I fight hard against the fallacy of “getting ahead”.  And I usually lose.

I’m your typical Type-A gal…loves to-do lists and methodically completes tasks.  It’s satisfying.  Or it was.

Since I’ve had a baby, completing tasks have become a kind of balancing act–trying to give my boy enough attention (I never want to prioritize a clean house ahead of my babe) and still completing things that need to be done.  It has become unfulfilling and I feel I’m on the brink of failing at both. Even times I set aside for fun are marred by the “should be’s” (“I should be insert-task-here”).

Picture this.  A warm afternoon, making cupcakes and then sitting on the backporch, enjoying one while the little guy plays next to me.  Sounds pleasant.  Even beautiful.  Well, I can guarantee that I would tarnish it.  I would hurry through making the cupcakes so I can “just relax”…and then, once I’m “relaxing”, all I’m thinking about is: what time it is; how much time I can sit here; how long will dinner take to prep; what are we having; does that sound healthy enough; I should really cook with more natural ingredients; does my dh even like it; should I make something else; what else do I have time to make; do I have the ingredients; I’ll check real quick; I might as well start dinner while I’m up…and on, and on, and on. Typical.  Surrounded by grace and beauty and yet, I’m consumed with to-dos.

This is no way to live.  And no way to raise a child.  I want to be done striving.  I want to live.

Some ways to help me live:

  • I’m diligent about a to-do list but not a gratitude list.  Look for beauty.  Hunt.
  • Stop doing “one more thing”.  Set aside time to rest.  Seriously.
  • Memorize scripture.  After E was born, I spent those late nights reciting and memorizing scripture.  Over and over.  It was my nourishment.  And now when life is easier, I pridefully do life without it.
  • Observe the Sabbath.  Plan for it.  The Sabbath with a baby and a husband who works upwards of 70 hours a week looks different than what I imagined but I can’t wait till life looks “right”.
  • Listen to music.

How do you maintain perspective?  Any suggestions?  Is it more natural for you folks who aren’t so type-A?

(Photos: our porch and flowers from our yard)



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6 responses to “Beauty

  1. Beautiful, Tara. Unfortunately, I think it is a little easier for us, Type-B-er’s. I struggle mightily with guilt over things like healthy enough dinners, time spent actually teaching kids instead of just playing, clean enough house, etc, etc, etc. But when it comes time to relax, I can watch a movie or read a book with great abandon.
    My husband and I had a respite weekend without kids this last weekend and I was tempted to feel guilty about moments that weren’t spent accomplishing more. But i kept reminding myself that allowing myself that hour or whatever to relax, read, or veg will make me MORE productive in the long run from being refreshed. Just like grace causes us to grow more than legalism. 😉 Sure enough, after the weekend, the kids and I have had a fantastic week, mostly because I was refreshed, revived, and not worn down from guilt.
    Give yourself grace!! love this post a ton.

  2. Mawmie D

    You have done the most important thing first: Acknowledge
    You have done the most important thing second: Reflect (via blog)
    You have done the most important thing third: Network

    I love you, my first born.

  3. You have done the most important thing first: Acknowledge
    You have done the most important thing second: Reflect (via blog)
    You have done the most important thing third: Network

    I love you my first born.

  4. Jessica Friesema

    Tara, I wish we still lived near each other. You perfectly described my exact struggles. I even JUST finished reading One Thousand Gifts! I am experiencing God in new ways through simply recognizing the ways he shows his love and then thanking him for it.
    I’ve also been reflecting on this lately: What will shape my son’s life the most down the road – how clean the floors were when he was growing up or his relationship with his parents? I imagined Will as a 20-year-old who grew with a mother who was preoccupied with perfection…it wasn’t pretty. So that’s one of the ways I’m growing right now. I’m trying to learn to be the person that I want to model to my son. But I’m trying not to be a perfectionist about it. ; )

  5. Julie Hart

    Tara-I can really relate to your post. I was such a Type A while raising David-partly because Rich was gone so much and I had to shoulder a lot of the responsibilty at home. I can say it’s taken me decades to slow down-finally because my body won’t allow me to do everything in one day. If I had do to it all over-I would have let a few things go-been more easy going and enjoyed my boy more. They grow up so fast-they won’t remember the clean house and perfect meals-they’ll remember the time you spent just being with them and laughing and hugging!!!! You are on the right track just wanting a balance!!!

  6. McKay

    I love your posts! I hear ya, too! I noticed I’ve gotten a lot less Type A with the military life – changing my plans last minute… and often. I’ve been forced to give up my list over and over again and I realized slowly that life didn’t end and even without my list all the things that had to be done, still got done. In fact, life got a little slower. Not like I didn’t get as much accomplished, but I was “in” the minutes while they were passing. I had to give up my planning for the future, so living in the present was easier… and more enjoyable. I guess it’s hard to explain. I’m so glad God is awakening you to the “present” – I’ll pray for God’s time awareness for you (a day is like a thousand years). Much love!

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