We’ve been having a difficult time getting going in the morning. It seems like, no matter what I do, somebody (and by somebody, I mean the 3-year-old and/or the 11-year-old) throws a wrench into the flow, everything gets all jacked up, and we’re late for school. Uh-gain.
Anyone who has tried to get more than two people ready and out the door by a certain time each morning knows just how crazy-making it can be. This particular cross is a legit reason, in and of itself, to homsechool, in my humble opinion.
Anyway, in an effort to retain what thread of sanity I have left and to hopefully improve my blood pressure, I’ve been working on streamlining our routine for the past couple of months. Here’s what we’ve been doing:
- Clothes are selected, backpacks are packed, lunches are mostly made, and shoes and jackets are located THE NIGHT BEFORE.
- Breakfast is over at 7 o’clock sharp, unless you’re age 3 and under and just woke up.
- The three away-from-home school kids each rotate through dressing, teeth-brushing, hair-fixing, and last-minute lunch prep after breakfast. We have a rule that no two kids may be doing the same thing at the same time, because that’s just asking for trouble.
- I help the 2-year-old and the 3-year-old get breakfast and get dressed, unless, by some miraculous occurrence, I can get one of the older kids to help.
The above plan has been working-ish, but we had a major problem this past Friday morning resulting in me falling on the garage steps and sniffling all the way to school and texting my husband that, yet again, SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!!!!!
After talking it over with my other half, the new routine was implemented today: all schoolkids must be dressed and have their lunches completely made before they eat breakfast. And Mommy is in charge of the babies, as usual. Sounds promising, right?
Except … today our schedule was hijacked because … wait for it … I had to go to the bathroom.
What was I thinking??!
Mere moments after I put the 11-year-old in charge, the 3-year-old was running full tilt up the stairs into my bathroom with her eldest sister in hot pursuit.
Man. Someday I will be able to toilet in peace.
Anyway, I will spare you the gory details, but the end result was me, blood boiling, fake-smiling my way through buckling car seats, and pretty much yelling at the older kids regarding listening and caring and helping. Yeah. I get the irony.
I think I might have asked them if they wanted me to suffer from a heart attack and die. Not my finest moment.
Once the kids were safely off to school (five minutes late, but who’s counting?), I texted my BFF and said, “I never knew how far from holiness I really was ’til I started having kids.”
There’s just nothing like having to wake up early after a restless night’s sleep to feed, clothe, corral, nurse, transport, educate, negotiate, soothe, bathe, train, love, discipline, and nurture five sweet, demanding, unbelievably loud and infinitely beautiful little souls to show you just how doggone self-centered you really still are. Especially when the kid who just had a rough time at the doctor’s office wants your snack. After he’s already eaten his.
But I digress.
Having children is like turning on a ginormous spotlight and putting a big, fat mirror in front of your face while hearing a voice sneer, “Neener-neener! You thought you were getting it all together, but this [insert crazy stressed Mom behavior] is how you really are!!”
Reflecting on the tumult of the morning and my response to it, I thought, “These children will be the death of me.”
I sat with that thought for a moment ” … the death of me …” It sounds simply horrible, doesn’t it? Perfectly wretched! But, upon further reflection, I considered what those words really meant and figured, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEED.
Anything within me that isn’t love needs to die: the despair; the pride; the selfishness; the anger; the need to control; the fear of failure; the ego-centrism; the entitlement; the lack of gentleness, generosity, and compassion. Just like a really good clearance sale, everything must go.
The Bible tells us that God prunes those whom He loves. And to get to the essence of who I am as His child, to be more a more perfect reflection of Him, I must be pruned. A lot. Which means He must love me an AWFUL lot. Because the pruning? It often feels terribly awful and horrifically painful. Because those who bear the pruning sheers aren’t always gentle, and I’m not always (okay – hardly ever) predisposed to receiving the trimming I need.
But my Heavenly Father knows me well enough to know, as I like to joke, that it would take these five little people to get loud and crazy me to crave silence with Him in Adoration, and to really and truly lean on Him as I’d never leaned before – almost so far that I thought I’d fall over. He knows. Because He knows me. And He loves me. And He’s patiently waiting to see the good fruits that will be borne from this time of pruning as I remain in Him.
I think it’s time to go get some gardening gloves.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Remain in Me, and you will bear much fruit.” -John 15:5