Inspiration · Life · Society

Giving Grace

A few months ago, I watched my niece moderating as her young sons played a game. They were doing the usual banter kids do in competition: calling each other out on the rules, watching to make sure the other didn’t gain some advantage in a way that was not “fair,” often with the admonition, “You can’t do that!” And finally, “Mom!”

She intervened gently, saying, “Why don’t you give him grace for that? Remember, he gave you grace before on that other turn?”

I could tell that this is something they had talked about before. Both boys understood “grace” as part of their family dynamic. Sometimes you give it and sometimes it is given to you. It keeps the peace and keeps the game going.

I have thought about this often in the context of our adult relationships. There is power in the ability to give grace. Most of the time, it costs nothing, sometimes, it costs a lot. Sometimes it is easy to give, done almost without a second thought. Other times,it is very hard, and we wonder if our grace is being taken advantage of. It takes effort, and trust, and something like love to give grace with no expectation that it will be returned, or with the certain knowledge that it will not.
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Family · Inspiration · Life · Organization

Short lesson on Being Enough

Spoiler: You ARE.

You’ve worked super long hours three days in a row. You’ve handled several items of personal paperwork that HAD to be done. You’ve done the emotional work of making sure everyone in the family is heard and appreciated and reminded that you love them. You’ve been there on the phone for a friend who is facing a huge disappointment. You have screened calls from three other friends, letting them know by text that you’ll talk soon. You’ve filled prescriptions. You’ve bought food. You’ve cleaned the litter box.

You’re spiraling. There is no time, NONE, for anything except the next thing. You are struggling with making your daily “Finish Strong” checklist and getting into bed at the time you must in order to be functional the next day.

Your introvert self is screaming for some time alone to gather your energy and recharge.

How do you take stuff off your mental plate, when EVERYTHING needs to be done?

First, realize that you CAN’T do everything. Your work stuff must get done, and it must get done by deadlines. You have to put other things on the back burner, just for now. The trick is to write those things down, even the most minor of things that take up space in your inner brain schedule, and then let them go until they come up on your calendar, or you can delegate them to someone else (Always plan to check back on your delegated tasks). Make a form text that says, “Hey, I’m sorry about the telephone tag, but work/life is crazy. I’ll call you back on (date).” Only send this when it is true, and DO call on the date you say you will.

Second, say NO to anything new. When you’re already at max mental and physical effort, DON’T take on anything else. Even if it’s something you think you want to do, you won’t want to do it when it is time. The hours in a day are finite. Sleep, as part of your self-care, is non-negotiable. The solution is saying NO in the first place, not cutting corners on things you have already committed to in order to cram something else in. Be impervious to guilt. You are good enough. You are better than good enough. You are kicking ass.

Third, don’t spiral. YOU are in control. Mental effort spent worrying and stressing about not getting things done is wasted energy. Use positive self-talk to reassure yourself that you are on top of this, you control your time and choices, and you are doing great. If you forget something, apologize, forgive yourself and move on. Remember to write things down, and carry your list, journal or whatever with you, and check it often.

Last, as you begin to get past the crunch, start scheduling downtime. Schedule time to write, journal, take photographs, paint, play music, craft or whatever re-fuels you. NOW you must prioritize those blocks of time. Say NO without explanation. Hire a sitter without guilt. Your scheduled downtime is important, just as important as any other responsibility or task. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for getting low on energy and re-charging. Re-charging is what fuels your super power of great focus and persistence during the busy times.

Don’t compare yourself to other people. Everyone is good at looking like they’ve got it together. It is one of our major talents. Don’t fall for it.

If this sounds like advice from an expert who has it all together and sails through life, never faltering, or screwing up, or bursting into tears of frustration and exhaustion, it most certainly isn’t. All these things are what I know I should do, not what I DO do. But writing them down is a coping therapy in itself, helping me to pull out of a dive when one happens.

Say it with me: It’s hard, but I’ve got it. I am enough.

Nonsense

Moms of adult sons: Advice, please.

How long is appropriate to follow your sons’ exes on social media?

Don’t judge me! I’m not stalking. Just occasionally a picture or comment shows up on my feed. And I’m only talking about the serious relationships; the ones who were in our lives for a significant time. They did not become daughters-in-law, but I was absolutely sizing them up for the role, as one does.

Now, certainly, when they marry someone else, yes, I get that.

But what about before that? In my defense, I have no daughters, and these young women are my window into Millennial Woman World. Besides, my boys have good taste! These women are funny and intelligent, and their views on life are interesting.

So, what say you, moms? What’s the “don’t get creepy” cut-off?

Family

An introvert and an ADD kid went to college orientation…

I’ll skip to the end and say that, yes, he registered for classes. We don’t know what they are, because he was so stressed out by the end of it all that he forgot to print a copy of the final schedule. But he got classes. 13 hours, supposedly, which is what I had hoped for.

But, oh my god, college orientation???? Two full days of non-stop over-stimulation and massive, massive information overload. Introductions, large session, small groups, go here, go there, read this, be sure your child does this, don’t worry, it’s all on the website, time’s up, Q & A, time to eat again, bus tour, pep rally (no, thank you), be back at 7:00 am to meet your kid and get his luggage, then start over. Continue reading “An introvert and an ADD kid went to college orientation…”