Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Low Expectations

In my mind last week is referred to as the week of the colds and the sooner it is forgotten the better.

The girls weren't that sick - just colds - but none of us slept much for three nights in a row and when I am low on sleep my whole perspective of the world becomes bitter and dark and I say things to my husband like, ''Why on earth did we have children?!", and ''I don't care how much you try to persuade me, I'm done having kids", and ''Why isn't there more coffee in the world?!'' Things like that.

Then after one good night of sleep I'm back to wanting a house full of kids and content with my coffee supply.

And right as I got back on track, Mr. San Antonio had to leave town for work and I was up for 6 hours the first night he left with a very angry infant.

At 4 in the morning I was back to hating children and fighting every urge in my body to just check in to a local hotel and come back for the screaming kids later in the afternoon. (Just for the record, I slept last night and am back to thinking I have the best kids in the world and wondering why we don't already have five of them. Yes, I realize I sound totally psychotic... )

Most of the days since Alice was born - I have had one simple goal: to keep everyone alive.

Not particularly inspiring, I know. But I'm being real here when I say that right now in this moment of life,

My expectations of myself and my children are embarrassingly low.

We aren't doing fancy (or any) craft projects. I'm not potty training Rufflebum. I haven't cooked a meal in a month. Rufflebum has watched so much Sesame Street that I wake up in the middle of the night with the songs playing in my head. Most days I'm wearing sweat pants and my glasses and if I remember to brush my teeth then frankly, I've exceeded my goal.

The girls do get fed every day. Some days they get bathed. They receive hugs and kisses. And they wear relatively clean clothes.

Yesterday I should have taken a picture of my kitchen... not only was there a sink full of dirty dishes, but you couldn't see the counter because it was covered with a baby bathtub, towels, soap, dirty clothes, clean clothes, a toy robot, leftover breakfast food, leftover lunch food, an assortment of jars and and boxes from the pantry, etc. etc. The floor was covered with books, magnetic letters that had fallen from the fridge, a chair Rufflebum had dragged in so she could "help" give Alice a bath, a stuffed dinosaur, a baby doll stroller, an ironing board, colored pencils, and several pairs of shoes.

That was just the kitchen. I'll spare you the rest of the house.

If this is the chaos that my life is in - what on earth does my relationship with God look like? For all my "church-speaking" friends, I'll tell you there isn't a whole lot of "quiet time" going on around here.

Some weeks we don't make it to church (gasp!). Some days I don't read my Bible (double gasp!).

In my favor I'm always praying - because friend - I NEED to be praying.

But to be honest I'm having to expand my view of worship. Please don't misunderstand me - church and Bible reading and ''quiet times'' are crucial to building a deep and steady relationship with our Heavenly Father - and those things please Him - but lately my worship has been more along the lines of "whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me." (paraphrase of Matthew 25:40).

Midnight feedings, cleaning poop explosions, patiently dealing with tantrums, postponing my shower so I can soothe an upset baby, speaking scripture over a scared toddler, praying for my husband while I wash yet more dishes, sending an encouraging text to a friend who I know is in the same boat I am...

That is more often than not my worship these days. And believe me, I long to sit in the corner and read my Bible and not have anyone need me for a few minutes, and one day I'll have that again. But these days, quiet time doesn't exist. The only quiet time in our house is during sporadic hours in the middle of the night when I need to get some sleep.

In the meantime if I do sit down to read my Bible - then it is with a toddler climbing on and off my lap simultaneously coloring on my journal as I try to write in it. Or it is with an infant bouncing in my arm.  Or it is both at the same time.

I know there are lots of my friends in the same place. And I guess I share this to try and encourage you. If you love God and love your husband and love your kids - then you go girl!

Last night Mr. San Antonio told me I'm not allowed to read any more parenting articles. He said kind things and encouraged me and then made me promise that I believed what he said about me.

So I just want to pass that on to you - if you're reading this and are in the same boat... you're doing great. Put down the articles. Don't compare yourself to me or to other friends (although... if you compare yourself to me right now you'll probably feel really good about yourself). Just love God and love your family.

And if you stop by my house, watch out for all the stuff on my kitchen floor...

-The Pampered Bird



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