm glad that with blogging, I'm able to reflect on the day, and find the good in what my kids have done for the day. Though I am constantly feeling overstretched and not doing enough at the same time.
Having small children (Lisa was 8, Jas 2 when Ian was born), certainly can pull at our last nerves, but one-on-one certainly heals lots of them, so you can face another day.

Hang in there...

Tina said...

Seriously- I think you've added a talent to your already long list- mind-reader- because what you wrote is almost word-for-word exactly what my inner dialog has been lately. We're more connected than we thought!

Miss you!

Ashley said...

Hey Audrey!
You're doing great! And you are not alone, obviously in your feeling impatient with your kids and stuff around you when you can't do it all!
Just be careful what you pray for. When you pray for patience, sometimes the lesson comes as a trial to "help" you put things in the right perspective or to get your priorities in order!! I say that somewhat in jest, but really, be careful what you pray for!!! The Lord is perfectly great at answering our prayers!

Ashley said...

PS. This is Rhea and the blog above is too! For some reason Ashley is signed in on my computer instead of me!!!
Just remember, you're awesome and we all know it!!!

Jessica Martiele said...

# 1...every time I get on your blog I feel like a totally inferior mom because you're so stop stressing so bad, will you? It only makes me feel worse that I'm not stressing. :) #'s called Zen parenting (being "in the moment" when you're in the moment), and it takes a lifetime of practice. # 3...loved the (anyone remember who?) apostle's conference talk a couple back about good/better/best, and we're trying to live by it around here. An extra load of laundry would be good, baking cookies for the kids would be better, putting everything on hold and baking a giant mess of cookies WITH the kids is best. Now THOSE are the kinds of priorities I'm all for! :)

Still, I think we're ALL right here with you, so we'll all have to spend a portion of 2009 sharing with each other how we're doing at meeting the same goal. Good luck!

Tiffini said...

I think you've accurately described every mother's desires. I am always amazed at how much you accomplish, Audrey. You remind me a lot of my mom, and Ryanna reminds me of myself. You will be a good example to her of productivity, and she'll learn to stretch herself.

You are a good mom.

JenW said...

amen sister, thank you for saying what i was thinking and feeling. let's all try together, shall we?

rachel said...

AUDREY!! I think you just posted my journal entry online that's plagerism or privacy exploitation or something:) We have it so good so many wonderful choices. . . still so hard to make it simple and keep it fun. My boys are the first to remind me when I am not being fun. . . it's been happening a lot lately. Thanks for the paradigm shift. . . I needed it!