Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On Parenting: the impossibility of being

There is no such thing as a parent, especially a mother, who is "on top of it all".
As my wise friend Owenna once said, "You're not supposed to be able to do it all.  That forces you to make choices."


And so every person, but a parent in particular, has to decide what's essential, what's important, what's ideal, and what's just not happening.  And it's different for every parent.

Mr Renn made it very clear after we were married that having an unmade bed was not an option for him.  However, since I'm nearly always the last one out of bed, it falls to me to make it happen.  Luckily once I got into that habit it was easy to stay in it.
Showering every day - essential for me.  I can't seem to accomplish anything without being clean - even if I don't wash my hair everyday I have to wash the rest of me.  I may not be pretty, but I'm clean!
Other things that are essential for me - everyone is dressed first thing every morning, and we sit down to eat dinner together every single day.
I'm currently trying to get into good habits so that exercising and scripture reading and personal prayer stay in the essential tier and don't get waylaid by life happening.  That's hard for me, but totally worth trying!

I also have to choose what to let go of.  In some ways that's even harder for me than choosing what to keep as an essential.  I get so darned attached to impossible ideals and expectations.  I want it all.  Obviously I'm letting things like "home of our own" and "saving for retirement" slide right now because they're monetarily impossible.  But I've also had to let "my kids will always have clean faces" and "I will not allow clothing to be destroyed in the process of laundering it" flutter out the window and into oblivion.  I've had to learn that it's okay for my kids to cry - in fact crying means they're alive and breathing well, so sometimes it's even welcome.  (I try not to let them cry excessively, but when 2 or more kids are crying at the same time...which is often at our house.... one of them has to be patient and cry until I can get to them or they figure it out on their own)

Part of my intense personality is an inexplicable drive to learn and stretch and improve and try harder.  I'm not naturally blessed with the gift of contentedness.  In fact in my life contentedness happens only in moments, never in days.  So accepting this prioritizing and "first things first means last things last" is hard for me.  There are both blessings and curses in that.


By the time I figure it all out, it'll be time to move on to the next phase of life and learn it all over again.


Kori said...

There is definitely a curve but I, too, am learning to let go of certain things. I let go of more with the birth of each child, too!

I've been given a task...
Chuck and Lindsay are coming to town and want to get together for dinner. Jake needs Renn's phone number so we can make some plans. You can email it to me ( or comment on my private blog. Thanks, Em. Hopefully we can get together!

hairyshoefairy said...

I can relate to so much of this. There are just some things I'm not willing to let go of and there are other things I've just had to and live with it. It's hard to not have it all all at once.

Leith said...

Oh Em, I could have written this word for word on my blog. You are not alone!, the way of the hummingbird said...

I simple cannot get over my amazement of how much Elliot looks like Renn! adult Renn that is - crazy! ... hope you don't let it get to yourself too much that thinks simply don't happen the way we imagine them in a perfect world.

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