Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Confessions of a Frog Killer

I have been flattening frogs every day this week. Or maybe toads. I can't ever remember how to tell them apart. But even if I did know how, I would not be stopping to examine the amphibious pancakes decorating my driveway.

I feel really bad about it, but apparently, frogs (toads?) like to hop around in the moonlight around 5:30 am. And that is precisely when I am grabbing my scriptures, swiping on some lipstick and backing up the minivan to head to Seminary. Splat.

Needless to say, the children are disgusted with me.

Frogs (toads?) are not the only ones feeling flattened around here. Although I am thrilled to be back to the structure of a school year, I find it uber-exhausting. I forgot how the clock ticks so much faster in September. I forgot how afternoon kindergarten chops up a day. I forgot about soccer practice and reading logs and back-to-school nights.

I want to do it all--teach, volunteer, exercise, create, clean, organize, read, rest, write, learn, play, save, spend, serve--but the evershrinking autumn daylight just doesn't stretch to cover it all.

As a new stay-home-mom, I remember feeling completely terrified of the unstructured day. Hours loomed before me like a giant baby blanket spread upon the floor with no beginning, middle or end. I worried about losing control, wearing pj's all day, becoming addicted to The Price is Right. So I printed up schedules, joined a gym, signed up for mommy-and-me, cleaned while listening to educational CD's, and got organized.

These days I'm on the lookout for ways to slow down. It's tough. I've gotten pretty good at time management and multi-tasking, but the people in my life aren't tasks. They don't like being checked off a list. This morning I chose to sit with Emily at the piano as she practiced. The breakfast dishes didn't get done according to my usual time-frame. But where exactly is it written that the Cinnamon Toast Crunch has to be out of sight before 7:55 am?

And where is it written that bedtime stories are only for bedtime? Instead of helping me make my bed, this morning the Twinks got under the covers with me and we read Jack and the Beanstalk and A Sister for Sam. It was a cozy start on a rainy Wednesday and nobody died because the bed wasn't tidied by ten.

If there is any lesson to be learned in September, it is that time flies. Colors change. Days shrink. I don't want my life measured by the length of my To Do lists. Busiest does not equal best. My goal is to consciously carve out moments to do the things that matter. With the ones who matter.

Jake is the only one who hasn't had such a moment today. But I think he'd be thrilled if I woke him tomorrow at five, gave him a flashlight and joined him on the driveway to rescue a few fortunate frogs (toads?). It just might help me feel a little better, too.

22 comments:

diane said...

I love your insight and the way you express yourself. You really are wise beyond your years...even if you squish a few toads.

♥Shally said...

Oh, Gab.

I needed this reminder.

My week has been horrible, and I feel like I am burning the candle at both ends. I don't want my kids to remember me as a rushed mom the flies by them.

Thanks. :)

Annie said...

Amen, sista! I feel just the same way. I was just telling someone that I like summer Annie way better than September Annie. I'll bet my kids do, too.

jessica said...

Thanks for reminding me that my kids aren't tasks. If they could...they would thank you too.

Sorry your driveway is covered in frog guts...that's pretty gross.

Amanda D said...

I SO needed this today. Thankyou a million times over. Enjoy your frog hunting and story reading.

Celia Fae said...

We have the exact same life, except you are about a month behind me. Can you believe how crazy school is?

Melissa said...

Lovely post. It is too easy to forget the forest through the trees.

Dancin Queen said...

Such a great post. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Beautiful insights, as always!

the wrath of khandrea said...

i know i'm missing the point on this fabulously accurate and well-written post... but...
did you know that frogs and toads carry ticks on their backs? therefore, they often have tiny open sores on their flesh. if you take a handful of salt, and throw it at the frogs, it will land on their backs and sting their flesh wounds in a way that forces them to jump off seeking cool refreshment in the grass. which is not on you driveway.

calibosmom said...

Can I copy and paste this post on my blog? It's exactly how I feel anyway...
I love Frog & Toad!

Annemarie said...

Thank you, Gab!

Like my wise sister, I love your ability to express yourself. You can put things into words so much better than I can.

Jenibelle said...

This is why I adore you Gabi.

Ilene said...

Better a frog than a miniature horse (see my blog for the full story).

I need to do better at accepting the fact that my floor is going to be dirty for the next ten years.

Travelin'Oma said...

You are so good at learning the lessons on time. I learn them in retrospect, when it's too late to actually change my behavior. I may have passed on the organizing/stay-on-schedule gene in too big of a dose. But you seem in control, remembering to lighten up and enjoy the fleeting time of life you're in. It's very wise to realize kids shouldn't be treated like tasks. You're the best.

Christie said...

Beautifully said, and exactly what I aspire to do, and somehow manage to not. I'm going to get better at the doing part.

And, um, I promise not to tell Chase about the murdered frogs/toads if you won't. It's the unforgivable sin in his world.

Lauren in GA said...

Murderer.

Just kidding. Gabi, seriously, thank. you.

I am feeling much the same way. Down to the stress of the reading logs. Thank you for your example, you are right, there doesn't have to be a time frame to make beds or clear breakfast dishes. I need to enjoy my kids and sometimes I want to just check things off of my list. It isn't right if I have a mental breakdown if somebody spills something and all I can think is, "Great, now I have to do extra laundry and scour the floor and I am already so behind schedule." I have been crying over spilled milk, literally.

Thank you for writing this. You are right.

I loved the giant baby blanket analogy.

martha corinna said...

You are right.

I've been whittling and whittling away. We are down to only what is absolutely necessary (sometimes that is just too much). School, clean home (peace settles better in our home when there is a place to settle), cooking, and church. That's it. I'm not a super woman, I'm not exciting, and it feels good. My children are thriving with a boring mom who's entertainment comes from collecting praying mantises and gofer snakes.

I'll collect your frogs(toads?) too.

Sally said...

Beautiful, beautiful post.

Lisa-Marie said...

I learn from you EVERY post.

I'm sure I've said it before, but thanks for the gentle reminders.

Rochelleht said...

Boy, do I need that lesson. I am too efficient for my own good these days. Thanks for the reminder to slow down!

cami said...

Whew, so it's ok that my breakfast dishes from yesterday are still in the sink!?!

You're the best, Gabi! Seriously, the best.

We're excited to see Brad tonight - wish you and the kids were here too!

Hazen5 said...

I need to slow down more!

I hate frogs & toads.

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