Ready or Not

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The musician Winter break is over, touring season is upon us, and we’re headed back into the road hard pace of life.  My husband is like a kid in a candy store.  New tour, new songs, new venues.  The fans – radio – shows.  Buses, planes, a new city everyday.  His excitement is palpable.  This is what he was created to do.  And, me.  Well, I’m getting there.

If I’m honest, I struggle this time of year.  I’m not ready to give him up just yet.  I’m not ready for chaotic, opposite schedules.  I’m not ready for the change of pace, early mornings, communication by phone and weekends alone.  Then there’s homework, toddler tantrums, baseball, potty training, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping – Oh, and that little thing called work.  It’s overwhelming and the challenge of flying solo gets me every time.

It’s not that I’m not supportive – It’s just that out of the swing of things and I’ve got to get my head in the game.

I would love to tell you that I’ve always handled this season with great grace and humility, but the reality is that many years have been a little more “real housewives” than I’d like to admit.  In more than one instance, I’ve picked fights and tried to make my husband feel oh-so guilty for being out-of-town.  My sassy and smart aleck nature has occasionally been used for spite – like when my husband sends me amazing pictures of venues or scenery, I sometimes, maybe send him pictures of laundry or my children throwing tantrums.   I’ve hidden behind unkind text messages and used my gift of sarcasm for evil.  I’ve thrown the best pity parties around and allowed my head to go to dark places where no good can be found.  But, the truth is I’ve learned a lot in these times and with the help of a good counselor, chocolate, coffee, and Jesus I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for survival of the “I’m not ready”.  You may not share my exact circumstances, but hopefully these tips will cross over into your territory of life.

7.  Fighting tips: Arguments happen, but you can argue smart.

  • Don’t fight when you’re tired.  You won’t make sense and you’ll have to apologize.  That’s the worst.
  • Slow down the conversation.  This is one of the best counseling tips I’ve ever received.  Before you fire off that great comeback, text, or smart aleck picture wait a minute or two – you may change your mind.
  • Try not to fight when you only have limited time. Conversations when my husband is gone are sometimes very short in duration.  I’ve learned to say we need to talk about things and try to somewhat schedule a serious conversation instead of trying to get everything out and make up in 5 minutes.  Believe me, it only makes things worse.

6.  Modern technology is your friend.  Amazon Prime and Kroger CheckList will change your life.

  • If you’ve received a gift from me in the past year, it’s highly likely that I Amazon Primed it.  I just don’t have time in my schedule to physically go to a store and look.  Y’all, I use this for everything – school supplies, toilet paper, everything!!!  I must warn you, however, that this may ruin you and make your patience for indoor shopping intolerable.  amazon.com
  • And, don’t get me started on Kroger CheckList.  Order online with curbside delivery – yes, please!  I’ve got to stop hugging the delivery people, though.  I think it makes them uncomfortable.  Here’s the link Kroger.com – then click on “online shopping”.
  • I also reserve my spot in line for my son’s hair cuts at great clips, tire rotations, etc.  Find your favorite stores and just explore.  You will save time and a lot of frustration.

5.  Sow and Reap.  Now this is a biblical principle for a lot of things in life, but I will apply it very practically here.

  • Plan ahead and prepare as much as you can.  I get book bags ready, clothes laid out, lunches prepared, and baths completed the night before .  I’m not a morning person and sometimes this preparation literally saves me.
  • Meal preparation tips:  you can plan ahead, cook in bulk, and cut up veggies on the weekend or just spend a little extra and buy the pre-cut veggies in the store.  I used to judge the lazy moms in the “pre-cut” section.  But, now when I’ve waited too late for Kroger CheckList, I just high-five my lazy mom friends and move on.
  • Spend a few minutes each night and pick up the clutter a bit.  Honestly, I’m really horrible at this, but I hear it helps.
  • Laundry.  I have no tips for laundry.  It’s evil and of the devil!!!

4.  Take care of yourself.  Eat right, exercise, go to bed early… yada, yada, yada.  Everyone knows this, right?  This is one of the principles that I’ve taught families of my patient’s for years.  You can’t take care of someone else if you don’t take care of yourself.

3.  Get over yourself.

  • If you look back on my list of problems, it was very heavily focused on me.  I hadn’t considered the struggle of my kids or my husband.  Along the same lines, when I focus on me, I listen to the wrong voices and hear “I can’t”.  But, when I change my focus to what God says about me everything changes.  For more on this read my previous blog post  I Think You’re Brave.
  • Advice to those of you who can specifically identify with my situation.  Get out there!  If I haven’t seen my husband play in a while, I lose my focus.  I forget.  But, every time – every single time – I see him play I quickly regain my focus and remember my calling – for more read The Dreamer and The Fuel.

2.  Forgive yourself often and quickly.  You will make mistakes.  You will sometimes abandon all of the above and handle things like a school yard fight.  Ask for forgiveness, forgive yourself, learn from your mistakes, and move on.

1. God loves to use people who are not ready.  This by far the most important.  No matter your calling, you will likely say “I’m not ready” at some point.  One of my favorite examples is Moses.  Exodus 3 tells us that when God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt he said “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” God’s reply “I will be with you”.  Now Moses continues to make excuses much like me.  I’m like:  “Who am I to care for these children alone?  Who am I to manage this house?  Who am I to control this chaos?  God you know me – I’m a sassy, sarcastic smart aleck – Who am I?  God, I literally can’t”  His response, always, “I will be with you”.  There’s not a lot of talk, but a lot of action – he is there, always!

So, ready or not….. here it comes.  That thing, that time, that situation, that season you aren’t ready for.  Keep your chin up, use your resources, sow and reap, take care of yourself, get over yourself, forgive quickly and, most of all, remember you are not alone.  This road is hard, but oh so worth it.  Remember chocolate is good, coffee is necessary, amazon prime is your best friend, and Jesus is all you need!

Mary Ann

 

 

 

 

 

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