One Thing at a Time

It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Miraculously, both of my children are taking naps. I have a good 9-inch stack of papers to grade in my school bag, lessons to plan, household tasks that keep inching their way down to the bottom of my to-do list. At twelve weeks pregnant, I could really use a nap myself. But I’ve made the decision, six-weeks-plus after my last post, to sit down and focus on this one thing among many that I’ve been meaning to do. 

I have found, since having children, that my attention to tasks has become extremely limited. Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: I wake up to my alarm, come downstairs, and take a mug out of the cupboard to pour my coffee. I then notice that the drying rack in the sink is full, so I put away a few dishes. Oh, I think to myself, I might as well sip some coffee while I tidy up. I open the refrigerator door to get out the creamer, and start studying the contents of the fridge. What am I packing in the kids’ lunches today? I start opening tupperwares to see if there are any leftovers I can send with them, and pull out some fruit to wash while I’m at it. I still haven’t poured myself a cup of coffee, but I’m starting to feel nauseous (morning sickness has kicked my butt this third time around), so I grab a bowl of cereal. I sit down at the kitchen table to eat it, but looking back over at the mess I’ve created on the counter, I end up eating a few bites in between finishing all of the other tasks that I began. Then I check Facebook and realize that five precious minutes have passed while I scrolled through the news feed. 
This happens literally every morning. I’ve had to start becoming my own mental coach. As soon as I get the urge to stop doing one thing in order to pick up another, I try to resist. One thing at a time, I repeat to myself. One thing at a time. My new mantra has become incredibly helpful in some ways, and somewhat of a hindrance in others. For one thing, it makes planning almost impossible. My life has become confined to the hours stretching between the current moment and that blessed time when I can crawl into bed and set my responsibilities aside until the alarm rings once more. I’ve taken an “I’ll worry about it when it gets here” approach to most future events, which drives my poor husband crazy most of the time. “I’m sorry honey, I’m just not there” has become my response when he wants to discuss his favorite band’s tour next summer or what we’re going to serve at Christmas dinner. It’s not that I don’t want to think about these details- it’s just that my desire to think about them is outweighed by my desire to keep my brain from exploding. 
How can I be thinking of the next thing
when these faces are looking back at me?
In just over six months, God-willing, another person will join our family, and obviously “I’ll worry about it when it gets here” won’t quite cut it in this case. Logistics need to be addressed: finding a car that will fit three carseats, figuring out sleeping arrangements, reworking daily routines. But to be honest, I’m just not there yet. For now I have two little girls that need me, a husband who would like me to be mentally present more often than I currently am, and about 120 students who want a teacher who cares about them, not one who teaches each class like it’s one more thing to check off her list. 
The due date will inevitably approach, and at some point before then I will figure out what I need to figure out, as I always somehow do. And after that? When we bring home number three and our lives are once more tumbled into a heap of unknowns? Well, I guess we’ll just worry about that when it gets here. Until then all I can do is try my best to appreciate each fleeting “now”without worrying about what comes next. Particularly when it comes to finishing a bowl of cereal in one sitting. 

This girl knows a thing or two about living in the moment.

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