Disorder to Order

16 May

Photo May 13, 8 48 08 AM

This picture was taken on Mother’s Day (And, no, after 5 tries there wasn’t a single picture where every one was looking the same way and smiling and of course, the camera was dead, so this was taken with hubs’ iPad).  *Ahem*….anyway…

I love these little creatures and I don’t think there is a mother out there who wouldn’t agree that her children have taught her more than she could have ever imagined even needing to learn.  I am so included in that category.

This last year, they taught me not just an important word, but an important philosophy— “NO.”  My entire life I have been a “yes” person.  I am a complete overachiever, driven far too much to success, and rarely stop long enough to savor the awesomeness that is going on around me. 

In school, this meant that if I didn’t achieve “Honor Roll” status every semester, take the more challenging course load, and involve myself with an extracurricular all the live long day, then I was not living up to my potential.

In college, the pattern continued and I graduated in the top 5 of my class.  I was involved in all kinds of activities on campus, worked, interned, volunteered, etc. all in the name of building up my resume and making myself the best that I could be. 

I carried this mantra into my teaching career, and in my second year of teaching, was award one of the “Women of the Year” awards from Archdiocese of St. Louis.

In the world’s eyes, I was living the life.  I had a wonderful marriage, great job, and was working my way up the ladder of success.

The next year, I didn’t return to my classroom.  I instead chose to stay at home with the Annie when she was born. 

To say that going from the high-paced, overachieving mindset to being a SAHM to one wee one was a transition would be a complete understatement.

It was a transition…Oh Lord, it was a transition.  Suffice is to say, doing loads of laundry, cooking meals, wiping butts, cleaning spit up, yeah—it was a completely new rhythm and mindset. 

[I truly believe that in our culture and school system, girls and boys are taught nothing about what it means to be a mother or a father.  Academics and careers are *what* it is all about.  What you do in high school influences colleges, which effects job choices.  Do your best in each of these and you will succeed by the world’s terms. 

I think that is a lie that is destroying so many families today…anyways…I digress…back to the point….]

As a mother, my habits of overachieving have continued…until recently. 

At the beginning of the school year, I was working part time in the evenings (about 15-20 hours a week as a Creighton Practitioner), homeschooling during the day, and put forth more hours than I’d like to admit to our parish’s religious education program.  Somewhere in there, I was also a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and a mother.  By January, I was losing it.  My overachieving had kicked my tail and it was time to throw in the towel and call victory to the world for encouraging me to believe that as a mother I had to do everything. 

World 1: Me 0.

Jason and I talked and prayed a lot.  It was time to make a change.  I took a “leave of absence” from the Creighton world, which meant that my time was greatly reduced in that department. 

At first, this was so hard for me.  I loved doing Creighton and I wanted to help out the endless couples who contacted our Center.  But each time I said, “No, I’m currently not taking clients,” a small part of my life felt like it was becoming re-ordered. 

Just today, our priest asked me when I thought I’d be able to start working with clients again.  I flat out told him, “I’m not working with clients anymore.”  I think I caught him off guard.  I always take on his referrals.  But, no more.

No—I have heard that word a million times from my toddler aged children.  And, I say it all the flippin’ day to James who is a whirlwind of naughty. 

But, now, I am finally saying it for far more important reasons—for me and for my family. 

I am not taking on more than I can handle with a joyful heart.  If the thought of taking it (whatever it might be) brings a pit to my stomach or makes me unpeaceful, I am saying no. 

It feels so damn good. 

It’s funny, because the world told me I needed to achieve and I believed it. 

I just had the wrong idea of what it meant to achieve.  

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2 Responses to “Disorder to Order”

  1. designhermomma May 16, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    amazing post I needed to read today (even though I said I wasn’t going to read any blogs today, because oh dear my to-do list is out of control).

    I’ve def. taken on too much, just saying “yes” to a big project due Friday morning.

    Why do I do it to myself? Sometimes I think I take on so much (freelance jobs) because deep down I am validating my place in this family by bring home a pay check, when really my pay check should be measured in other things, like meeting the needs of my family fully.

    Anyway, I think I’ve almost hit my “yes” threshold. It’s just so hard to start saying no, when all you’re used it is nodding your head. ugh.

  2. Katie May 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    This was a VERY hard lesson for me to learn too.

    This past year, before I was pregnant with Charlie, but knew I wanted to be, I quit ALL extracurriculars at school. And I did a TON. I knew that I needed to have nothing at work other than my classroom. No senior class adviser, no test coordinator, no school improvement team, no teaching without a planning hour.

    I needed to be “just a classroom teacher” for awhile so that when I got home (at a decent hour), I could cook and be mom and wife.

    It was hard at first to say NO, but oh the joys it has brought me. I could pick up Eddie every day from daycare and we had an hour together before I had to start dinner.

    I love my job, but I love my family more.

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