Letting go and Finding peace

Yesterday, I published a post that was primarily an update on how the kids are adjusting to Faustina’s arrival. This morning, I felt inspired to share a few thoughts about how I am adjusting and trying to let go of my desires to be a perfect mother for my children. My parish is offering a mom’s book study and we are reading the book Momnipotent by Danielle Bean. The chapter that I read this morning, while sipping coffee and holding my two youngest at 5:30 a.m., was all about perfectionism.

I have always struggled with the idea of trying to do everything right, I often blame it on being the oldest child. I hated being late to anything, I always worked very hard in school, did my best to never get in trouble, and I would never answer questions out loud in class because I feared being wrong.  At home, it was very similar, just ask my sister and brother. I am pretty sure I drove them nuts. (Thankfully, I think they still love me)  Of course this struggle with perfectionism has carried over into my vocation as a wife and mother.

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In my last few weeks of pregnancy, my nesting energy went to keeping the house as clean as I could and keeping up with the laundry. For the first time in my married life, the laundry baskets were actually empty at the end of every day. It was almost like a weird therapy to know that I had put away all of the clothes from the day and to see an empty hamper. All of that cleaning was my way of trying to prepare for our fourth child. I thought if I could do all of that while in the last few weeks of pregnancy, surely I would be able to do the same with four kids running around.

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Over the past few weeks I have been humbled in many ways. The first week postpartum, I was a very good patient, I rested and took care of Faustina. I knew I needed time to recover, which was easy for the first week because Dan was home taking care of everything else.  The second week, however, was an entirely different story. It was an awful feeling to get a call from the school office asking if anyone was coming to pick up Emma (Dan actually walked in the office at that moment to get her, but the feeling I had from the phone call was no fun). I was mad at myself when Emma told me that we forgot to send in her homework the previous day. We found it stashed in a pile of papers and forms that have been gathering on the counter since Faustina’s birth. I was desperate to get back in to a routine and I just wanted to be able to do it all- to give the kids attention, to be able to make meals, and to keep the house in order.  Bad idea. By the time the weekend came around, I was very emotionally drained, my body was worn out and my recovery process had definitely slowed down.

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I have also been so paranoid about keeping sickness away from our house. Looking back on it, it was almost comical when Emma got home from school yesterday only wearing her blouse and gym shorts. Her jumper was wrapped up in her back pack because another little girl had thrown up at school and some of it got on her. Of course a million thoughts went through my mind, one of them being pulling out the hose and spraying her down before she entered the house. Of course I didn’t do that, but I immediately helped clean her up and threw her clothes in the wash. I had to let go of every other worry concerning her bringing a stomach bug into our house. I just can’t control everything.

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On Sunday, I came to terms with the fact that I was doing too much and needed to pull back some. I also realized that I wasn’t depending enough on God’s grace to help me each day.  So yesterday, I picked one house chore that I wanted to get done, but let everything else slide (which is so hard for me to do!). Instead, I took advantage of my quiet time with Faustina in the early hours of the morning to start my day with Morning Prayer. I sat with Joshua and Faustina and watched Peter Pan. I played Play-Doh with Kolbe, and I cuddled with Emma after she got home from school. Instead of preparing the pork tenderloin that I wanted to cook for dinner, we had hot dogs and a bag of salad. And I have to say that at the end of the day, everyone was happy and I was peaceful. Today the counter is cluttered and the hampers are full, but I am happy to let it go for the moment and know that we will get to it eventually.

Going back to the book I was reading this morning, I read this quote from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta that was another reminder to keep setting priorities and not to stress about the other things.  Her quote was:

“God doesn’t ask that we succeed in everything, but that we are faithful. However beautiful our work may be, let us not become attached to it. Always remain prepared to give it up, without losing your peace.”

 

 

 


4 Comments

  1. Can I hear an AMEN!!! As a supreme organizer, sorter, cleaner myself, I know how hard it is to just let things go and try to take a deep breath. Believe me, when your nest is empty and you have nothing left to do BUT sort things, you will be glad that you stopped the cleaning when you had sweet moments to hug your babies and let the laundry pile up! As they say in the movies “Let it GO!”

  2. beautiful and inspiring- if i had 2 hands i would write more, then i would also do the laundry and dished too :) letting it go…

  3. Thank you! It is as though I wrote it myself.

  4. Lauren, congrats on your beautiful baby and thanks for the reflection:)

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