A comical thing happened the other day in my class of energetic grade twos. This in and of itself is not unusual as working with the little ones all day long is certainly never a dull moment. In math I was reading a picture book about addition and the one section had a hen who laid an unusually large, plethora of eggs, much to her surprise and dismay. The students were then required to count her eggs. The picture was humorous, depicting how overwhelmed she felt. Unexpectedly to my surprise though, it sent one little guy into rolling on the floor giggles. He kept saying “The exhausted hen! It is so funny! I can’t take it!” This sent the rest of us into a spontaneous chorus of laughter along with him. Watching him enjoy himself so much over a silly illustration absolutely warmed my heart. I sent him down with the book for a “Good News Visit” as we call them at my school to show our principal and vice principal. They are wonderful and I knew they too would get a kick out of how much joy this foolish picture brought him. As time went on he would often smile and whisper to me “the exhausted hen” and start laughing all over again. Recently he took it upon himself to write the next chapter in the hen’s life in his writer’s notebook and had all the eggs hatched. His picture was priceless and so funny. He had an adorable group of chicks chasing the hen saying “Mama!” It blew me away how wise he was as he went on to say “If you thought she was exhausted then, just think about it now that the eggs have hatched!” Out of the mouths of babes I tell you!
I needed a laugh like that and I am thankful he helped me see the lighter side of things that day because many days truth be told, I am the exhausted hen. This is why at first I didn’t find the hen's plight so funny because I think it maybe hit a little too close to home. Especially as mothers we are always trying to meet the needs of others and to add work, volunteer and other responsibilities to it, we can easily feel overwhelmed. Laughter is a much needed medicine and it does have a way of bringing us back to what really matters. Although many of us may be walking around feeling demands are pulling us every which way but loose, I often ponder what if no one needed me? This thought scares me more. Yes there is laundry, meals to make, lunches to pack, toilets to scrub, bills to pay, and the list goes on and on, but what if I was alone? I cannot imagine.
I remember in teacher’s college we were practicing in class doing mock scenarios of job interviews. We would rehearse responses to tough questions we may be asked and do our best to provide answers that were appropriate. Then came the question I hate and I think I am not alone. “What is your weakness?” That’s a tough one. You don’t want to be too honest and risk not getting the job, yet you must say SOMETHING! My professor gave us a great answer that always stuck with me. He said to respond “I cannot work in isolation. I enjoy people and need a career where I can be around them and be an influencer of positive change. An office job with a little cubicle is not for me. I need to be with others.” Love it! I must admit I used it too and I think it helped me land the job I have now. As much as sometimes we can feel like we need quiet time which is so necessary, it is hard to picture a life where there is no one in your corner or nobody in need of something only you can offer.
I especially remember the unbelievably exhausting days of raising young children. The days dragged on into the night with such an endless cycle of repetitive tasks that I thought I would go crazy sometimes. But now on the other side, I see that was just a season and I do miss it. You do not think you will at the time, but anyone who said that kids grow up fast, was certainly right. Tyler helped me see the lighter side of things many times at that stage as when things got too stressful he had impeccable timing and would always say “Let’s laugh about it!” His words were a gift to me as it helped me see that there is often a lighter side to the daily grind if we just try to look for it.
People come into our lives for a reason. Big and little people have the power to offer us much. Sometimes we need to keep our perspective, breath, regroup and laugh. We need to remind ourselves that this situation most times as taxing as it may be right now, is usually not permanent.
Okay, I have confessed that I many times am the poster child for the exhausted hen. Somehow I think I am not alone. The Bible says come to me all who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest. God is here for us and wants us to live in abundance, not constantly running on empty. We need to keep our perspective, trust in God, lean on each other, learn from each other and grab a good giggle opportunity whenever it arises. The more I talk to people, the more I realize how similar we all really are. I love to encourage people because I love to share my heart and reassure them that I can totally relate to what they are going through. It would be my honor to chat with you over email and pray for you. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Please hang in there. Many stressful things have a way of working themselves out much quicker than you may anticipate. Even if you are doubting yourself my fellow exhausted hen, please be reassured by the words of a famous quote “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and loved more than you will ever know.”
