It might help you to know.

Monday, February 24, 2014
It might help you to know we had a small-ish faux Christmas tree in our playroom that  just came down the other day.  On February 22nd y'all!  Looooong after the Epiphany.  It might help you to know that the Valentine decorations are still up. You see, like you, I'm struggling.  I am struggling to figure out how God wants me to spend these hours that are a precious gift from Him each day.  I'm struggling to be a good wife, a good Mom, a good friend, a good daughter, a decent housekeeper, a good speaker and counselor, and a good Christian. And I constantly run out of time each day never getting it all done.

I'm overcommitted to work and volunteering and Bible studies and relationships. My expectations for myself are way too high.  I am floundering trying to prioritize exactly what matters most.  Aren't we all?  And while I flounder, clean laundry sits in a pile begging to be folded and put away.  Junk mail multiplies on my dining room table and I fall into bed each evening drained beyond exhaustion.  This is especially difficult for me to reconcile as I have been a "neat freak" for most of my adult life. But my house is a mess.  I am a mess. I am trying so hard to "do it all" that I am not doing any of it very well. That makes me afraid that I am letting people down constantly. I probably am.

I am trying to find balance among what I need to do every day and what I am meant to do. And I fall short every single day.  And I know this is a luxury of sorts to even contemplate.  But this is not about a job or "me time." This is not about being a stay at home Mom or a working Mom.  It's not a debate.  I do both.  Both are valuable.  Case closed. This is about a purpose. And about using my time here on earth wisely.

I heard someone say that your mission is what you are passionate about and using that to serve others.  I think about that a lot.  Am I using my God given gifts and passion to serve others enough?  too much? Am I serving other families at the expense of my own? I sure hope not because I want nothing more than to raise a good family.

When I am giving talks or writing about marriage and parenting...I know that is my mission.  But I also know that it is hard work.  It is hard to prepare talks about parenting and present them on school nights (missing family dinners sometimes) and BE a good parent.  It is hard to counsel others about their marriages yet still find the time, energy and motivation to work on my own marriage.  There are days I feel like quitting.  But what part can I quit?

A friend recently shared this beautiful quote with me.

purpose2

When I think about that quote it seems so simple.  My deep gladness is relationships...my own and helping others strengthen theirs. One of the world's deep hungers is relationships too.  I guess that is my corner.

As I was typing this post, a friend texted me asking for some parenting advice.  I chuckled to myself.  It was as if God was tapping me on the shoulder reminding me of the place HE is calling me to.

The reason I am sharing this is that every woman I talk to lately has told me she feels pulled between her family and her "work."  That she feels like she cannot do it all well.  You are not alone. We are all struggling to find purpose and balance (even those who look like they've found it). Picture that corner where your gladness, joy and talent meet a need of others and you will find your place.

P.S.  I've gotten some sweet e-mails lately here and at The Nurtured Home telling me that people miss my blogging.  I miss blogging too.  The truth is I am working so hard to have a nurtured home that there is not a lot of time left over to write here or on the Nurtured Home.  I'm a work in progress and I am hoping to be posting more.  Thank you for your kind messages.



21 comments:

  1. You and your family are beautiful.

    I have three daughters, 24, 23 and 17. My 23 year old left the nest this past summer. My oldest, just today took the state board nursing exam. She will fluttering out of the nest soon enough. That leaves me with a 17 year old, a junior who will be taking senior portraits THIS SUMMER! Where does the time go? I still am trying to find time to fold clothes, get to the grocery store and show up at the high school on the days I volunteered for FCA. I used to complain. (I do not think you are complaining.) I used to make excuses that my plate was too full and I could not do everything 300 percent. Now, because the end is insight, I soak up EVERY minute. I fold underwear and towels knowing that too soon, there will none to fold. I stay up way too late doing my Bible Study. I sit at the dining room table with my 17 year old until all of her homework is finished. I do not want her to think she is all alone. I used to go to bed or watch TV while the others did theirs. As a mom I have realized, for some reason, there is never enough time. I do not mean that there is never enough time to do everything and be everywhere. I mean that there is not enough time to be "mom" to kids while they are home. I have had to keep reminding myself this as I get frustrated with all of the other things.

