Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Be Still" vs. frustration

Back in January I was so inspired by my cousin-in-law Kara's new "word" for the new year. She wrote a post about it here and explains it beautifully. She picks a word each year as sort of a theme and tries to live it throughout the year. I got all motivated for 2008 and decided to pick out my own new "word." Mine is "Be Still"...well yeah, it's two words, but you get what I mean. And now I want to live it even more fully in honor of our late President Hinckley, who, at least in my mind, coined the phrase. I've just always loved those simple, specific words. "Be Still" in my mind is so perfect because when we are "still" we can feel, sense, be things we couldn't if we let the commotion of the world get in the way. And let's face it, when you have five kids there's a lot of commotion going on. I've had great ambitions to get up earlier, have a little "still" meditating time, have things laid out better the night before, etc. I had a little talk with Dave and the kids and told them when I start to get frantic when I'm late for things (which occurs tragically regularly) that they should remind me to "be still" and remember what's most important. Dave just thinks a better phrase for me for the year would be "be on time," but I'm ignoring his sarcasm and going for being "still." (yes, I'm late a lot...I know it's horrible but I just am).

Well, since the new year hit, and I've taken "be still" to heart, I feel like frustration has taken over in full force. How can I "be still" when I'm so darn frustrated? Things get so busy, I get so overwhelmed, I get in late, frantic mode, and even if the kids remind me to "be still" I'm already in the thick of the frustration and it's tough to get rid of!

I get frustrated that after months and months of my front door handle falling off every time someone tried to close it, it finally just quit today and we can't open the door at all. It's a funny thing that you don't really appreciate having a front door until it's unavailable.

I get frustrated when I'm trying my darnedest to talk and no one can hear me above the chorus of commotion.

I get frustrated that my girls bawl like the world is coming to a halt when I brush their hair. Well, all except Elle. But that makes three girls howling every morning. That's enough for a good migraine.

I get frustrated that I can't keep a pack of gum or a tube of lip gloss in my purse for more than a day.

I get frustrated that I've come to the realization that some doctors really don't have any idea what they're talking about and I have to figure things out without them.

I get frustrated when I try to carry too much in from the car and end up dropping a trail of things along behind me.

I get frustrated when the gym parking lot is packed so I park super far away and lug Lucy and my water and my car keys and my purse as I maneuver Claire through the parking lot to get to the front desk only to realize I left my gym card in my car and I have to go do it all over again to retrieve it. And then the class I want to go to is jam-packed by the time I wait in line at the child care forever to check the kids in.

I get frustrated with Grace's ingenious excuses that keep getting better and better as to why she can't go to sleep each night when I'm just totally worn out and want to go to bed myself. (No, I don't think Lilly the Hamster can crawl up the edge of her bedspread and start biting her head in the middle of the night. Yes, Lilly has demonstrated brilliance at escaping her cage, but we've got a fortress of "twisties" for locks keeping her from escaping again, and I just don't think climbing a bedspread on to a bed is in her repertoire of talents.)

I get frustrated when I've spent all day long doing laundry and I notice the laundry baskets are filled again.

I get frustrated when I'm trying to drive four carpools in different directions and I'm late and I have kids in the car who won't put their seat belts on or who "have" to put them on by themselves but really can't find the buckle. I get frustrated when the commotion in the car is so loud I can hardly hear myself think. And then I notice I'm pretty much going to run out of gas at any moment.

I get frustrated when no one listens to me when I have dinner ready and I'm trying to get them to come to the table.

I get frustrated that I can't stretch myself thin enough to cover all the needs of all my kids. I know they can learn from each other, and that's great. But I want to read, practice music, talk, listen, do homework, "be there" for each one of them and realistically I simply cannot do that every day with every child. It's just not physically possible. And that frustrates me, because I feel like I should be able to "do it all."

I get frustrated when I've picked up the seventh pair of shoes or dirty socks that have been strewn haphazardly around the house, right in the walkways, even on the counter sometimes.

I get frustrated when I'm in the middle of lecturing my kids and I realize they're staring off into space and what the heck do I think lecturing is really going to do anyway...even if they weren't staring into space? I guess it's just frustrating to keep picking the wrong parenting tactic for various situations.

I get frustrated that Claire and her friend for some reason decided to put lip gloss in our spray bottle I use to do the kids hair in the morning. So when we're scrambling to get all the morning stuff done and everyone's hair is sticking straight up my trigger finger gets sore from all the squirting trying to get a couple drops of water out (amidst the hair-brush-howling). And I get so frustrated I keep forgetting to buy a new squirt bottle at Target.

My mom always says it helps to imagine yourself as the "eye of the storm"...if you can just be calm while everything is whirling around you you're in good shape. But I'm not the "eye." I'm whirling around like crazy with everything and everyone else. I've got to figure out how to make it "controlled chaos" instead of complete mayhem around here. And then I've got to "be still" and know that it's ok. Tomorrow has to be better. And then I've got to go look at my kids while they're sleeping and let their sweet expressions and quiet, gentle breathing turn my heart to mush again so I can start all over loving them to pieces in the midst of the storm that's coming tomorrow. Because, despite all the frustration and not having the ability (yet) to "be still" amidst the mayhem, there's nowhere I'd rather be than right here. Right now. Storm and all. Because it means I'm a mother. And a wife. And I'm blessed beyond what I ever thought possible.
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