We've had the August rains here in Juneau and we were blessed this past week, during the later half, with some beautiful sunny days. This was wonderful because my third daughter turned five and there was just lots of celebrating outside to do....
We ate outside.
Played on outside playgrounds.
Being 30 weeks pregnant, I usually find a spot outside to sit and watch my littles enjoying themselves. My belly is a good resting place...
Except...after three days of outside in a row...going places...and sitting...I find myself...well...exhausted.
I'm reading this laughing, "I get exhausted sitting?"
Well, I do.
Every time we leave our home, there is just the whole "leaving" dance and that takes energy. Physical energy but also a whole planning/disaster preparedness mindset that takes thought and more energy as one packs. I love the playing and enjoying part and narrate in my head to myself how awesome my outdoor littles are but then there is the whole "pack up and go home" dance. There are wet clothes. I'm thirsties. Counting to __ with some threat if they don't obey. Energy my friends.
It doesn't sound like anything too exciting...but there I am all spent... exhausted.
Not just exhausted. I start getting irritable. The words out of my mouth have a certain...edge to them. I am honestly like a ticking bomb, ready to go off on terribly minor things. I resemble a three year old who desperately needs a nap and some quiet time.
I could blame it on pregnancy hormones, which...I do....BUT these situations of mommy cranky-ness are so often at times I would say there is a certain PREDICTABILITY to it all.
I am old enough, by now, to KNOW MY LIMITS.
Friday night after all of our shenanigans of running around so that we could "enjoy" the outdoors was over, I decided Saturday we were not going ANYWHERE. We have a pretty nice set up right here at our home. I was relieved with how doable this no car day seemed as I awoke that morning to a slight chill in the air with a bit of an overcast sky. Perfect!
Late morning I sat in an oversized preggo turtle neck and fleece leggings with my daily mug of creamer with a tad bit of coffee and watched my two year old son play in the driveway. My son's godmother stopped by to sit awhile and chat. How nice that I was here and that when she called I could say, "Yes, please swing by we are here all day." Even my eldest daughter announced, as she went back to her room to paint and listen to her books on cd that "We are not going anywhere today."
The hours passed, and soon I was settling my two year old into his after lunch nap (I always put my legs up a bit then) and well...the sun...the sun came out.
While I was in my bedroom, my daughters devised a plan in that short amount of time to earn swimming at the lake again. The sun had erased all plans to "not go anywhere." Instead, they had decided to DO SCHOOL ON THEIR OWN so they could go swimming (you read that correctly, school on their own).
I know right??? When I walked into the family room, they had put my five year old through her ABC cards and were asking where their cursive books were. They pleaded with me..."Can we PLEASE go to Twin Lakes?!? We are trying to earn it! We thought you might let us!"
I did the whole "let me think about it" routine.
My seven year old would come to me every five minutes..."have you thought about it?"
I thought about that paragraph I wrote a few lines up...about how predictable this all was, and that, by the end of this pleasant day, I would be spent...again.
So...much to their dismay...
I said no.
No and some very long faces...I believe a tear or two may have been shed.
No...followed with a ....we can have fun here.
And here it is my friend....
Let's try to build a family culture of being able to create fun by staying put.
It is way easier to feed them all by staying put as well.
There are so many adventures awaiting us in our own neighborhoods, in our own backyards...especially if you live here.
I think we can all pat ourselves on the backs if we are able to have a "no car" day and still have fun. News flash! This is what women did for GENERATIONS before we got our kitchen gadgets and mini vans and busy-ness.
My friend Janet said her mother of ten never went anywhere with all her children, besides Mass on Sundays, the children went to school and generally played outside. Aren't the best novels written by people who grew up as children left to their own devices?
I'm convinced we are doing our little ones a favor when we set limits and stick to them. And I don't think this lesson is only applicable during a third trimester in one's fifth pregnancy.
I think we see the energy of our children get drained when we've been to one too many Halloween costume parties. We may have entertained one night too many for our introverted husband to manage. When the housework is uncomfortably far behind, and we are giving our best to others and our loved ones get the leftovers...we have to think of our limits.
Perhaps you all are already really good at knowing your limits. Thanks for sticking with me. I'm told by mothers of teenagers that this work of staying put becomes harder as their children pursue their interests outside of the home. If we mommies of little ones see this on the horizon, maybe by exercising control over these limits now, we'll be more seasoned at saying "no" when those predictable moments (when we've reached our limit) are in front of us in the future.
God Bless You! Thank you for stopping by xxoo