Last week a sinus infection caused havoc on my busy week, and just when I heard myself think “THIS IS THE WEEK I GET SICK? OF COURSE IT IS!” I realize that this indeed is the week I needed to get sick. Mr. Miller is short handed at work and therefore very busy, I was hosting bookclub, we were getting ready to go camping for the weekend, I had two lunch dates planned, two appointments scheduled, one dinner for a friend I committed to, and all the other usual stuff like homework, piano, getting to school on time, bedtime routines, and the like. I am a mother of four young children. I really have no business filling up my weeks so much. I learned that lesson the hard way this past week and it has really made me think.
On Tuesday night, as we were setting up Major’s new yellow crib in our room, I felt my face getting sore. I tidied up and willed sickness away the best I could. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like my head would break open any minute. Wednesday I spent as much time in bed as possible (which was probably accumulatively 2 hours, because again, I am the mother of four young children.) We had a busy evening that I powered through with Tylenol and still had big plans to host my book club dinner here the following evening. The next morning, I still felt terrible and realized that something had to give. I tossed my grocery list out the window, texted the girls to meet me at a restaurant that night, and freed up my daily list of to-do’s. One thing I’ve learned is that no one will take care of mama, so mama needs to take care of mama.
When I start feeling out of control, anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, etc. I think about the time in my life that I was the happiest. That thought always lands me smack in the middle of raising my first set of babies, in our old house in a quiet neighborhood we could hardly afford a rental in. Mr. Miller worked so hard to grow his business in those years, and we weren’t to the comfortable years yet. We had so little extra money… and I mean we had NO extra money. That was frustrating at the time, but my goodness, it taught me my life’s most valuable lesson. Simplicity. I wasn’t running through Target in those days, or going out to lunch and dinner for convenience. I was at home with my babies, packing picnics, playing outside, learning to cook dinner, taking pictures… anything I could fill our days up with that was free and fun and fulfilling. I dreamed in those days of the days I’m living now. Owning my own home, having pretty dresses in the closet, being able to afford furniture and things for my home that I love. But those days taught me that happiness doesn’t come from material things – not at all. Happiness comes from a place inside that’s stripped down of all the other “things” in life. I think about those days so often and try to mimic them in my now busier, fuller life.
The thing about my life is that I am a new 4th time mama, I am right in the throws of learning how to do life with 5 people I’m responsible for. What I did 4 months ago, may not be working for me anymore. I’m constantly looking to others for guidance and praying for direction. And it does come.
Last year, I had the inspired idea to start scheduling free days. Days at home with nothing else to do outside my own walls. I didn’t have to do that with two kids, but with three, it was necessary. I took two days that were “home days” and I didn’t schedule errands, or doctors appointments, or playdates, or lunches or anything else on those days. I really loved my home days. They gave me life. As the summer unfolded, and so did our routine, I am realizing now I need to get more in the swing of things with my home days. Last week was too busy, and by knocking me out with a sinus infection, I think God is just trying to nudge me to remind me that being the busiest mom isn’t going to matter in this life. The real message is hiding within being the simplest mom.