Thursday, November 5, 2009

180 Degree Attitude Adjustment

Today is not starting out so well. I'm searching high and low for motivation, patience and some joy in the situation I find myself in.

I have four children at home. I have five if you count the man-sized one. I woke up today feeling utterly miserable. The reason for the miserable feeling was brought about by my fitful night of sleep. Somewhere in my dreams, that man-sized child had a big tantrum, in front of many, many people - most who I knew and were very near and dear to me. The fit that this man-sized child had in my dream was a terrible, awful fit. He ranted on and on about how he was going to quit some job he had because he didn't want to support me anymore. He complained loudly about how he was done being married because it was so not worth it, and he even said I expected too much because I needed help keeping up with the household chores and the homework of four children. Clearly, that was a job only for women, and not for a man who works outside the home, so he was done. He was finished. He was leaving. Or was he shoving me out? I don't quite remember that part because it didn't really matter. What mattered was that feeling of utter shock and humiliation. What also mattered was the fact that I woke up sad, angry and upset, and my poor husband had done none of those things, but I was still upset with him. Well, he hasn't done ALL of those things, but the part about the chores and the homework was pretty realistic. haha!

Wow. It's hard to wake up from a "for real" feeling dream like that and jump to my feet with the excitement of a new day. Especially when I walk out my bedroom door and come face to face with no less than six loads of laundry that I spent all day yesterday sorting, washing and drying so my family would have clean clothes for the next week. I was happy that I'd thought ahead this time, and spent the two days BEFORE a much anticipated trip to the coast doing the laundry instead of the day OF the trip. That's more my style - wait till the last second and then get those last items that we need washed, packed and then we run out the door.

This time, I decided to be ahead of the game and I was oh so proud of my achievements. I even cleaned up each room and cooked dinner early. I might have done more the last few days except I had a kid home sick each day and that was a tiny bit distracting. The problem with doing things ahead of time, and being proud of yourself is that nobody else notices. Instead of folding and putting away all that laundry yesterday, I spent the time between loads making quick bread, rice krispie treats, make-ahead casseroles and such to take on our trip. I don't think I mentioned it yet, but we are dirt, stinkin broke right now and this trip is in no way anything extravagant. We have no plans to dine out, or to take any side trips or do anything special. When I reserved this time about a year ago, I knew that sometime during the bleak months of Fall (bleak to me, not to everyone!) that I'd need a means of escape, and so thinking only of that, I booked this time away. All it takes is a tank of gas - and so far that's all we're planning on spending. The food is coming with us from our own kitchen - food that we'd normally eat, plus whatever goodies I could whip up beforehand. The library has loaned us a half ton of exciting books, and even a few movies the kids haven't seen in ages. Our plan is to do as little as humanly possible, and to just enjoy being together and relaxing, maybe a dip in the pool or a soak in the hot tub, but mostly NO STRESS.

Being ahead of the game this time was a big deal for me! I think there's something about Mother's needing their family to be happy when we plan a family event. Clearly, there is nothing in the rulebooks that says a Father or the kids need for the Mother to be happy though, and it's got me pretty bummed. This morning, I briefly mulled over the idea of just taking this trip by myself - since apparently I'm the only one that is looking forward to it enough to do anything about it. But then God swatted me and encouraged me to stop my stinkin' thinkin'.

Some days - I wish God could just come over and fold laundry. I am looking at my house, and realizing that all those clothes just might have to sit where they are, because all of the sudden each room is messy again, the dinner dishes are still there, and the kitchen needs cleaned up again. Didn't I just do all of that yesterday? It's really no wonder that stay at home Mom's fall into depression more often. It's a pretty thankless job.

Earlier when I thought about how nice it would be to have God come over and fold laundry, you know, something practical and "useful" for me, I got to thinking about how an ungrateful attitude really does tend to make things look worse than they are. Since when does God need to fold my laundry, when he lovingly blessed me with my own two arms to do it myself? And since when does God have to help take care of someone's house, that is lucky enough to have a house at all? My children are abundantly blessed with clothes to wear, and who has the nerve to complain about having to wash it all? Why me, of course.

My purpose of this post was to talk myself out of my grumpiness since I don't have a physical person to talk to (and if you're still reading, well God bless you for being patient with my blatherings!). I know that Satan is sitting at my door, waiting to pounce on me and he encourages me to get mad at my entire family. What is the point of that? Where's the honor, the joy, or the fun?

Today I'm going to give God a break. Instead of wishing he'd come fold my laundry, I'm going to force myself to take this day by the horns. One step at a time. Eat something. Drink something (maybe it's a good day for coffee?). Fold a load. Do the dishes. Fold a load. Sweep the floors (again. haha!). Fold a load. And somewhere in there maybe I can put those clothes away - and then pack and have things somewhat ready to go by the time my family comes home today.

This will give God the time to spend with that mother who is burying her child today, or the father who just lost his job and needs extra attention - not that God isn't everywhere, but it's really not his job to take care of the physical things in my life that I'm able to do - if I just dump the nasty mood. You can bet that I'll still need God to walk me through my day, and I guarantee I'll be asking him to help me push through (because YES, the body is in some major pain after my fall the other day!) but I'll also feel more inclined to allow him to work through me, instead of FOR me.

This thought came to me earlier, and I'm pretty sure I will print it out where I can see it all day!
"A bad attitude always wishes someone else would do the work, but a joyful heart sees blessings in helping others."

I'm off to take a vacation now... and to bless my family.


Amydeanne said...

great post Alexis. I feel like this sometimes too (and have had dreams like that too!) It's so easy to get sucked into instead of working through and gettin gout of the grump!! hugs. hope you have a nice vacation! :)

Katie said...

HELLO me or something!
I am sitting here wishing for someone...anyone to come fold my laundry for me.

Mokihana said...

Wonderful post... I don't have 4 kids, but I remember the days of endless laundry and cooking and cleaning... thinking that the only time anyone noticed is when I didn't do it!

Blessings on your trip.....

purplemoose said...

Ahhh...laundry...I keep telling the boys they'd have less laundry to fold if they'd stop wearing clothes. So far they aren't taking me up on that. :)

purplemoose said...

Oh---now you must post on the trip. Was it wonderful?