Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rhino Report: Reasonable Expectations

The Orange Rhino encouraged us to track our triggers, and as I pay attention to my own, I am learning.  Many of my frustrations come from my own unreasonable expectations.

Consider the most obvious factors:
It is summer.
I am a mother with SIX kids. It  might sound weird to hear me say this, but holy cow, six is a big number!

It is not reasonable for me to expect a break at certain times of day.
If I am going to let them let me sleep in, then I don't get to ease in to my morning. They will be hungry, and they will mob me as soon as they see me.  I will not get to drink my first cup of coffee before I feed them. (Though I have considered moving the coffee pot to my bedroom.)

If they are getting on each others' nerves, I need to take charge of the action. I cannot hide or just turn on the TV. I need to come up with a plan of action to lessen the conflict.
(In this house, that usually involves strategically pairing children and separating the pairs from each other.)

If I rest or write during naptime instead of cleaning the house, then the evening will include more mess and chaos. This doesn't make it impossible, but I need to learn to expect it!

If I'm going to get distracted by the computer when I should be managing them, chaos will ensue.
It just will. Deal with it, self.  Mamas have consequences, too.

It is not reasonable for me to think I will never need a break.

Did I mention that six kids is a lot of kids?  Well, it is. 
But one kid is a lot of kid as well. Kids are just.. a lot.

It is not reasonable for me to pretend my job is (or should be) easy. I need breaks. I need quiet time. I need to take care of my body.

I need to spend those God-given moments of peace in a way that truly refreshes me. You know what I have noticed? Checking headlines and facebook and Pinterest does not typically refresh me when I am feeling stressed. Jumping from one distraction to the next is actually overstimulating and exhausting. It is necessary to live this way in a house with small children. But why do I continue to distract myself when they are asleep?

Many things do refresh me, and it is good to make time for these things. Exercise, writing, Scripture and prayer- these things are essential to my overall health. Lately I have been reading books, entire books, from start to finish (over the course of a few days or weeks, but still- entire books!)  Yes, we must balance our interests with the needs of our family and not become overly self-indulgent or lazy.

But we must also not pretend we are mommy-machines that can live from day to day to day without ever caring for ourselves. If I do that, do you know what happens?

I lose my temper.

If you are paying attention to your triggers, have you noticed areas that you need to adjust your expectations?

Do you know what refreshes you?

See also:
Yelling- on my mind
The Orange Rhino

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