Like the sweet husband he is, he sat down beside me and asked, “can I do anything for you?” He at least figured out that I was a bit overwhelmed. I responded with my normal smile and “no thank you dear” and continued to enjoy my moment of stillness.
The day had ended, the kids were in bed, and I was left sitting in my living room surrounded with laundry, dishes piling up in the kitchen, ambitions to write another blog post in my distant mind’s eye, and an anticipation to go to sleep without a productive step being taken. This was a likely place to find me.
Most of the time I am able to move on, enjoy life, and brush it all off until the morning, but for some reason it was all getting under my skin that evening. The to-do list has a tendency to do that from time to time.
It did not take long before my half-fake smile to my husband turned into vomiting my overwhelming thoughts into his lap. “I just can’t get it all done,” was my first thought. “I do not really want to get it all done,” was my second thought. “When will I get to do the things that I love,” was the conclusion to my sob moment and the honest plea of my heart.
Like the handy man he is, my husband proceeded to fix it all. “Let’s find a solution to your problem,” he said, and we dove head first. We went chore by chore and longing by longing until he discovered a little gem. It was a little nugget of wisdom and freedom to my soul.
“Honey, I want you to focus on what ONLY you can do,” came rushing out of his mouth.
“Maybe he might want to take that back,” was the first thought that went through my head (knowing that might increase HIS chore list).
The more we talked, the more freedom I found. Yes, I will still have to do laundry and dishes, but I needed to hear from him that they DO NOT have to be my priorities. He doesn’t mind that the dishes are in the sink. He doesn’t care if the bed is made. He doesn’t have to have a gourmet meal every evening. He can do the dishes. My kids can sweep the floor. Wow, what a concept. I DO NOT have to do it all, and I DO NOT have to do it all RIGHT NOW.
That phrase continues to go through my head now throughout the day. I start to do a chore and ask myself, “does this need to be done right now?” Sometimes the answer truly is “YES.” I ask myself, “can someone else do this?” If the answer is “yes,” I ask them to do it (without guilt). If the answer is “no,” I do it and rejoice.
Asking myself these questions frees me up to spend more time with my husband or kids, focus on home school, write, craft, or just be me with a cup of coffee in my hand. It also keeps me out of auto-pilot (running from one chore to the next while my family watches wishing for connection with me.)
I even discovered the art of ordering groceries and clothes online without breaking the bank! Wow. Did I just say that? I have to just stop for a moment and be more clear. I discovered that sometimes, someone else can even grocery shop for me. I don’t think I can describe to you the excitement in my heart when my groceries were dropped off to me as my kids and I played baseball in the yard. I did not have to take my 3 kids to the grocery store or sacrifice my time with my husband to go shopping at night. (FYI..several of the local grocery stores deliver for a small cost, or many of them give you free delivery if you are flexible on your delivery time.)
It was a revelation. A glorious moment. A time to dance for all of us.
Focus on the things ONLY you can do is my new motto. I love it. I love my husband for saying it. I need help doing life. I do not have to do it all. I can do what I love. It is a simple truth, yet a moment of freedom.
Doing what I love to do instead of the dishes right now,