Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My Biggest Regret and My Biggest Fear

I'm an idealist. As I've discovered time and again, combining naiveté and idealism makes for an interesting, challenging and usually doomed-to-fail reality. As many women do, before I had kids, I had firm ideas about how I would raise my own children. As we started raising them and now homeschooling them, I've been confronted by every single one of my weaknesses.

I think I assumed, in my pre-kid days, that my weaknesses would magically disappear when I had kids.  Strangely, or rather, predictably, they did not. Most notably here, my inability to stick with a self-imposed schedule. I simply do not have the self-discipline (and I get queasy thinking about how I can't pass along what I don't possess.  I'm so sorry, kids.)

I'm reminded by many that I have a lot of [other] gifts. But to me who knows and sees my weaknesses played out nearly every hour of every day, those gifts: home improvement projects, cooking, thriftiness, etc. seem insignificant when I remember my lofty ideals which are now buried under a thick layer of dust in the back of my head.

When I glance wistfully at those ideals, occasionally wiping off the cobwebs of thousands of days of neglect, I feel a twinge of sadness that I haven't even really tried. I've looked at them, and been frightened away by the monster of my own weakness; the one that tells me that I'm doomed to failure so it's best not to try. And the sad part is, it may be probably is true. I really do believe it. I may will fail and I don't want to. I'd rather just leave them buried under cobwebs, reserved to the category of unattainable ideals. What does that say about me? I'm a wimp, I guess.

And I'm not just a wimp, but I'm afraid that if I try to achieve some of those ideals, I'll be confronted by even more weaknesses - the ones that reveal that I'm bored with life, or I don't like spending all that time and energy on my own young children, or that my life is simply one long repetitive schedule. (Which, btw, was one reason I was turned off by the idea of convent life. I couldn't abide the idea of the same schedule day-in-and-out for the rest of my life.) 

...and yet apparently it's what I crave.

But you know what I'm doing right now? I'm avoiding even writing this list of the things I've held as ideal practices, because naming them would "out" me and make me feel like perhaps it's time to try.

So, here I go in no particular order:

Family sit-down breakfast
Morning prayer including personal prayer time for the kids
Noon Angelus
Daily exercise routine for me
Daily exercise routine for the kids
Set snack time and kitchen CLOSED between meals/snacks
A cleaning schedule for the entire house
Regularly scheduled field trips
Early bedtime
Getting up before the kids
Regular one-on-one time with each of the kids
Regular dates with my hubby
Regular outings with other ladies
Volunteering in some helpful capacity, perhaps with the kids, perhaps solo

And all these things, when written down, seem so do-able, until I'm confronted for the millionth time, with the fact that I can not stick to a schedule. I can spend hours making a beautiful and elaborate schedule - or minutes making a simple and dare-I-say "doable" schedule. But after a day or two or maybe even a week of working it, I decide that today I'm too tired, or the baby throws it off, or the tantrumming child is sapping my resolve, or someone is sick. ...Or I just don't want to because it doesn't inspire me, and it's just so monotonous.

And so I get to this point where I don't even want to try, because if I don't try, I can't fail, and if I can't fail, it can remain a pristine, if dust-covered, stack of ideals. ...and the monster of my failures can remain locked up a little longer.


Reenie said...

I would argue that one of the biggest things here is that the evil one always wants to taunt our failures in front of us and make us lose hope.

For me, I also have lofty ideals, plans, dreams, scheduling desires. And then the reality beats me up. What I've learned about for myself is to take baby steps. Rather than taking on that whole lofty list, pick two for this month. Two things you're going to work on. And then notice and REJOICE in the progress of working on those two things, rather than being dejected about not being able to do it all perfectly every time. That's what I call a #superhumanfail. Embrace the humanity. (Yes, I am certainly the pot calling the kettle black).

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