Thursday, August 4

Feelings vs. Duty

Our family is going through a transition...and it's come upon us more quickly than I had anticipated.  We are transitioning into a VERY busy time.  Not that our life is anywhere near placid, but now it's starting to look almost frantic.  My husband is applying for seminary for the spring, we are both taking classes this fall, I just got a part-time job one day a week, the Good News Club our church sponsors is beginning again, and our boys will be turning 2 and 1 in August and October (respectively).  Add to the heavy load the fact that our classes, my job, and the Good News Club all start the same week (coincidentally the week of Monkey's 2nd birthday) and you have a recipe for disaster!  Oh, and all this on top of our regular responsibilities to jobs/church groups.

It has become clear to me in the last few days that this isn't just going to least the transition won't be anything but horrible without a little planning and change of attitude for me.  I need to have a plan...a plan for how to accomplish my primary job as wife/mother/home manager without feeling too overwhelmed, plans for what we will eat on days I'm too tired to cook, and a plan on how to organize my days/weeks that will make this transition easier on my kids.

The other major change is something that needs to happen quickly, and I'm very lucky that God has already begun this work in my heart.  I need to change how I approach life.  Wow.  Writing it out makes is sound impossible, but I'm thankful that I don't have to tackle the task alone!

As a woman (yes, I am saying that men and women are different...please don't hate me) I have fallen into the easy task of allowing my feelings to dictate much of my day/life.  As a single lady, it didn't matter.  I could do whatever I wanted as long as I still was able to pay my bills.  As a married woman, there was a bit more accountability and responsibilities began increasing, but it wasn't a whole lot different.  Becoming a mother...well that changed things much more significantly.  I had a tiny person who depended on me for EVERYTHING..and that's a sobering reality.  I couldn't just sleep in because I felt like, I needed to get up or the baby couldn't eat.  I couldn't just lay around all day eating ice cream or watching tv or forget to eat all day because there was a little one that I was a) needing to provide nourishment to via breastmilk and b) I needed to set an example for my kids.  SO my life started to shift from being lived based on my feelings to being lived based on a sense of duty and responsibility.

This point hit home the other day when James and I were watching Mark Gungor talking about the feminization of men in our society (check out this article for his input and this article for more evidence).  Now while this argument is aimed at men, I felt that this was important for me to remember also...not to such a high degree as a man (because, let's face it, many women are improved by being attentive to their feelings) but it's important for me to remember that I also have a responsibility.  If I sat around all day online and didn't pick up after the kids, clean up messes, or go to the store and James came home and got upset that I had been home all day and hadn't accomplished anything...well it would be a little ridiculous for me to cry to him that I didn't feel like it and he shouldn't get upset about that.  It would be like your boss getting upset that you didn't accomplish anything all day at work and then you getting upset with him for yelling at you.  Don't you think you maybe deserved a little frustration on the part of your boss/spouse?

So I need to be more honest with myself.  While I may not *feel* like cleaning after I get off work, or cooking ahead when I have free time.  Doing so will make my days and weeks run much more smoothly.  Being aware that I have a duty to these commitments is paramount!  I think that feeling like doing these things will come after a while, and all the better!  But until that magic time comes...I'm heading into a time where I will be responsible because I have a plan ahead because that's what's best for my family...whether I feel like it or not.

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