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    1. Thank you Lisa for sharing your perspective . It is wise and experienced. You are right that I' m not complaining but I am struggling for balance. I had more balance at other times in my parenting but somehow it is eluding me now. I see Will getting ready to look at colleges and I try to savor every moment and maybe that is part of the issue. I just know I am spreading myself too thin. Thank you for your comment. It did make me think and I am glad your daughters are doing well.

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  2. These words were exactly what I needed to hear. As a college student I'm finding myself torn between family, tending to those relationships well, and balancing the work that comes with college. Thank you for writing and for acknowledging that we're all just trying to live our lives well!

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    1. Mackenzie, I am so glad these words helped you. It is so hard to balance all the work of college with everything else. I wish you well.

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  3. My son is 32 and my daughter is 27. I tried to savor the 5 years between their leaving for college. I probably overdid everything. I worked part time and still thought I was killing myself to get everything done. Then there was quiet days for a few years.....Then the craziness of life hit me again. First one wedding, then another wedding. First granddaughter, then first grandson. Now second granddaughter is due in 5 weeks and today my DIL was put on bed rest because of BP issues. I am needed to take care of 2 1/2 yr old granddaughter. I can't go yet because my 6 month old grandson is experiencing his first grand camp at my house. And to top it all off....my mom isn't in good health and I feel like I should be helping my dad with her. So I am pulled today in 3 directions. God love my sweet hubby who keeps telling me to go where I am needed. The sad thing is I know someday my mom will be gone and these precious grandkids will be grown up and not have time for their old grannie. So I am counting my blessings and praying to get through every day and the challenges I face. I love all my family dearly and they love me. Thank you for your post today. I needed your words. You are not alone and I know I am not either.

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    1. Linda, It sounds like you really have so much in your plate. I can hear that you are really pulled. And really how lucky are we that we have loved ones "pulling" us. Enojy those grandbabies and cherish the time with your Mom too. I will say a prayer for you tonight.

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  4. thanks for this post : the french moms know this also. Have a good day.

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  5. Thanks for this post. I bought a lot of books to be more organized but it doesn't work very well. Sometimes, i'm a really desesparate mom !!! We the same problem everywhere in the word : it's good to hear you. Have a lovely day with your family.
    ( sorry for my english )

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    1. Anne-Laure I am with you on the books. One thing that does truly help me is if I write it down. I get MUCH more accomplished when I have a good list.

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  6. Kim, Thank You So Much for sharing this post with your readers. I just so happened to read it sitting in the preschool parking lot after dropping off the youngest of our five children at school. I am exhausted...... I am worn...... I feel like I accomplish nothing, and no matter how hard I try I can never get it all done. There are days I feel like the worst mother in the world, and other days I think "wow, today I made a slight dent in my long list of things to do". I love reading your blog, I have been following it for four years. I so look forward to reading your posts, I find them encouraging and they help me sometimes in the most comforting way, by reading the things you and your family experience. I see that all families have trouble, and you just have to laugh and love through life together. Over the past 2 months our family life has changed, and there are many days when I wonder why can't I just get it together like other mom's? (you seem to have it together) Then you write a post like this that shows me that I am not alone in my struggles, women around the world have the same challenges and that there is hope for me. God does have a plan for me, I just need to be still and hear what he wants me to do with the time he has given me. Thank you so much for sharing such a deep part of your life with others, you make a difference everyday whether you know it or not..... Much love from Kentucky!

