Monday, October 21, 2013

Ode to the Tension

Several of you astutely identified the underlying issue with my need for "Free Dress Friday". Some of you even commented "at least they are matching" or "they actually don't look too bad" in their ALL RED, or ALL PINK or ALL BLUE. And I'll admit- most of their outfits really aren't the end of the world. They just happen to be a far cry the shirts with collars or plaid shorts or you know, spreading out the red a little- that I usually choose for them. 

I couldn't pull a fast one on ya'll.... now you are driving me to the point of confession. Because it's true. What may seem easy, or even helpful for some- kids picking out their own clothes- is often difficult for me. In this post, I'll come clean about the real "problem". But  before I get to that, don't forget to stop by my recent post about how you can support the TL 5th annual 5K- helping real people and real problems. Problems just slightly more significant than whether my children's clothes match. Seriously. 

Ode to the tension

Welp. It's true. I have a problem folks.
Some serious tension.
On one hand- I'm an accountant.
On the other- I have four small children.

I like control, order, structure, routine, schedules and spreadsheets.
They prefer to trample all of those keys-to-great-life-success.

Craft Cabinet my way
Craft Cabinet their way
Around about kiddo number 3 I learned that I'd have to make a choice- perfection or parenting.  While I realize now that "perfection" was never really an option, I certainly did hold on to the notion for quite some time.  I honestly couldn't tell you when I became a bit more of the mom-of-four-small-children and a little less of the rule-following-perfectionist.  I know both are still there, both are an important part of who I am, but at some point I'd like to think I struck the balance.  A couple of weeks ago, I was at Leadership Training for work.  When the training facilitator found out that I work and have four children at home, she paid me the biggest compliment I could imagine- "Wow, you seem really laid back to have four children".  She didn't mean much by it, probably didn't even give it a second thought.  She only knew me for a couple of days and never saw me interact with my children.  But it still meant so much.  If she only knew all that I'd had to release over the years.  If she knew the prayers I'd prayed.  If she knew the struggles I still have to strike a balance.  Then she would have known how deeply I appreciated those words.

Because it's true-

I would prefer:
To never leave the house without everything in its place
To have all the books in the playroom sorted by genre, size and alphabetically by author's last name.
To have all four children not only dressed neatly, but preferably in coordinating outfits
And I'd love to have the house seasonally decorated by a professional around key holidays.

Don't miss the missile coming
at the pumpkin's head
Love this three eyed pumpkin face

But I have four small children.
And they ensure:
I am much more excited about leaving the house with them- even if we leave behind a disaster.
I want to read with them more than I care about where the books live
I (occasionally) let go of what they wear and enjoy their self-expressions when they dress themselves
And I'm perfectly thrilled the my fall decorations (pictured in this post)
= create-your-own pumpkins on the front porch AND the back door fall gallery.

At least when they stick stickers they do it in a pattern
whats better than a pic of you & your bro
taped onto the back door?
one folded into a paper airplane, of course.

As I think about the hours (and hours and hours and hours) that the kids, especially Lou, have put in to decorating that back door.
As I think about the deep breaths I took when she first started taping "art" up.
As I help clean up the mess that trails behind as they cut, glue, fold, tear, color and CREATE.
And as I have forever captured in my mind's eye the joy and excitement on their faces as someone new notices and compliments their work.
I realize.
Ya know what?
They bring out the best parts of me.
I'm so very thankful that this accountant
gets to be their mom.

Life would certainly be boring if I was just me, without them.
I'll take the tension any day.


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