Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Conscious Pace


Over the last 18 years of parenting I have made many mistakes.  I used to (oh, I still do sometimes) beat myself up about them, but then I realized how unproductive that was.  I began to see, somewhere along the line, the gift in the mistake.  The gift being the chance to learn more about myself, and my children and what works for me and my family.

One of the most important tidbits of education that came out of a few of my mistakes is the acceptance of myself...my strengths and weaknesses.  I did something hard:  instead of beating myself up, I looked at myself objectively, and analyzed WHY I goofed up, and how I could change it.  No judgments, just self-analysis.  No "how stupid of me", just "what did I do wrong and how can I change so I don't repeat the pattern over and over again."  It's a scary thing to do, who wants to critique themselves?- but once I started practicing this, letting the emotion go and looking back objectively, I began to feel so much more self-acceptance.  I stopped comparing myself to others, and started getting in touch with my spirit.  Sure, there are some things about myself that I needed to work on-I am a firm believer in self-improvement, but there were other things that I realized I would just have to say, "That's the way I am wired and I must embrace it."

One of the things I have had to accept is my need for a quiet, focused family life.  I tried for years and years to create balance with work, obligations, and family.  I tried for years to keep up with the pace I see many mothers handle.  I would hear about "juggling" many things at once, and would wonder, "Why am I such a terribly awful juggler?"  I would attempt again and again to keep plates in the air, I would compare myself to others who seemed to do a wonderful job at it, I would be envious at their juggling skills, and time and time again, I would fail.  Fail meant exhaustion, fail meant guilt at what I felt was unfocused attention to my family, fail meant a general feeling of malaise at what I felt was a half-way job at everything I was trying to accomplish, fail meant a jumbled brain that never felt peace.  After several attempts I decided that all this juggling just wasn't for me. I had some hard moments that were little wake up calls.

Once I volunteered to be a co-leader of my daughter's Daisy Scout group.  I had 3 children when I volunteered, and was in the early months of pregnancy during that year.  It was a disaster from the start.  I really thought, "What is one little meeting once a week? I can handle that!"   I couldn't.  It seemed to roll around so quickly, and I never felt like I was fully prepared.  I was sick and exhausted with the pregnancy. I was running to the craft store for this and that, and then showing up at the meeting with a little one in tow.  One day that little one went missing in all the chaos and was found half way across the church parking lot.  That wasn't even the kicker.  The kicker was getting home each day, with a whiny toddler who was hungry, my older son who had homework that he needed help with, and my daughter, who halfway through the year told me she wished she hadn't even joined.  It was really a disaster from start to finish.  I would be snappy and crabby, and spent and unfriendly when my husband walked in the door a few minutes later.  I was impatient with my children, I was plain old mean.  I would go to bed feeling bad, and honestly, (remember, honesty is the key!) I deserved to feel guilty.  But I hated the feeling of guilt.  I hated the feeling that I took out my frustrations on my children and my husband.    So I knew I had to change something.  I realized that this sort of commitment wasn't for me.  I didn't enjoy it, and I could see it wasn't benefiting any of us.

Children have little or no say in the way we set up their lives for them, and in the pace we set for them, and in the way these things effect how we react to them.  What children really want, I think, is a calm, settled, predictable home life.  A mother who is not frazzled, angry, stressed, or impatient.  A mother who in in tune to their needs.  Parents who aren't arguing because they both are occupied and don't have time to communicate properly.   I began to realize that being a Daisy Scout mother was far less important than being a nice mother.  I began to realize that joining a travel sports team that had us missing dinner every night and separated on the weekends, was giving far less an advantage to our son than spending time with his parents and siblings.  I began to realize that bringing in a little extra income wasn't worth the amount of stress it brought to all of our lives.

I had so many other experiences like this, as I tried something new, and realized that once again, it wasn't working.  I knew what I wanted more than anything was less "gasket blowing" days, and more calm, joyful days.

