If you were to crawl into my mind in the last year or so, you'd hear many turns of the phrase own your XX, don't let your XX own you. (Also many turns of the phrase "where did all the dark chocolate turbinado sugar Trader Joe's almonds go...whoops...I ate them.")
You can fill XX in with all kinds of things - clothes, clutter, schedule, pantry, etc. It's been a really helpful way to think about things. It reminds me that I'm not a victim of my circumstances - I can be active and make good choices and get something done, instead of sitting and pouting because things are hard. Which is my tendency.
Some of you read that and think "Yes! She's going to help us create a strategy and plan and do all the things!" and some of you read it and think, "Oh no, is this a strategy and a plan to do all the things? I thought grace freed me from that. Better get my boots and my straps so I can pick myself up...again."
Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you how to do anything. (And sorry, for those who were hoping for the first option.)
But, here's why I bring that up. When you're a mom, chaos happens. I have three girls, 4 and under. The oldest is about to turn 5, and all of a sudden she's BOUNDING with grade-school energy. Which is great, except she doesn't start school till NEXT year. The middle one is a total threenager right now, full of big feelings and strong opinions. The baby, who is not especially demanding, is about to start crawling, which means even if SHE'S not demanding, babyproofing is. Everyday is an exercise in acknowledging, managing, and embracing chaos.
The good news is we can own our chaos, without letting our chaos own us. I've said before that we can fight it, or embrace it, and really, embracing it is the only option. But once we do that, once we acknowledge that this is the season we're in, and that God gives us the strength we need to love our families well, we can be thoughtful about how we move forward.
Here's what I mean. On Wednesday nights, we have City Group for our church. Things get crazy, my husband and I are prone to argue, and for months Wednesdays were just not a fun day in our little family. So now, on Wednesday nights, we have an easy dinner. When I plan meals for the week, I have about 3 go-to quick, partially store-made, kid-pleasing meals, and we ALWAYS have one on Wednesdays.
Because on Wednesdays the chaos can seem overwhelming. The noise can feel too loud. The stress can be too much. So I quiet it. This week we had grilled cheese and roasted red pepper and tomato soup from Trader Joe's. I toasted 4 sandwiches toasted in the oven all at once (400 degrees, put the sandwiches on a baking sheet and put them in for 7 minutes) and warmed the soup on the stove and THAT'S IT. Simple, cozy, delicious, easy, and chaos-ready. I own the Wednesday night dinner time chaos. And we do something easy.
On Wednesdays I don't do laundry. Often, we have people to our house for City Group, and if I do laundry, I never quite get it done before it's time to move the pile of clean clothes from the chair in our living room to the chair upstairs in our room before the group comes over. If it gets moved to our room, it ends up being picked through instead of folded and put away. The chaos travels, instead of being contained. So I own it. I know Wednesdays are crazy, and I don't do laundry.
If you've got kids, you know this kind of chaos. While there will be absolutely no picking yourself up by your bootstraps on my watch, I would encourage you to look at your week. Identify a day or time when the chaos starts to overwhelm you. To own you.
What can you do to flip that, and own it instead? How can you take steps to free yourself from drowning in the activity/noise/needs/expectations and, out of that freedom, love your family well? Please share in the comments, we have so much to learn from each other here.
Connect with Kristi on her blog, And Babies Don't Keep.