My husband works odd and long hours and I work two to three jobs depending on the day. Sometimes, when J is off in the mornings, he drives and picks me up for school. We call this carpool our “coffee date.” Because sometimes we don’t get to see each other a whole lot during the day, it’s nice to reconnect and chat and hold his hand on the 15 minute journey to my church where I work weekdays. Today when I picked me up, I shuffled into the car and immediately checked my work email for my other job– 17 new messages in 3 hours. How is that possible? And then I remembered the other list in my head– the homeowner and cat owner and wife-things list: grocery shopping. No food in the house. Finished the bread last night. I guess in the hurried haze of work I forgot that we have to eat. Why do humans have to eat so much? Dishes in the sink still. Photo editing. Sorting through closets for autumnish clothes. I swiped my phone silent and kind of looked at J for a moment. “I can’t do all of this,” I said. “I am juggling fiercely and there are just too many balls in the air. Like– what are we going to eat for lunch? I really wish I could do it all– the working and the cleaning and the grocery shopping– but I can’t.” He laughed for a moment and in his understated heroic fashion replied, “It’s okay. I can get groceries and make lunch.” He dropped me off at home fast so that I could declutter my inbox. 20 minutes later (and at least 10 emails later) I heard the door downstairs creak; I heard cupboards and refrigerator doors open and close; I heard the clattering of dishes unpiling and the hum of the dishwasher.
I sighed relief and continued typing, untangling the problem of the emails.
I guess what I realized today is this: that sometimes it’s okay to ask for help. I can’t– we can’t– physically, emotionally, or spiritually do it all. We have to draw the boundary lines of “enough” somewhere– and the things that are too much? Let them go. Or if they do need to get done– ask for help. Or if you don’t have the help– maybe there is a way to work smarter instead of harder. For instance– did you know grocery stores bring orders straight to your car nowadays and Amazon can deliver in 2 hours? What a time to be alive.
And this, too– preaching to myself, mostly– remembering what is important is different from what is urgent. I remember once a sermon I heard on the significance of priorities. There is not enough time for everything, so decide: what is most important? If eating healthy is a priority to you and your family, you will carve the time to plan and shop and make that happen. Because you know– sometimes eating becomes urgent when your tummy is rumbling after work and when you don’t plan well– the urgent can lead to a bad choice. I am this person– the one who often chooses the urgent over the important– and here I am coming clean with my struggle to plan, make good choices, manage my home while checking the blocks of work and wife.
I am learning slowly through life: we can fill our schedule with good things, or we can fill our schedule with the best things. What do you need help with while you set out to accomplish those best things? We can delegate, hire someone, ask for a hand. And if the best thing is to go out and do something you love or spend time with someone you love and the house is messy? Is cleanliness always close to godliness? Can the laundry can wait sometimes? And the email? Maybe not always. But, while someone else can clean your house or help with the work tasks, only you can pursue your passion or go on a coffee date with someone you love–
described here in more detail: https://anneryandempsey.com/2016/03/16/oh-the-things-i-have-to-do/
And thank you– thank you so much– to the willing helpers. You are valued, appreciated, loved.
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