I decided to look at my good days with my children, the days I really felt like I was an attentive happy mother and wife, and analyze the circumstances that created that day.  I also decided to look at the bad days, and find a common denominator.  I came to realize that many of those days, I had planned just too much.   I started noticing the good days had a slower rhythm to them, a day when I wasn't rushed to get in to the car to go here or there or anywhere.  Sure, some bad days are just bad days from things we can't control...sick kids, sleepless nights, just a funky day, or a hard stage in family life.  But many times the choices we have made determine the pace we set.  I started making conscience decisions about the tempo I wanted to establish for my family because I had enabled myself to see what worked for us.  FOR US.  Not for my friend and her children, not because I had read in magazine I should be doing this and that for my children's social growth, not because I couldn't say no without feeling guilty.

Some of those choices were refreshing and easy.  Others were bittersweet and brave.  After my third child was born, I decided to close a business I had built over the previous years.  It was going like gangbusters, I was able to work when my husband was at home and it was lucrative.  It seemed silly to walk away from it, from the outside eye, I'm sure.  But I knew for sure it was what I had to do to be able to focus on my family like I wanted to.  I knew that I would be happier with less...less money, but more than anything, also much less responsibility.  My brain felt overcrowded...and what was getting crowded out were the things that really mattered.

As I began to open my eyes to how I could be the best mother for my children, I could see the bigger picture.  I had been comparing myself to other moms who seemed to handle so much smoothly, but I realized that maybe they had the skills or support to handle more, or just had made different decisions that didn't sit right with my conscience.  Maybe they were in the same growth stage I had been and that big whammy of a lesson hadn't happened yet.

I also realized that every brain works differently.  My husband is wonderful at compartmentalizing his different roles.  His brain I think, has little rooms with doors, and when he walks out of one room so to speak, into another, he can slam that door and all the stress, deadlines, responsibility stay shut in there.  My brain doesn't have doors, heck it doesn't have walls.   I  feel all the stress from all the responsibilities all the time.  Stress effects how we act every day and I realized that when I felt really happy and content I choose to do one thing, and one thing well.  Sure, there could be other little (LITTLE!) things mixed up with all that, but I wanted to dedicated most of that space to be the best mother and wife I could be which was more important to me than anything else.  By discovering and acknowledging and then accepting the way I am wired-my low stress threshold, my brain with no doors and walls-that acceptance moved me forward-out of guilt and comparisons, and into the empowering ability to make strong choices for my family.

This journey of self-knowledge is not over I am sure.  I have decades of more mistakes ahead of me as my family changes and evolves over time.  We have all the signs we need when something is not right...our spirits, when we are still, will tell us. Our children, in their behavior, in their little tender, purely good souls will show us if they are thriving or just surviving the lives we are forcing them to lead.  Our marriage, our relationships, will become smooth sailing , or angry resentment.  Knowing and accepting myself, and knowing my deep desire to fulfill the dream of how I want these years of motherhood to look for me, allows me to see the big picture, and make brave changes in the little snapshots of everyday life.

69 comments :

  1. Love this post! You express your thoughts so well. Such good ideas on making sure we as mothers are choosing the best for our families.

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  2. Thank you! The stress about things all the time, not being able to shut one stress off...that's me also.
    I was voted in as a parent teacher organization board member, and HATE it. It's causing SO much stress in our family, yet I feel like I can't turn it over to someone else, because all of the other women on the board have full time jobs. I'm the only stay at home mom, so I say "what do I have to complain about"?
    This is a good kick in the pants to analyze myself and what works for my family.
    Thank you for posting so often!

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  3. And once again, you have read my mind! I have also spent years being "jealous" of the moms that seem to be able to juggle so many different things, while I struggle to keep *one* ball in the air. Lately though I've come to accept that juggling isn't my my strong point, and I am a better wife/mom when I'm not trying to compete with everyone else.

    Perspective is definitely a perk of getting older!

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  4. Thank you for posting this, it has been an answer to prayer for me. I just linked to your blog from Shawni Pothier's and have received so much inspiration from you both on my quest to be a more deliberate mother. Many, many thanks for the wisdom of your lessons learned.

