“Hey, congrats on the new little girl! So exciting! You guys are crazy… I mean in a good way. Wow!”
Since announcing plans to adopt our sixth child, I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of support and enthusiasm that we have received. Honestly, I was prepared for at least a few not so positive comments from acquaintances. And for good reason.
Let’s take a minute and look at my life in writing for a minute:
One husband, one kid in college, one in high school, one in middle school, two in elementary school. Too many after school sports/activities to list here. A few extra doctor appointments and another surgery for one kid, volunteering in the kids’ schools and activities, a small business, two part time jobs. And oh, on occasion, I try to socialize with my friends and husband and aim to get regular exercise to support my sanity.
Now, take this life and add to it the arduous process of adopting a child internationally. And oh, by the way, she has special needs.
Are we crazy?
Did I mention that we are moving into a bigger house in December just before Christmas?
Trust me, my husband and I are both perfectly sane. Our social worker seems to agree or we wouldn’t have gotten this far in the adoption process. Lately, I have been feeling pretty darn calm about all of the decisions we have made that may seem crazy to some.
Because right now, I live by one simple rule:
I do what I want.
And honestly, I wish more moms would do the same.
Ask me to volunteer for something I am not talented or passionate about and I will give you a very polite “no” with a smile. Ask me if I want to go on a field trip that I’ve been on at least four other times, and I will respond with, “Only if you need me.” This fall I was scheduled to run a marathon but I just couldn’t bring myself to start training. I’ve been there, done that so I called it quits. Instead, I’ve been running for fun with friends and it’s been amazing!
This is how I avoid burnout. If I am not excited about it, I’m not going to do it. I volunteer at the school’s running club because I am passionate about running and want to encourage kids to be active. I will go on my middle schooler’s field trips because I think they are fun. I volunteer at my first grader’s classroom because I think the kids are adorable. I will offer to help my friends with carpool and child care because I like my friends and their kids.
You get the idea.
Basically, I say yes to the things I want to say yes to and I say no to the things I simply have no interest in doing. Some may say this is a selfish way to live. I prefer to view it as self-care.
So I say yes to a small business and a few part time jobs because I thoroughly enjoy it (and the extra income helps). I said YES to a beautiful little girl on the other side of the world because I knew that life will be challenging with her but SO, SO worth it. I said yes to the new house because it is giving us the opportunity to have space in our home for our children to grow and have friends over. I say yes to gathering with good friends because I need that connection and community. I say yes to a quiet evening at home in my pajamas when life gets overwhelming.
Whether you have one or six children, please consider this mindset and let everything else go. Say yes to having seven teenage boys over at your house Saturday night to play Magic cards because you adore them, not because you feel obligated to do so. Say yes to taking my kid after school for an hour so I can take his brother to the doctor because you like my kid. Say no if you don’t and I will do the same.
Like Jimi Hendrix said, “You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven.”
My life isn’t perfect, but I’m going to do my best to enjoy as much as possible. If crazy is what I like in life, I’m going to continue on that path.
Disclaimer: Just so you all don’t think I’ve completely gone Pollyanna on you, I still do the dishes and laundry, clean up cat puke and yell at my kids.