I have been learning some valuable things about myself–some of them seemingly trivial but all of them important to me. As I’m on this journey to figure out who I am, I’m figuring out who I’m not.
- I’m not schedule-oriented. It doesn’t make me feel less stress to have my day scheduled…. I tried something with Sophia, a very cute picture schedule for our day. I hoped it would help her feel less anxiety, but I didn’t respond to it very well. I like more flexibility than that, and most of the time I have NO IDEA what we’re going to do from hour to hour. I may still use it sometimes, but for the most part it makes me feel trapped.
- I also realized that I’m not the free-spirit “messy house” gal either that I used to think I was. A messy house doesn’t help me feel more creative or energetic or “free.” Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten my house deep cleaned and straightened up. NOW I feel free. I found “homes” for all the toys, and we know just where to put them away. It’s so easy to get things straightened back up, and the girls are playing a lot more. I’ve actually seen the empty floor (or kitchen table) become a new place for creativity–getting out different toys that they haven’t played with in a while and playing with them in new ways. Having the kitchen table cleaned off regularly means that we can spread out any number of crafts or projects whenever… and, easily put them away. I’ve also seen the girls jump to help keep things straightened. Sophia often comments on it, “Wow, Mom it’s cleaned up. This is great!” What was happening was not that I was living amongst filth, but I was living in just enough stifling mess that I felt trapped to do anything about it. Increased clutter contributed to my lack of energy or motivation, and I think the kids were trapped, too. There was a “I-don’t-know-where-to-begin-so-I’m-just-gonna-sit-down” problem. I learned something similar about myself about 2 1/2 years ago when I made a New Years’ resolution to clean my kitchen every night before I went to bed. It isn’t an understatement to say that it changed my life…. How can I start the day fresh and free when my sink is full and my counter is crusty?
- I’m not a mother of 4… or 5… I realized over the last month (through much ‘baby fever’) that, though I may long to have a family of 6, the mother in that picture is not me. I am flourishing with these two sweet little girls, but I believe that a few more might do me in. I love how much attention and love that I’m able to give each of them right now. I think it’s right. It’s an important decision to make (an important thing to know about myself) before I spend the rest of my childbearing years longing for a large family.
- That I can be a morning person. If I put my coffee in a travel mug while I cook breakfast, I can still enjoy it for the next hour. It isn’t necessary for me to spend an hour waking up with coffee…though, I will continue that ritual from time to time as I do like it.
- I can say “no” to my kids and I don’t have to feel guilty–i.e. “no” to junk food between meals, “no” to “carry me.” I can ignore tantrums (completely ignore tantrums!) and they go away. I can parent WITHOUT screaming, and I can spank without being angry or feeling guilty. I can simply give consequences and move on. (Wonderful book! Probably should devote a whole post to it, but please read this book. Even if you don’t “scream,” it’s about reactive parenting and taking care of yourself first. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.)
- I can eat healthy foods and find time to cook them, I can exercise and find time for it. And, I can feel better because of it. I can feel good in my own skin.
- I can stop reading a book 30 pages into it and say “not worth my time” without feeling guilty.
- I can reflect on my insecurities and be pointed to the Father. My insecurities are almost always rooted in poor theology–what I believe to be true about God and His Kingdom. And, if I can reflect on what I know to be true about Him, then I can begin again in a much better place.
Knowing these things about myself is empowering. Knowing who I’m not really takes the pressure off of me to try to be someone I’m not.