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  5. Love this post, Sarah...your thoughts and ideas on this issue are very helpful. And I couldn't agree with you more about looking for those signs with our kids and listening to the promptings and feelings we get as mothers. It's so important and we should never doubt or take for granted the connection we have with our children, and also with God. Such a wonderful post!

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  6. Hi Sarah! I admire you so much! I read your blog all the time...you are such an inspiration! Thank you!

    I love this post and wonder if you have any wonderful insight for me...what if your children prefer a "faster" pace than you do? I have 4 kiddos...6, 5, 2, and almost 1. My 5 yr old son is a "mover and a shaker". He loves to be busy ALL THE TIME. I, on the other hand, prefer a much slower pace, and my favorite place to be is at home. He would rather be out and about doing ANYTHING - even the grocery store is fun for him because he is 'out'. He goes to preschool 4 days a week, but when he is home he is bored a lot...and with the two little ones also home to take care of, I don't care to be out and about that much. I just can't figure out how to handle it. Any ideas??? Thank you!!!

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  7. Another wonderful, heartfelt post that will be inspiring to so many moms who struggle with this daily. I wrote a post not long ago about saying "no"...I have been that super busy, stressed mom, and finally decided (my girls are both seniors-one high school, one college) that I want the slower pace too. I've wanted it, really needed it, for awhile now. I finally made the decision to drop all those balls I was juggling. And, much to my surprise I found wonderful people who were looking for something to occupy their time to take my place. It was a win win situation. I agree, we all really need to do what is best for us and our families and not worry what the neighbors are doing. Sometimes we don't see that they are in the same boat!

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  8. Your posts always come at the right time. You are a great mom mentor! I look around at neighbors and family members who have big birthday parties and play dates and are signed up for sports and still go to the gym and ect. I feel "less" sometimes or I am doing something wrong because I am happier and my kids seem happier hanging around home...they are even better behaved. My "moment" of understanding I was right about my family was taking my 4 year old to a dance class as a guest with her cousin. I looked in the room 10 minutes after class started and my little girl was crying. She didn't know how to so the dances and didn't know anyone in the class and wanted to go home. My first thought was I should sign her up for classes. My second thought...she is only 4 and loves preschool three days a week and next year will be in all day school and we have plenty of time to do a dance class later.
    Anyway thank you so much for your posts. They always come at the right time and give me confidence that I sometimes lack on my own. I am still wondering how many years you went with out sleeping through the night and how your survived that though...hahaha. Blessings to you!

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  9. I love this post! It is so rare to find like minded people on this topic of family pace! So thank you for sharing your wise insight. What exactly do you do with each child for activities- do you have like 1 sport a semester?? How do you practically implement this lifestyle?

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  10. Oh, Sarah, I can't begin to articulate how wise I think you are or what a positive influence your posts are to me. Thank you so much. I think in the recesses of my mind, I have these same ideas, but you clarify and extrapolate these thoughts into empowering guidelines. Truly a gift.

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  11. Just what I needed to hear this morning! Thank you Sarah!!!

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  12. I have read your blog for a year or so but never commented before. Thank you for writing this; I'm going to print it out and re-read it when I start to feel like I have too many plates in the air, and remind myself that it's okay to set a few down and walk away.

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  13. Amen, sister! I love this post! Less really is more!

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  14. Yes, yes, and yes!! As a younger mom, I envisioned being the cute, skinny, energetic supermom that could handle anything and was involved in everything. As I get older that is exactly the opposite of what I want (well, except for the skinny part) The slowly acquired wisdom of what works for my family and what doesn't is a reward of being an "older" mom, but I needed the stupid lessons in my younger mom years to give me that perspective. Though, it would have been so helpful to have your blog then :)

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  15. This was wonderful, thank you! Sometimes I feel very alone in my desire and need for quiet and home. I appreciate your words very much!

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  16. Your comment about you and your husband reminded me of a book we read and discussed in a bible class called "Men are like Waffles and Women Like Spaghetti"! Men do have little compartments and our lives well, everything touches everything else. Lovely post. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt mothering thoughts.

