“How do you do it??”
If I had a penny for every time I’ve been asked that question I’d have enough money to have hired a nanny for this trip. And then my answer would casually be “Oh, I hire a nanny” as I toss my neatly-styled hair with my manicured hand. Instead I answer (in the dress I’ve been wearing for 3 days now) “a lot of patience, mindfulness, flexibility and coffee.”
So as I sit here with my room-temperature coffee feeling like I just returned from the front lines, I will fill you in on how I did it….today. Because every day is different. With it’s own moods, meltdowns, and limits.
Limits. We bumped into our emotional and physical limits hard and fast this morning. Many a tear was shed over spilled drinks, yucky spots on apples, diaper changes, not getting enough alone time, getting alone time, clothing…You get the idea.
So though I had REAAAALLLLLY hoped to get one more day in at the beach later this afternoon, I chose to sit in silence, take a deep breath, assess how we were doing, and change our plan.
Genius, I know.
Wait? How did I even get the chance to sit in silence, you ask? Easy! (Insert sarcasm.)
First I built a fort for Caramia in a closet where she is now napping, Sammy is passed out on the bed (after a long resistance that involved him proclaiming ‘you’re not my mom!’), Silas is getting much-deserved alone time playing a game in the other room while Judah forages for snacks I sprinkled all over the floor (sustenance while practicing mobility. Fast food for babies!) And here I sit/hide with my room-temperature coffee and the endurance to ignore the clutter for just a little longer while I breathe and consider our limits.
So no beach for us today! Instead, naps, a movie, and perhaps some medicinal frozen yogurt.
And then we’ll try again tomorrow. Because the energy ebb and flow may just carry us to the beach tomorrow. We’ll see.
*Please note how they chose to seat themselves. Needing alone time, perhaps?!?!
Tips for Not-As-Planned-Days
1. hold your plans loosely
2. learn to identify the physical and emotional limits of your family (as a whole and as individual members)
3. look for ways to get creative. Wanna sleep in a closet? Sure!
4. Pick your battles. Really, they’re not battles; just priorities, I suppose. Oh, you’d like to wear your princess gown to Waffle House? No prob. I’m sure you’ll fit right in.
5. Be compassionate to all parties involved, even the ones yelling ‘you’re not my mom’. He’s struggling, too.
*Sammy and Daddy tend to speak the same language, so I called him when Sam was having a hard time calming down. It was AMAZING to see them communicate. Sammy felt so loved, safe and understood by Micah, and I gained great insight to what was really bothering Sam. I wasn’t even close!
6. Include your children in the planning. When I asked Silas what he would prefer to do today, I was surprised to learn that the beach wasn’t even on his list! Sometimes their desires will be met, sometimes they won’t, and both are valuable learning experiences.
You are a breath of fresh air.
As are you, Janie! Thanks for the encouragement. And again, it was so refreshing visiting with you 🙂
Tommi, this is such a great post. I love the picture of all of your kiddos sitting at different tables in the frozen yogurt shop 🙂 I also love your example of how Sammy and his Dad speak the same language. That’s so great that you guys try to be so observant and attentive to everybody’s different needs and limits. Definitely making a note of the list above 🙂
Thanks Katherine! It’s definitely a high learning curve for all parties 🙂
Tommi, Thank you for sharing such deep wisdom with open honestly. Your insight is such a fine example of bringing peace into conflict. I have been learning that grievances and miracles (which are actually God’s love, peace and joy in action!) dwell in the same time frame–we can choose to be engulfed by our grievances, which cast a dark wall in front of the miracles, or dismiss the grievances, which reveal the miracle we so long to experience! Yes, even (and, maybe, especially), at 81 yrs. of age, I am learning to experience the deep core of life’s riches, which dwell in my most inner being, where Jesus’ Spirit dwells……….
That’s my daughter!!!!
love love her ways.. she is so refreshing .. lol I laugh all the time