celebreality monday.

i heard somewhere once that there exists a spectrum with task-oriented people at one end and relationship-oriented people at the other.  because it's a spectrum, there are varying degrees of orientation one way or the other, but people tend to fall in one of the two categories.  i am task-oriented.  and pretty strongly so.

there are definite advantages to this at times: my house is typically 'clean enough,' we're only rarely over our grocery budget, and i have this inherent need to cross stuff off my to-do list, which means things that need to get done actually get done.  i really like feeling like i've accomplished something, and i think because of this i am a pretty quick learner and i have a really broad range of stuff i like doing.

but i also know that getting stuff done takes priority over spending time with my kids...WAY more than i'd like it to.  most mornings, as i'm trying to do whatever the task is that i've decided to take on for the day, the kids are asking me to read a book or play with them and i get so annoyed at having to stop what i'm doing to just spend time with them.  and i hate that about myself, honestly. 

and i realize that if i keep going the same way i have, my kids are going to grow up saying things like, 'my mom did a lot for me, but she never did a lot with me' and other stuff that kids with moms like me say.  and i really desperately don't want to be that mom.  but to be entirely honest, i cannot relax and enjoy just hanging out with my kids until my stuff is done...which is rare, because that's the nature of being a mom to toddlers - tasks, sentences, laundry, basic hygiene routines are never ever finished, at least in a reasonably timely manner.  so my kids are always pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, and i really grieve for them sometimes that that's how i orient my life.  it's not fair to them.

and i get scared for when my kids are older and they have 'heart issues' that need to be addressed or confessed or counseled or whatever...because i'm completely unequipped for that.  i am not a person who knows how to ask questions and understand feelings.  i know how to address behavior problems - black and white, task-oriented issues.  not relational issues.  because i am basically (as i'm finding out) a black hole of emotion and interpersonal relating.  i (like to think i) am good at hiding it, but deep down i'm pretty much socially inept.

and i would like to be better at spending time with my kids and listening and caring for their hearts rather than simply their behaviors, but i find myself too busy to even figure out how to start being this way...and sometimes i just really mourn that fact for the sake of my kids.  and mostly, i just really hope that god has plans to teach me how to be different than i am because i'm not capable of turning into a more caring, more attentive, less bound-to-the-to-do-list kind of parent on my own.

and i'm also hoping i'm not the only one like this, and that i'm not just some kind of sociopath who can't function on a basic human level and desire to spend much time with my own children.  so...can anyone else relate to this and/or share any wisdom?


whenjeskasparks said...

ah. yes.
but i relate the opposite way as a classic feeler. i'm currently staring at not one, not two, not even THREE, but FOUR loads of laundry on my couch. and there is one in the dryer. the bathroom is a disaster. there is random stuff everywhere in my space. now, in my defense, since i've been living in a construction zone for nearly six months, there isn't much of a *place* to put things anyway. but i have no intention of doing anything about it. 'cause i'm too busy being relational. movies with friends. dinner with friends. thrifting with friends. napping. (relational with myself.) etc.
this is why i believe we should live in like a townhouse duplex together. because i can help you get your tasks done allowing you to be more relational and you can be relational and hang out with me and yell at me to do my tasks. or something of the like.

i'm nervous (even though it won't even come close to this) that i'll be that family that has the home that looks a bit *too* lived in... but at least by that way, i'll give my kids the generational jump on being neat freaks. ta-da. look at me, the children are our future and what not.

but when it comes down to it, the fact that your lovely babies have a lovely mama that even thinks about such things... that puts you one leg up on the pile of moms. (oh, li'l brudder. you just keep... scwapin' awong.)

also, i love love you. and i get to see you next week holy crap!

(and if you post this on facebook, it's gonna be so weird if my comment makes it to the grey text again. weirded outttt.)

Anonymous said...

I am the exact same way. I have a list of things that I need (more like want) to accomplish every day and those things get done before I can truly relax. Which ends up being about the time my kids go to bed. I have tried to tell myself that that is just part of being a mom and dad's get to be the fun ones. But I know that they need me just as much as they need him.

So, do want to know what I did? Since I am a list person, I started writing in spending time with them, doing whatever they want for a certain amount of time each day. I started small and am increasing the time. It makes it more enjoyable for me to know that I will get back to tasks AND that I am spending time with them playing. I am sure this seems really dumb but it is what I have had to do and I wish I didn't have to do.

And I think you are a great mom!

The Crislers said...

I do the same thing as Real Life Motherhood. As a definite task-oriented person, I like to be specific in my lists (which means longer lists, but more satisfying checking-off), so I'll put things like, "Read 'Green Eggs and Ham' with Atticus." My kids get a big kick out of seeing their specific requests on my list, and it helps them see that, "Okay, first Mommy has to fold the towels, but right after that we get to play with Play-Dough!"

todd said...

To piggy back on Crisler and Reallife's respective comments, it would also possibly communicate to the kids that they were a priority if they saw their name on the list. So in addition to knowing when they are up in teh queue, they would also know that their request to read "green eggs and ham" was important enough to make the list. Good on ya Crisler and Real life!

Allison said...

Maybe it's just a mother thing, because I am the same way. There are days when I make lists and try my best to cross them off, and being the anxious woman I am, my heart starts to pound and my body starts to shake if I can't get everything that I want done when I want it to get done. But what I've found works for me is to take my list one item at a time and I take "play breaks" in between each item. So if dishes is on the list, I do the dishes and then go play for a bit. And, as much as I would love to just lay around and nap during Josiah's nap time(which I do sometimes), I try to attack a few smaller items off the list before I rest. If it's a bigger project on the list then I break it down into smaller tasks so I can do the same thing.