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  17. Sarah, you're spot on as always. Excellent post! I've been struggling with the juggling and decided that less is more for our family. Happier momma=happier kiddos.

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  18. Amen and Hallelujah! Over the years, I've had many of the lessons and moments that you are talking about, but was only brave enough to fully confront them (and myself!) early this year. As women, I think we tend to view ourselves through others' eyes, instead of giving ourselves a good, hard look through our own eyes (just as you said and did!). When I finally did this, I was amazed at how freeing it was, and how it gave my self-esteem such an awesome boost!
    Thanks, again, Sarah!

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  19. I always leave your blog feeling refreshed. Lately I have been feeling guilty about not being wholeheartedly excited about my photography business. After all, isn't success what I wanted? I'm busy and yet I am longing to have those quiet boring days back when I had no clients calling and I thought that was the end of the world. Some days I think, "what the heck is wrong with me?!" and then I read something from a real mom who has been there and I am comforted. Thanks again for always being honest.

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  20. Wonderful words of wisdom as always Sarah! I'm right there with you! We have to follow our own hearts and our own guidance and know what works for us and our family. As moms, we have to stop comparing ourselves to each other and trying to one up each other. We're all in this together and we have to be more accepting of others and what they choose to do. Everyone has a different pace and what works for some may not work for others. Some people thrive in chaos! I know I do not, like you, I like quiet & peace and I like showing my kids that it's good to sit back and relax once in a while. We're not programmed to go 24/7 racing around. When we do that, we miss out on life because we have lost that connection to self reflection. I love the wisdom that comes with following your own heart instead of following the herd.

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  21. Sarah, I just can't tell you how much I love your insightful posts. Yours was the first blog I read, and still the one that I come back to for sound advice. Thank you so much for being your own strong voice and giving other mothers the courage and encouragement to follow ours.

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  22. " I began to realize that being a Daisy Scout mother was far less important than being a nice mother. "
    Amen! I got pressure from other soccer moms last night about joining the PTO. But they don't KNOW my family. They don't know what it's like to have a husband working shift work. One week, I have all the time in the world and the next, I'm pulling all of the weight. I have to be prepared for anything and everything and adding another "thing" will make me more like them but not a nice mom to my kids. Way more important. And speaking of soccer, we're taking a break from it and looking into music lessons for a while. I can't wait!

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  23. What a wonderful post! Though I try to follow this philosophy sometimes it is hard to stay the course with 4 children ranging in age from 2 to 15. This is a good wake up call for me to make some adjustments. As usual I love your blog.

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  24. Thank you for your wonderfully honest post. I have felt so awkward over the last 9 years of motherhood because of my need for quiet and structure in our little home. There aren't a lot of friends or other moms that I can relate to so I started to think I was the one who was weird. It's so refreshing to hear another mom with a similar personality and philosophy on motherhood. I seriously couldn't agree with you more. Thank you for sharing!

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  25. So often I read your posts and think "is this woman inside my head?" I have been running a home-based business for almost 3 years. I am in the process of shutting it down because, despite the luxury of extra income and working from home, the work drains me and makes me a less patient, less happy mother.

    I have been struggling with other people's reactions to my decision "well, what will you DO?" but I keep telling myself that I know myself best.

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  26. Great Post. I feel like this fall has been SO busy. I am not one who can have a lot going on at the same time. I realized this early into motherhood with twins. I had preemies and HAD to stay home a lot due to their frailty BUT there were also times when I had to run around a lot seeing specialists, dr.'s, therapists, etc. I realized I was much happier when we didn't have multiple engagements shoved into a week.

    Now I have 3 and I put "possible activities" (storytime, play dates, music time) on the calendar in blue dry erase marker and as soon as I start to feel like we have been too busy I know what I can pass up and what is more of a priority (written in red) such as church,and "have to's" like Dr. appointments.

    I am a firm believer in "seasons of life" and I know that some are just BUSY no matter which way you look at it but I also believe we CAN maintain a sense of calm in the home throughout these various seasons.

    Thanks for sharing your take on all this. It's nice to see other more experienced mothers confirming what works.

