Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Freedom + Joy

I'm feeling reflective.

I just want to write, even though I'm not sure I know what's going to come out as I type. How's that for the freedom that words really do give us?

This morning I was skimming a book I'm sort of reading. I say sort of reading because it's more like I'm flipping through it and just reading the parts that interest me. It's about motherhood and writing -- two of my favorite topics -- but some of the writing prompts are geared toward mothers with older children. Even like a few years older. I mean, I still give people my daughter's age in months.

When does that stop anyway? I'm thinking at 18 months I'll start saying, "She's 1 1/2 years old."

"Gently remind yourself that life is okay the way it is, right now. In the absence of your judgment, everything would be fine. As you begin to eliminate your need for perfection in all areas of your life, you'll begin to discover the perfection in life itself." -Richard Carlson, as quoted in "Writing Motherhood"

I like perfectionist are probably always perfectionist. At least that instinct to control and plan and know the details is always there. But I do think we can change. I'm so thankful for the grace to change.

And, you know, I think I'm less of a perfectionist than I was 14 months old. My daughter has transformed me in so many ways. Some obvious. Some I'm just realizing. And I'm sure others I won't realize for years and years. But she has made me a better person. A person that I'm really enjoying getting to know.

I don't really talk to myself. But I do spend most of my day with a 14-month-old who has a limited vocabulary. Juice. Dada. Mama. Walk. Ball. Dog. Duck. Bird. That's probably why I'm feeling reflective.

Routine is good. Cate generally sleeps on a fairly predictable routine. I say things like "generally" and "fairly" because I can tell you how it usually is. Usually. We aren't regimented, but I don't sacrifice her naps for much. I like that she has a bedtime. And I love that she likes her bedtime.

Yet with motherhood comes a go-with-flow need that I never possessed. But I'm learning that there is a certain freedom in having a few things on the agenda when I wake up but still having plenty of time to see what happens. Maybe we'll stop at the park and swing. Maybe we'll play in the backyard. Maybe we'll go to the Farmer's Market to get squash.

There are things like dentist appointments and a weekly Bible study that make it onto my calendar. But there are more things that don't ever get scheduled. They just happen. Because I'm learning to go with the flow.

Flowing like that is a freedom I never knew I wanted, maybe even needed.

But it's calmed my heart, slowed my stress and given me a joy that I used to think came in the big moments. Really it's the small things, the details us perfectionists always love, that create joy. Even if I don't plan just how the details are going to work into my day.


  1. In like ten years when I have a child or maybe two, I think I'll write something along these lines! My siblings always jokingly say they feel bad for my kids because I'm very organized and very list-oriented - so I think learning to go with the flow will be an invaluable lesson.

  2. It is a great lesson. One that i would loose my mind without! Besides having to have a go-with-the-flow attitude, another lesson i couldn't live (sanely) without is to choose my battles. Fussing at every infraction would make me loose my hair. Not to mention send my blood pressure through the roof. I mean, in the long run does it really matter if they sit on the arm of the couch or should i save my fussing for when a certain almost five year old has perfected the art of gagging and vomiting to get himself out of finishing dinner? Which one is worth raising that blood pressure? Not the minor one, that's for sure!