Monday, May 28, 2012

I'm Finally Learning To Let Go

Mindy Rayne was born three weeks ago tomorrow.  I know. Where is the birth story?  Well, it's coming.  Really.  It's actually one of the more exciting birth stories of any of my children, so I'm eager to write it all down before I forget it.  It's a little challenging to find time to sit down and really write it the way it deserves to be recorded because all of the kids (yes, that includes Liam) are out of school for the summer and Byron is back to work. That means it's just ME at home with all the little monkeys.

As much as I want to write down Mindy's birth story (she's PERFECT, by the way!), I want to record something I've learned over the past few weeks mostly for my own benefit. Maybe someone else will learn from it, too.

Here's what I've learned:  When a mom has a new baby, a few special needs kids, everyone at home, and a million chores to catch up on, it's impossible for her to make things picture perfect all the time. It can't be done. Is this common sense to some?  Yes, and it should be to me too.  On paper, I get it. But, in my head, it just doesn't always add up. I can't let go of the idea that someone might come over and see things out of place and think to themselves, "See? I knew she couldn't do it all.  She's a crappy mom all the way around.".  Or maybe someone will decide to help by offering a play date. Most moms would jump for joy at the idea, but my twisted brain goes right to "Shoot! If I do a play date, the other mom is going to write it down and remember that I owe them a play date, and I just don't have any room on my plate for that right now...and what if my kids are heathens while they're on a play date?  Then other parents will know I'm a complete failure as a mother."  Yes, I am completely neurotic because anyone who has ever met a single one of the amazing people I call friends would know that NONE of them think that way.  Still, I have this goofy idea of how things need to be.

So, if a mother isn't willing to let others help, but the chores still need to be done, and the Liam still needs to be managed, what is that mother to do?  Well, she is forced to let go of the idea that SHE is the only one capable of doing things. Guess what?  Byron is able to run the washing machine and load the dish washer!  Aiden can be a great helper, too. For that matter, all five of the big kids have things that they can do to help out.

In the past three weeks alone, I've done the following things to take some of the burden off my plate:
1. Allowed Byron to help discipline the kids more rather than thinking it always had to be me.
2. Taught Byron how to sort clothes and run the washer. He's also learned where all the kids' clothes go.  (Yes, I've always done it on my own because I was convinced only I could do it "right")
3. Taught Aiden to wash his own clothes.
4. Shown Aiden how to use the oven and follow simple food prep instructions.
5. Set up chore charts that all the kids are actually eager to follow and been consistent about requiring them to do their jobs. We split them up by morning and evening jobs to break it up for them a little bit.
6. Taught CJ how to load the dishwasher.
7. Introduced Drezden to how the broom and dust pan work.
8. Taught the three biggest kids how to keep Liam safely entertained. This is the biggest one.  It finally occurred to me that each sibling plus Byron and I could each take 15 minute blocks of time being in charge of Liam. This provides him with a variety of activities, keeps him safe, doesn't burden any one person, and teaches all of us what it means to literally be our brother's keeper.
9.  Learned to look away.  Just because the kids don't do things exactly my way or leave them looking like a hired maid was here doesn't devalue their contribution to the family and household.  If I can learn to let them do their personal best and accept that as good enough for now, my work load gets dramatically cut.

So, laundry is almost totally caught up, only dishes from this morning remain in the sink, Liam hasn't ruined anything, the lawn is mowed (way to go, Aiden!), the kids are happy and feel successful, Mindy is fed (I really am the only one who can do that for now :) ), and we're all okay.  There are still "off" moments where I'm not sure this ship isn't sinking fast, but those are fewer and fewer.  I still wake up in the morning and take a deep breath dreading what is in store for me, but my fears have been generally proven unfounded.  And, the kids are going on occasional play dates that I'm coming to realize no one expects me to repay in the immediate future.

So, there you have it.  I've taken a deep breath and a giant leap of faith and I'm finally learning to let go.


Brooke and Ryan Steed said...

It's so refreshing to hear you say that, because I can't stand to have a dirty house, for things to be out of place, etc. and then stay on top of Chloe all at the same time. Then the thought of adding a 2nd child just about gives me a headache sometimes. If you, a mother of 6 can do it, I know I can do it! WAY TO GO AIMEE!!!! You're definitely a SUPER MOM for sure!

M said...

This is amazing!!! We all could take a lesson from you. May I post a link on special Mormon moms?

AimeeTheSuperMom said...

Sure. I'm not sure any of this is really that mind altering for most people. To me, it's taken years to get to this point and it's a daily battle in my head to just let things go if I need to. Who knew making things easier could be so hard??