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  27. I loved your post so much that I had to quote your words and post it on my blog. Describes my view of motherhood to a "tee."

    ciancifamily.blogspot.com

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  28. Sarah, you are speaking for me 100% in this post! Two things are at play here. One, our American culture is crazy with its go, go, go, do, do, do. Two, have you said before you are an introvert? I think you have, or if not you seem to be. There is a wonderful book called The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D. In it, she talks about how the introvert's brain needs a lot of processing time, a lot of quiet, how our brains actually work a lot harder because our thoughts take a more circuitous route than the brain of extroverts. It's fascinating, and wonderful. Learning about my introvertedness (only 25% of the population is introverted) has helped me understand myself and my needs so much.

    And then, there's just the need to value family time, and a slower more old-fashioned and more human pace. I think that's good for everyone. A funny little story: We have two teen-aged boys from Chile staying with us. They think I work so hard doing laundry, cleaning, cooking, organizing, etc. At home in S. America, their mothers are home and teach a few religion classes and stuff, but they have housekeepers who clean, do laundry, cook, etc. So their mothers don't do it all at home, much less do it all and then work a job outside the home too. What a nice perspective! It's also nice to have these boys' gratitude. We all need to SLOW down.

    You're right on with this post!

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  29. Another tidbit from the Chilean exchange students: soccer is HUGE in their country, they love it, but they still only have practice and/or games 2 days a week. And their parents never watch them play!

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  30. I couldn't have said it better myself! It must be an age thing (I'm 39 this DEC) but I finally realized the same things you talked a couple years ago. I even had a cake and cupcake decorating business under way and had already had a website built for me, then I discovered that with my personality type I wasn't able to balance it all. My weekends were spent baking and decorating cakes and when I was done or even during I was tired and had nothing left. so I made a decision to stop and it was the best decision I could have made for my children but most importantly my husband . Our relationship has definitely grown leaps and bounds and i am finally able to focus on us which makes our home a much better environment for our children. People still wonder and are shocked that I don't make cakes, but I am not the least bit ashamed to tell them why and hopefully it will inspire them to take a look at their own lives and see if they need to make changes. I firmly believe we can't have it all at one time and that we have "seasons" of our life. I am thankful that I was able to realize this before it was too late and I either didn't have a marriage or before my children are grown and gone and I would be wondering where the time went. I'm sure there are many of your followers who were thinking these same things and since you were willing to share your own experiences, they are hopefully going to make changes in their own lives. Thanks for all your honesty on this blog, it is so refreshing!

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  31. this whole post is beautiful, but that last paragraph did me in. thank you, sarah!

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  32. Thank you thank you! I can never quite pinpoint what it is about some of my days that will bring the impatience and snappiness. But this post shed some light for me. Thanks!

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  33. I am with you on this! We just got through soccer/football/cross country season and now only one has volleyball for a few more weeks. Plus volunteering at school has taken a huge chunk of time. I am so ready to slow down and be able to be home most days without so many commitments!

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  34. THIS is my favorite I think of all your posts. It should be in every parenting magazine out there. Wonderfully written Sarah.

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  35. PACE is acutally my word for the year. i wrote all about it at the new year here: http://crazygoodlife.blogspot.com/2011/01/happy-new-year-2011.html

    i completely agree with all you have said. keep up the good work!

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  36. So good. So true. Refreshing to read. Thank you. :-)

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  37. Posts like this are exactly why I love your blog so much! It is too easy to get sucked into all the parenting mumbo-jumbo out there and I appreciate that your words are always encouraging and refreshing rather than guilt inducing. :)

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  38. Thanks so much for this very personal post, Sarah. It has made me stop and think about what I'm doing and what I'd LIKE to be doing. I know the way I treat my kids means more to them than our day to day activities, but I'm still trying to find the balance. Thanks for sharing!

