Doesn’t it seem like no matter how far in advance we start planning, the holidays sneak up on us quickly and almost always, things don’t go as planned?
We have family staying with us for the next 7 days. In my mind I had it all planned, how all the cleaning and preparation would go down.
Yesterday, we would wake up early, and go to church. Then, we’d come home to work together as a family to change and wash the bedding. Then the boys would pick up all their toys, putting them neatly where they belong. They’d clean their bathroom and take out the trash. Then after I finished cleaning downstairs, I’d head up to vacuum and shampoo the carpets, in order to spare our guests the pungent smell of dog urine. Then we’d frolic off to a birthday party and enjoy a quiet dinner with friends before our guests arrived. (It all sounded sane in my head, I promise)
Of course, it’s no surprise that it didn’t go down the way I planned.
We got a later start than we planned, so we ended up watching the second church service on TV instead of attending the first one. Scott and I got into a contemplative discussion. The boys wanted to have a family Nerf gun war, so of course, we did. We ate lunch. Then when it was time to get serious about getting the house together, the boys did not feel much like helping and that is a whole other war unto itself.
After a few hours of working together, Scott took the boys to the birthday party and I stayed home to finish the preparations. In my mind, somehow I believed the boys had actually picked everything up upstairs and once I finished downstairs, all I had to do was make the beds with the fresh sheets, vacuum and shampoo the carpets.
To my dismay, when I arrived at the top of the stairs, I was greeted by the same huge pile of Legos that had been there at the start of the day. So I picked up all the toys. I won’t bore you with all the details, but let’s just say the boys lost a few of their prized items yesterday. . . until further notice.
Should we also say, that all the while I was doing a little whoa is mommy pout?
After I picked up the toys and vacuumed the carpet, it was time for the shampoo machine. When I brought it to the kitchen to add the water, I realized I didn’t empty the dirty water after I used it last time. . .think sewage. Think the entire house smelling like sewage for hours.
After lots of dish soap and scrubbing I got the muck out and headed upstairs to clean those carpets.
I probably don’t need to explain that for some reason it wasn’t cleaning the carpet. Although no liquid was coming out at all, there was a pungent smell filling the guest room. Beautiful.
By this time, I’m sweating bullets and we’re supposed to meet friends for dinner in 15 minutes.
This is often how my best laid plans shake out.
What about you?
In the end, it’s not about our best laid plans is it?
Things will always play out differently in real life than they do in our heads.
It’s not really about what happens, it’s about what we do with what happens.
Yesterday, I was steaming mad. I was whipping that vacuum around corners like Danica Patrick. I was feeling sorry for myself. The more angry I let myself get, I realized how unproductive it was, but I couldn’t seem to get my mind off of it.
After a while I remembered an email I’d received earlier in the day. It was a link to a podcast called Mom is in Control, from my friend Heather Chauvin. I quickly found it, turned it up, and listened loud.
Pretty soon, I remembered how much I love my kids.
Heather reminded me that they’re little growing humans and I get the privilege of teaching them how to become adults. That I have a choice in how I respond and this was a big moment, one that they will remember. I chose to be firm, but with love instead of anger. I was able to show them my hurt, without the cover of anger.
Whatever this week brings for you, I hope this little story is a reminder that you always have a choice.
Everything probably won’t work out exactly the way you planned, but you get to choose the ending.
It might not be fun, or easy, but the result is entirely up to you.
You’ve got this.
to more love,