Sunday, June 14, 2009

Managed Chaos

I'm recovering this afternoon from a busy week (visiting family, parties, child-sitting) . . . and building up a store of energy for a busy week coming up (Skill School at church). It took me all of seven months in our new home to get to a point where I recognize I have to start showing some wisdom again in saying "no."

We had birthday party #2 yesterday. This was with homeschooling families -- Thursday night's was with girls from the neighborhood. We didn't necessarily mean to segregate them that way; it's just kind of how it happened.

Anyway, some of you who know me well would have been proud of me yesterday. I had a house FULL of children, male and female, aged 13 years to 3 weeks, for four hours (with a few moms, but they mostly sat visiting on the deck). We set out some games, a bunch of snacks, ordered pizza later in the day, but other than that, we let things happen as they may. No particular schedule or plans. In other words, I was remarkably spontaneous. Alert the media!

I did feel a bit of stress later in the afternoon, but I recognized it as unwarranted and plunged ahead. Everyone was having fun. Nothing was being destroyed. It was quite loud, but a kids' party is supposed to be.

But it gets better: at the moment, I'm sitting on the sofa listening to my girls and four neighbor girls in the basement playing . . and I think they're making a phenomenal mess. But my blood pressure is good; breathing normal; demeanor calm. They're enjoying themselves and getting along well -- why should I freak? It will all clean up again.

In fact, it is all making me reconsider my zeal to get rid of so much junk in our house -- because kids seem to make such great use of junk when they play. I will, however, need to find a better way to store it all so they can clean up after themselves.

Keith reminded me the other day that there was a time in our distant pre-parenting past when I expressed the desire to have the house where all the kids hung out, so I could keep an eye on things. Egad! I told him I have matured since then. I know myself better now.

Wellllll, maybe I need to mature even more. Maybe I need to not just assume the rightness of my natural inclination to fight the chaos and instead find ways to use my God-given abilities to manage the chaos. After all, when you have kids, chaos happens. And sometimes, it's in the midst of the chaos that the important stuff emerges.

But, of course, only when well-managed. Not ready to give up complete control yet. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this post Gwen, you really know how to add humor to every day life! Glad the girls had fun, and you survived. It is amazing we were friends, I LIVE for chaos! I do like rest periods from it, but I love being surrounded by kids and the chaos it brings. I am already feeling withdrawl symptoms just thinking about Alex graduating next year. My point was I love that we were/are friends despite our personalities!
Julie W.