My Way is Not (Necessarily) the Only Way
September 29, 2009
I never realized how much I do in one day… Until I haven’t been able to do those things. It is like that infamous story of the wife whose husband asked her what she did all day and in order to “show” him, she decided not to do any of those things for one day. The result was complete and utter chaos. Many moms have giggled over that story and wished they, too, could pull that off. I am here to tell you, when that situation is thrust upon you without your consent, the joke isn’t as funny anymore.
I have been very sick the past two weeks. From being diagnosed with pertussis (whooping cough) to ending up in the emergency room with pneumonia, I have had that proverbial “day off” for two weeks. Can you even imagine how many things you would fall behind on if you took two weeks off without first planning it out, making lists and delegating responsibilities? I am here to tell you, you would feel as if you were mentally drowning as much as your fluid filled lungs make you feel like you are physically drowning.
In those times, in those moments I have learned -- rather harshly -- you are put in a position where you have no choice but to hand things over and ask for help. Do you know how hard that can be? I never realized how many things I do on auto-pilot without giving them a second thought. I know what time each kid has to wake up, how to wake them up in order to minimize grouchiness and maximize efficiency. I know what each one eats for breakfast, how long they take to get ready and what time we have to leave to get them to school on time. I know which days to pack lunches, which days are library days and which days there is an after school activity that throws plans off a bit. I can tell you within two minutes how long it takes to get each child to their school, the best route to take to avoid the crazy minivan moms, and where to drop each child off at their school. When the day is over, I know the routine backwards. I don’t think about these things. I just do them.
Suddenly, I wasn’t able to do them. I was too sick to get up and run these routines every day.
Without having to be asked, my husband stepped up to the plate and tried to help. At first, the frustration of trying to tell him exactly how things were done made us both a bit insane. There was a right way to do these things -- my way! Finally, I just had to boil it down to the bottom line: What kid had to be where at what time. The rest, he would have to figure out his own system or ask questions.
Do I have to actually say how hard that was for me to do? To let go completely of how I do things and let him do them for me? Want to know what happened when I finally did that? I was able to relax. I was able to sleep. I let it go and knew they were in capable hands. He wasn’t doing things my way, but he was doing them. And he was doing them well.
Every kid made it to school on time- fed and fully clothed. At the end of the day they all made it home safely, did their homework (and even some chores!) and were well taken care of by their dad.
Now, I am slowly trying to get back into the land of the living. I look around at all of the areas of my life I was working so hard to get organized, running smoothly and back on track and it looks as if the bomb of chaos has gone off. I cannot even begin to tell you how far behind I am in every area of my life. It is so overwhelming it takes my breath away. (And trust me, with pneumonia; I don’t need any help in having my breath taken away!)
With one exception: My home life.
Somehow, by letting go and letting my husband (and friends) help me, my home is the one area of my life that does not have me in a panic. I am blessed that I have a husband who can and will step up to the plate and take over when I need that. Truth be told, he does a much better job at it when I just shut up and let him do it his way. As hard as that was, I learned it may not be my way, but his way isn’t so bad after all.
Now, if you will excuse me, it is Tuesday, which means it is library day for one kid, early tutorials for another kid, dress day for my daughter since she does not have PE and I have a lunch to make. Not to mention the fact that I have to get all of the kids up and moving.
I hate being sick and still have a long way to go towards healthy, but boy was it nice to learn how to let go and let my husband help. Maybe I should do that more often. The change could be good for all of us.