We’re all just a bunch of grown 5 year olds

Last week I volunteered with our church’s Vacation Bible School – and I loved it. It was my second year leading a group and with a few “repeat customers” from my group last year it was great to see how they had matured and grown over the past year.

As I observed the kids, saw when they had insecurities and shyly raise their hand then quickly put it down it reminded me a lot of myself at their age…and now. It reminded me that when I often wanted to say “Go ahead – say what you think the answer is! What’s the worst that can happen?” I could see me telling my 30-something year old self the same thing. Things I would tell a 5 year-old (or even my own 4-year old) that I should tell myself…

  1. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask a question. We’re all learning. The odd time someone might think something negative about it, but that’s more their problem than yours…most of the time others have the same question.
  2. You don’t need to carry/treasure so many possessions. Some things hold special meaning and bring distinct joy or beauty to our lives…but don’t mistake material possessions for self-value or self-worth, and don’t make obtaining them your goal.
  3. It’s human nature for us to feel like we want to fit in, that we want to have the same things as others or look the same as others…but we are all unique and have gifts, talents, and things to offer the world that are specific to us. Don’t hide or discount those in an effort to be like others. Honour the person you are to the fullest.
  4. There are a million and one things that seem fun, interesting, important, and exciting, that make us want to stay up at night instead of going to sleep. Sleep is probably the most important thing that will make the rest of your life feel more fun, interesting and exciting. Go to bed.
  5. Everyone’s scared when they try something new – you just have to have faith in yourself and courage to give it a go, and you’ll probably end up having an amazing time. Don’t miss out on opportunities because you’re scared.

In reality, at the end of the day we’re all just a bunch of grown 5-year olds…give yourself the same encouragement to be courageous and move out of your comfort zone, as you would to those kids.

When we’re tired…

Today was a busy day. As I did my 10 min walk to my car I reflected on the day’s events, thinking about how exhausted I was but grateful for the opportunity to have flexible daycare and work arrangements so I can seize opportunities that I’m passionate about and that fit my priorities.

In a nutshell, the day consisted of teaching at our church’s Vacation Bible School, going to work, swim lessons, and a massage appointment. Pretty simple, right?

But in between you had the 4 year old who had anxiety about new people at VBS, the 1 year old who was not a fan of the VBS nursery and cried every time she saw you or heard you in the halls. You had the terrible hand-off to the daycare sitter at church where children were screaming in the building and parking lot. The crying hand-off of the 1 year old at the Y for her program so you can get the 4 year old to her swim lessons. The innocent idea to drop in to the library with the 4 year old for a few minutes (since there were 20 min until the swim lessons) which somehow turned into her rolling around on the floor, you literally dragging her out of the library…twice…as she screamed “I’m not fussing!” (while heads turned and you avoided eye contact with everyone). Bringing her into her swimming lesson where she was hesitant to meet a new teacher (but luckily came around fairly quickly). Dinner, massage, ran a few errands.

Prior to today you hosted the parent and sibling in-laws for the weekend, which included a day-long trip to an amusement park on Saturday, overnight stay, church nursery on Sunday morning, and cooking/entertaining Sunday afternoon.

And prior to that wakings from about 2am-4am most nights for the last 2-3 weeks as the 1 year old’s teething.

I don’t share all this to say “look at me, I’m busy!” I share this because tonight I got into a minor car accident. A minor car accident where I was paying attention, and was completely confused as to how this happened.

It would be one thing if I wasn’t paying attention, looking down, singing to the radio, etc. but the fact that I was concentrating and still made a mistake befuddled me.

Was it because I was wearing flip flops instead of my usual loafers? Was it because I had a massage so was a bit too relaxed? Was it because I hadn’t noticed something on the floor of the driver’s seat that was potentially under my foot without realizing?

Probably a piece of all of the above…but everytime something happens I think “What is God trying to teach me from this?”. It wasn’t to “pay closer attention”, because I was bloody concentrating the whole time…

After thinking it over, I realized that one of the contributing factors was also likely the lack of/interrupted sleep and the go-go-go of the last few days/weeks.

You see, I mixed up the pedals – which sounds (and feels) like the stupidest mistake. It does happen to people……………………………….but typically to those that are new drivers or elderly. Not people in their early 30’s. Luckily it was in our garage so it was a single-vehicle and no one was hurt.

I find this incredibly embarrassing, but feel the need to share because I often worried so much about my husband’s lack of sleep, that I tried to find ways to extend his sleep (i.e. getting up in the middle of the night and for those early 6am wake-ups). Thing is – I need sleep just as much as he does.

Lessons learned:

  1. Make 8 hours of sleep the biggest priority. Your brain just doesn’t function the same without sleep (and when you know your 1 yr old is often waking in the night, anticipate that and go to bed even earlier)…and neither does the rest of your body.
  2. Don’t overcommit. VBS is 1 week of the year and a true joy for me to be a part of…but maybe we could have done without the library trip, or even the swim lesson (though I already had guilt from missing last week, due to our anniversary).
  3. If it’s just the season for lots of things going on, step by, recognize it, and plan in extra rest (…like for the upcoming weekend when you’re on your own with thekids ;)).
  4. Everything in moderation. I recently borrowed 3 books from the library. I’ve been wanting to read them and squeezing in time where I can (which is often before bed). Thing is, it’s easy for me to read for 1hr instead of 20 min – especially when the due dates are coming up. I went from reading 0 books to 3 or 4 in a month…but perhaps now is not the time in my life for that. Next time make a list if you see books you want to read and focus on 1 book at a time.

I hope that by sharing my experience that it encourages others to both prioritize sleep/rest high on their list and to also continue to be very careful while driving.

If that doesn’t sound like mom advice, I don’t know what does. 🙂