Narnia might be in my closet…

I am not able to stick to lists.

It doesn’t work. I’ve tried. I suppose that it isn’t exactly that I am not able to, but after a bit I get too concerned with the list and not the things on the list.

I become too concerned that I didn’t do laundry on laundry day.

I didn’t read my Bible during my designated “God time”.

I didn’t make all of the meals that I had written out my meal plan for this week.

Our pastor’s wife said something two nights ago, to which I had to tell myself “duh!” She said that she decided years ago, right after her second daughter was born, that she needs to create expectations for herself that are realistic, based on her life and what she is really able to do. She realized that if she didn’t do this, she typically set herself up to failure.

So… maybe it’s not that I’m not a List Person. Maybe, for me and the lists I was creating, I – who am I finding am like a lot of wives and moms I know and struggle to allow myself to make mistakes, let go of guilt, and give myself grace – was simply creating too high expectations for myself.

I’m sitting here with folded piles of laundry around me for the first time in weeks. Yes, weeks. I don’t even know how many… so it could in fact be a month or more. Laundry is one of my biggest guilt-inducing chores. So, what is realistic for me, with how my life is right now? No, I will probably never have all of the laundry folded (up ’til now, that has been my goal – the place in my laundry-folding world where I will feel accomplished and satisfied with my work – and myself). To be honest, with a 3-month-old, with my Eli, that is not realistic. At the moment, my goal was to fold this one basket of laundry. I did it. The closet still holds a mountain of clothes so huge that I’m starting to worry that Narnia or some other world might have taken up residence there… but for now that’s okay.

Simple

Since our sweet boy has arrived God has been using new mommy-hood to teach me a lot of things.

How to trust Him.

That it is okay to accept help (and even ask for it – something that has always been hard for me to do).

That I don’t need to explain myself, the decisions that my husband and I make, or the situations God has put us in to everyone.

One thing that I am still in the process of learning, even just beginning to grasp, is to just let life be simple. This is hard for me to grasp because, well, I had been trying to make life simple. I’m realizing, at least in this situation and for me, that letting is very different from making.

I know. You are probably thinking “well duh. Making is proactive and letting is passive, of course they are different!” Or maybe not. Maybe you’re more like me… like this…

Before Eli was born, I started some changes that I believed would make life simpler. I tried organizing my time with a priority planner from Creative Counterpart by Linda Dillow. I made a bunch of freezer meals. I cooked more than we needed as often as I could and froze most of the leftovers. I started couponing. I did all sorts of things.

I LOVE doing all of these things! And they really do help. While I’m not actively using the priority planner at this time in my life, I believe that I think about each of my priorities in a healthier way now. Batch cooking is my new love, perhaps even a hobby! My freezer meals (while we haven’t had to use them everyday) got us through the rest of November, all of December, and I still have a couple loaves of bread and some soup left. Couponing is great and I feel as though even though I quit working and Eli has had some extra expenses that we didn’t expect, I am helping my husband in a small way by being wise (and trying to be smart and creative) about purchases.

However… sometimes my efforts to make life be simpler, trying to fit everything together perfectly how I think they should fit and when and where… all becomes so complicated that life is no longer simple, even though simple was what I was striving for!

Sometimes I don’t get to everything in my week that I “should” have. Sometimes I don’t even do things in the order-of-priorities that I thought I should. Sometimes the kitchen doesn’t get cleaned (or I don’t get a shower!) even though we have guests coming over, and sometimes the laundry doesn’t get folded for 2 weeks. Sometimes it’s impossible to cook (or do anything but hold my baby) until my husband gets home and then that crock pot recipe has to be put off ’til next week (or indefinitely). Sometimes couponing takes longer than actual shopping and I regret how I spent my day later…

This is where I am learning to let life be simple instead of making it so. I’m learning that at this time in our lives, I need to let Eli decide what we do for the day… and as I’m stuck to the couch with my baby boy who only wants to nap on me, I realize that here is exactly where I want to be. We might have Spaghettios for dinner, and we might have to wash a few bowls because I forgot to turn the dishwasher on, but instead of handing Eli to his daddy and then rushing around the kitchen trying to make the “perfect” meal in order to be the “perfect” wife… I get to actually be with my wonderful, amazing, selfless and patient husband and really be who I am supposed to be – his wife.