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  7. Jennifer, I am sorry that you are feeling that way too. I know exactly what you mean about beating yourself up for not making a dent. I feel that way SO often. I think we all have potashes where life balances out and we are productive and we all have phases where we are just keeping our heads above water. People tell me a lot that I seem to have it all together which is why I feel it is super important I let y'all know that most of the time, I do not. I will say a prayer for you today and thank you so much for your very encouraging comment. This post was a hard one to hit publish on. Kim

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  8. Two words…cleaning service! If you don't have one already, do it. It's worth it just to be able to breath a sigh of relief knowing you don't have to do it. I know that doesn't include folding laundry :( I know I am headed this way in a very few short years; I often get a lump in my throat when I think of my girls going off to school. I will miss them.

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    1. Glinda, I am very very lucky to have someone come do the heavy cleaning (bathrooms, change sheets. mop etc) once a week. So my house is clean. But with 3 very active kids at 3 schools that send home ALOT of paper, it is still a messy a lot. There is a lot of clutter to pick up constantly. And I am not really complaining (at least I hope it doesn't seem that way). I am blessed but I want people to know that none of us has it all together and this is a tough season for me right now. You WILL miss those precious dumplings when they go to school But dismissal time sneaks up on ya pretty quickly;) Kim

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  9. Kim, I think you are no different than any other mother. We all struggle with finding balance. As I sit here taking a break from cleaning my house that to be honest looks pretty ghetto tonight, what comes to mind is a talk that was given by leaders in my church. I know you are of a different faith and my intent is not to try to convert you to my religion, but I would like to share this message with you in hope that it might help you as it has helped me. Some of the scriptural references you will not know, but I am sure many you are aware of so here is the talk.
    https://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/11/good-better-best

    Hope your talk went tonight. Kelleyn

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    1. Thank you for the link Kelleyn. I have not had time to watch it yet but I will. And yes, I am just like every other Mother…and that was my point. We are all struggling to find balance but we seem to think that other people have it all together. I hope you are getting some rest. I know Shelly enjoyed meeting you last weekend.

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  12. Kim as so often happens this post speaks right to me!!! I struggle with these same concerns on a daily basis. Feel like I am doing so much that I do none of it well and then I get overwhelmed and feel like I am drowning!! My common areas are totally filled with piles of stuff and I can't keep up ! Btw my Chinese New Year decorations are still up and I just out my valentines on top of the CNY! I have very sentimental vintage hatchets that I fill with cherry candy that never even got put out this year- that is soooo unlike me but I am just zapped this year! After our Christmas stuff goes away I have a collection of Snowmen I put out- this year the weather was been so horrific that if I can muster the strength they, The CNY and the valentines are going away!!! I think it is too early for the Easter stuff so I'm going to try to get motivated to
    Put out St Patty's stuff and maybe treat myself bright springy daffodils! Nice to know we are not alone!! But it is totally overwhelming and I only have one tween a husband and a puppy!!!!!

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  13. Oh Kim as happens so often, this post totally sparks to me!!! I have the same concerns and am feeling totally overwhelmed with trying to keep up at home. Everywhere I turn I see a pile of something that needs to be out somewhere but where and when can I get to it??? BTW it is comforting to know I am not alone- I still have my Chinese New Year banner up and just put the valentines banner right over rop of it!!!! My lanterns are still up and all my valentines! I have a set of very sentimental vintage hatchets that I usually fill with cherry candies and put out on Presidents day- bought the candies but never got the hatchets filled or put out-first time that has ever happened. I'm just feeling overwhelmed this year. After Christmas I decorate with a collection of Snowman which I typically keep out until "spring". We have had such a horrific winter in the NE this year that I am DONE with the snowmen!!! Hoping to get motivated this weekend to take down CNY, valentines and "winter"!!! Im trying to motivate myself with the promise of some bright springy daffodils!!!!!! Thanks again for your post and for sharing the hard stuff too!!!!

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  14. My eyes are filled with tears. Thank you for this post. I work part time as a children's therapist in my own two children's school. The past few weeks have been challenging, and exhausting. It's left me feeling very drained each evening, which leaves me feeling guilty as a wife and mother. I will pray for you, as I'm also praying for me. God will give us strength and guidance.

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    1. I am praying for you too Thank you!!

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Thank you for your kindness.