Sunday, December 14, 2008

In Defense of Saying Yes

I should be in a bubble bath commercial. I know I could pull off the look of the frazzled woman who’s been run ragged all day. The one whose life is chaos until the magic of Calgon blissfully takes her away.

Truly, I’m the poster child for all of those magazine articles you read entitled, “Feeling Overwhelmed? Learn to Take Time for Yourself.” With two jobs, four kids, and involvement with church, school, community and extended family, you could say that I’m busy. Add to that a husband with chronic health issues, which is one way of saying that not only am I chief cook and bottle washer, but also head tree trimmer, spider squasher and pinewood derby car carver - roles I’ve learned to handle, if not well.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no supermom. I know supermom, she’s my neighbor around the corner, and trust me, I’m not her. My kids pack their own lunches and accept bribes to splash in the tub with the little one so I won’t have to bathe her. Sunday dinner is pancakes and eggs, not roast and potatoes. Would supermom serve breakfast for dinner every Sunday? Not likely.

Still, I do think that putting yourself first is a little overrated. Not because I think I should be alphabetizing my cupboards instead of reading a magazine, but for reasons that are more about old-fashioned values.

You’ve heard the advice that to forget your own troubles you should help someone else? That actually works. When you’re helping others, you get the feeling that what you’re doing in that moment is exactly right. That you’re doing just what you were meant to do that day, which is a wonderful, freeing kind of feeling.

I learned this lesson again early one Saturday morning. My littlest one sometimes sleeps in, but never on Saturday. It drives me crazy! Anyway, one Saturday she’d gotten out of bed around 6:30 a.m. and come into my room. I pulled her up into bed with me and tried to get her to go back to sleep, but she wasn’t interested. I felt myself getting frustrated and upset with her, and finally I decided to quit fighting it and just get up with her.

We went out to the family room and sat together in the rocking chair. She was smiley and happy as we sang quiet songs and talked about things that are important to her, like dolls and cereal. We had the house to ourselves, and that quiet time with her turned out to be a very precious experience. Putting my daughter first turned out to be the best thing for me, way better than a bubble bath, and a tiny bit better than sleeping in.

Not to say I don’t take the occasional sanity break. In fact, I just gave my two-weeks’ notice at my second job, precisely in the name of sanity. You can’t say yes to everything, but when you do, it sometimes works out just right. Does anyone want to put up my Christmas lights for me? (say yes)

5 comments:

The Crider Clan said...

I think you are supermom...or even super woman!

Connie and Tony said...

Wow lecia- you definately have your plate full. Unlike me though, you don't seem to let it stress you out. I'll be the one getting early grays and wrinkles from stressing myself out slightly more than I should. And I'll probably (hopefully) not have to juggle so much! I don't care what you say, you are a super mom. AND sister-in-law!

Tami Johnston said...

UHHH - I THINK IT'S NOT RIGHT THAT YOU TRY AND RUIN MY IMAGE OF YOU. BUT ACTUALLY YOU JUST REINFORCED IT. YOU AREN'T JUST SUPERMOM - YOU ARE AMAZING SUPERMOM. I'LL PUT UP YOUR CHRISTMAS LITES BUT YOU PROBABLY WANT THEM TO LOOK GOOD.

Kristin said...

Lecia,
I loved that & would like to POST it SHARE it DO something with it - it is so well expressed. You are the WOMAN!

Lecia said...

Yay, Kristin, I feel so connected to you now! When you're not shoveling snow or waterskiing I will now assume you are thinking of me.