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  39. I have been having a terrible time with this myself. One particular thing is leading a Bible Study. I LOVE it, but it makes me angry and burdened. Like you said, who would have thought one hour a week...
    I feel bad because it is a "furthering the Kingdom" thing, but I think until my boys are older than 3 and 5, or until I don't have to work 2 jobs and manage my home with very little husband support, I may need to bow out as a leader. SIGH

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  40. I was praying today to find way to say no to aneighbor who asked me to watch her one year old who cries the whole time he's here (missing her) so she can volunteer at our childrens school. I want to tell her that her one year old needs her (more than volunteering) and I can't add anything on to my calendar. Thank you for helping me feel better.

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  41. My favorite post ever! Had a date night Sunday, and a long talk with my husband (who also has many doors.) Every now and then we need to regroup and remember our family priorities. We're skipping the baseball tournament this weekend and instead heading over to the pumpkin patch after mass. Can't wait. And BTW....I'm 29 weeks pregnant with #4 and just gave up my brownie troop leader position...AMEN I tell you:)

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  42. So wise and refreshing. I love your perspective so much and how self aware you are. I'm sure most of us would do well to slow down and evaluate ourselves and our families and then make the necessary changes. Thank you!

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  43. Hallelujah! ;) This was fantastic!! I've pretty much given myself a nervous breakdown b/c I was trying to do too much to be that 'perfect' parent/person. I look back at pictures of my kids when they were so little (they still are, though) and just wish that I'd spent more days at home, rather than racing around all the time. Oh how I love your posts! I know so many other people who would benefit from this, besides myself - thanks! Any chance you could do a review of Simplicity Parenting when you're finished with it? It looks like it's worth the purchase!

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  44. i'm not a mother yet, but it is so wonderful to read about someone striving to put family first and being able to see and build on your strengths and weaknesses,

    its something for me to aspire to

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  45. beautifully written. thank you so so so much! i needed to hear that i'm not an alien poking around at my slow pace.

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  46. I read your post this morning and commented and then went on a run in the redwoods and these words of wisdom came flooding into my head. So I came home and posted it. Its something similar to what you posted today. Its about slowing down and listening! You can read it if your interested. Cheers :)

    http://bluejayandcrow.blogspot.com/2011/10/slowing-down-and-listening.html

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  47. I am a new reader...LOVE your blog and your sweet family!
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post!!!

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  48. Sarah,

    Thank you so much for your honesty and awesomeness. ;) It is so good to remember to be true to ourselves and our families. Saying yes to too much sometimes prevents us from saying yes to the most precious people in our lives. Thank you!!

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  49. I relate so well to this post. This is me. For years I tried to do what all of the other moms were doing because I didn't want my kids to miss out on anything...I actually was still feeling a wee bit guilty about the fact that I could not keep up with the other moms...until you brought up the point that my girls deserve a nice, calm mom. Thank you.

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  50. I have learned and relearned this lesson the hard way. I keep thinking that I can take on more, only to find myself stressed out and mean. Then I back off and everything is fine...until I try to take on more...and then I'm stressed out and mean again.

    Sometimes I feel like I'm the only mom in the world who needs lots of margin in my schedule and prefers NOT to run around all day long.

    But then I realize (like you stated) that these other women are not me. They don't have my husband, my temperament, my kids, my support system, my house or my gifts and talents. I am not supposed to be like them, because I am ME.

    (and maybe, just maybe these other moms are not spinning the plates as gracefully as they appear to be.)

    God gave my children ME as their mother for a reason. Maybe because they need a mother who won't run them ragged?

    I love when you write these long, philosophical posts. Your blog is absolutely one of my favorites.

    You bless me, Sarah.

    Sandy

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  51. thanks for this. you've put into words some things i have often felt.

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  52. You inspire me to be a better mother! :-)

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  53. "Our choices predict our future." This is something I heard at church a few weeks ago. It is really quite obvious but it hit me. It is MY choices that leave me feeling tired and overwhelmed or peaceful and ready to care for my 5 children. "The future" can be soon or far into the future, but it is our choice that gets us there.
    Thank you for inspiring mothers everywhere to be the best THEY can be and not worrying how it compares to another person's best.