Until next time
Matthew 11:28-30 ~ Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Little Lesson Learned: Life gets far too serious and exhausting sometimes. Look for opportunities that arise to help you see the lighter side whenever possible.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2016
I have a confession. My Christmas tree came down late into January this year. The real truth of the matter as well is the only way that it actually came down, was through the help of a gracious friend. Together with my husband, they happily took on this daunting task, while I chipped away at report cards. We then all enjoyed a nice pizza dinner with great conversation, so it was all good in the end. The best part though was that there was no judgement from my friend, but just a sincere willingness to help. The only time that my tree was up longer was when I had Tyler. He was born on January 10th, so that year the tree stayed up well into February. With a new baby and an adjustment to new motherhood, I let myself off the hook. I clearly had more important people and things to attend to.
I have not always been able to be this honest. In years past I could never admit we have cereal for supper sometimes or some days I spend most of the day in my pajamas or I love to sleep in whenever I have the opportunity. In the past I would try to keep those precious little tidbits to myself, for fear of being perceived as somehow “less then,” my peers. Now I find that for the most part, the more I am transparent, the more support I get. It is so awesome! With the support are sincere declarations of “preach it sister” with heartfelt stories of how they too are “right there with me” and that is so liberating. Recently some friends and I were sharing our hearts and another friend was hesitant to share. Another friend kindly said “No judgement here” and that was all it took to get this person to open up. She clearly felt better for it as well. We all need those people we can honestly talk to.
All of us want to look good in front of our family and peers. No one really wants to be seen in their absolute worst moments. When I was working as a social worker, I had a client who seemed to on the surface be making great gains. Up until this point she had shared quite a bit, yet still was somewhat guarded. One day she mentioned that she was about to share something so personal, disappointing and shocking that for certain I would tell her “There’s the door!” To her shock and surprise, her confession was not this terrible and unbelievable thing, but something she had been working on for quite some time. She was emotional as she realized that this was not the end of our professional relationship, but a new beginning. Honesty and trust was being established and it was a powerful moment for both of us.
Life needs to be in balance. We as spouses, parents, and professionals are pulled in many different directions every single day. For whatever reason now more than ever we seem to be wearing way too many hats. It is easy to get down on ourselves if we feel we are not living up to par in some facet of our lives. Perhaps the struggle lies in the fact that we are too overextended and our self-care is greatly lacking. I read a book where the author would always ask her friends “So how is your soul these days?” Her friends would always look at her puzzled as it was not something they often considered, yet the importance of taking good care of ourselves cannot be underestimated. We cannot be of any good to anyone else if we don’t take care of ourselves first.
Every journey begins with a single step. Sometimes that first step is the hardest to take. I read an article that had the headliner of something like “Man Loses over 100 Pounds with 1000 Sandwiches.” This definitely got my attention and it was very interesting. The story was about a very obese man who made a decision to just start walking. He was tired of feeling embarrassed, self-conscious and depressed and he knew he had to do something. Every day he walked and each day as the walks became longer, his self-esteem soared as the weigh began to drop off. As a further incentive on his various routes, he handed out sandwiches to homeless people in his area. In total he calculated: km walked, pounds lost and sandwiches distributed. He decided to stop looking at himself with negative judgements and just do something about his situation. He shared that his proudest statistic even above the weight loss, was the amount of sandwiches he handed out, as this gave him the most joy. He looked beyond his struggle and blessed others. This is what we all can do if we are real with each other and help each other keep on keeping on.
The Bible teaches us to bear each other’s burdens and to encourage one another and build each other up. Life is hard, but we are here to help each other. You may feel alone but with good people and God in your life you really are not alone. Be assured good and true friends do not judge, but instead support you in your time of need. The cool thing about being transparent is you feel better and also bless someone else at the same time. You never know who may need that little reassurance that he or she is not the only one barely hanging on. Sounds like a win win situation to me!
Until next time
1 Thessalonians 5:11: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Little Lesson Learned: Struggles are real, but you are not alone. Reach out to those who love you.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2016