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  54. Good grief woman. I just love your language - it speaks to my soul. Thank you for sharing your vulnerabilities with such openness so the rest of us are inspired to be brave, look at our own truths and be mothers - and better people for it. Your blog was among the first I discovered and it is the first I turn to each day as a lovely reminder: I set the tone and the pace for my OWN family.

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  55. Sarah - I read your blog every day, but I don't think I have ever commented. I always enjoy your writing and your way of sharing your every day - expressing your thoughts whether simple or complex. Today though - I need to comment. I need to say Thank You. I gave my notice at my job a week ago because I accepted a part-time job much closer to home. It's a move I've been considering for two years now, since my now almost-3-year-old turned 1. It was a really hard decision to give up my income - to agree to adjust our lifestyle so much. As much as I wanted to spend more time with my son, to be home more, to be rid of my 90-minute commute to work... it sounded crazy to quit my job. When my husband and I finally made the decision to do it and I gave my notice, I was thoroughly amazed at the support of everyone around me from my family and friends to my coworkers. Everyone has said how much they agree with our decision to focus on what is important to us right now. I am so glad. Your writing today gives me even more confidence that we have made the right decision... for us. Thanks Sarah!
    Erin
    http://jenningsbaby.blogspot.com

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  56. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. You absolutely have a talent for expressing what so many of us feel but don't know how to express. This was exactly what I needed.

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  57. Thank you and AMEN! I too feel like I always have to keep up with my kid's friends and their families and the dance classes they attend, the birthday parties, gourmet dinners, a perfect house, blah...blah....blah.... So, that's why I am so impatient and short with my kids and my hubby all the time? This just tells me I need to cut down even more. Thank you for blogging about this topic that doesn't get discussed and addressed enough!

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  58. I am pretty sure I have found your blog at exactly the point in my life I needed it most. I came here for your placemat tutorial and have now read about so many other critical topics my life needs. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.

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  59. Thank you for this encouraging post! You are totally right about needing to accept who we are as mothers and not compare ourselves to other moms who seem to be capable of SO much more. Having my 4th baby has really forced me to face this part of my life, and as painful as it is to learn, it is SO good to learn. It's nice to hear I'm not alone in my desire for slow-paced peace! I crave affirmation from other moms who feel this way, but it seems like this day and age, a slow-paced, focused life is not valued anymore. It is difficult to find other moms like me. So thank you for sharing- it gives me a boost!

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  60. Thanks! I needed to read this. Sometimes I forget just why I chose to stay home and not go out to work, and it sure wasn't so that I could fill up my time with volunteering. I find myself saying yes to too many things at times and get myself in a pickle. Well, after your post, I have just "quit" one volunteer job that I didn't even like doing, but felt compelled to do since I had said yes to it.
    THANKYOU for the timely reminder!

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  61. Thank you for affirming what I have been feeling. It takes courage sometimes to not be the mom who volunteers all the time if it doesn't work for your family. It takes courage not to sign up a kid for baseball or soccer just b/c everyone else is doing it. This year we won't be playing baseball b/c it doesn't work for our family right now, and I feel great about it! Thanks for helping me feel like I am making the right choice.

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  62. Thank you for thoughtful and well-written post that expresses my own feelings so eloquently.

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  63. Brand new reader here. Excellent post. It obviously resonates with many of us!!

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  64. Did you write this to me? :) It was exactly what I feel and needed to be reminded of.

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  65. I just found your blog through August Fields, and I'm now a follower. Good stuff! I just blew up at my boys this morning, so this post really hit home. I, too, have a "low stress threshold" (apparently!) and I've already taken some steps to reduce my busyness so I can focus on our family. Thank you for your wisdom. I look forward to reading more!

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  66. I love this post. I have probably already commented on it multiple times, but it's one I need to keep and read from time to time. I keep trying to be a juggler, too. And then I collapse and realize it's not me and it's not best. Then I slow down and I am nice to my family again.

    But then it creeps up, ever so slowly. I say yes to one thing and another thing and another. And before I know it I'm juggling again. And so the cycle continues.

    I'm laying things down today. And this post is affirming this decision again.

    Thank you for always reminding me what's important. Even from your blog archives.

    Sandy

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