This is the second post I wrote today. The first one was a knee-jerk reaction to a recent experience where someone was rude to me and Grace in front of other people. Because I am an internal processor, my response came days later after much stewing. Then, I sat down and spewed it all over my keyboard. Knowing full well that I would never post it. But it felt
Sometimes I think it would be great if you could hit a pause button like you see in commercials. When I found myself in a situation like that I could pause the world, process my thoughts and reactions, formulate the perfect response and then re-start the world so I could deliver it. The reality is the world isn't like that and truth be told, I'd probably still stew over a situation after I delivered my amazing response.
So, after I deleted that post, I decided to cover knowing your limits. I'm going to give you another sports example. Sorry. But it is a great one to set up what I mean by knowing your limits.
One day when the kids were little, I got a lecture from another mother. She was amazed and surprised to learn that John wasn't playing any team sports. The fact that he did not get to play 3 or 4 year old t-ball, made her mad. She stated that it wasn't fair to John and he was going to miss out on so much. Huh? She also stated that everyone else was playing sports at those ages, so he would be behind in skills. She then proceeded to tell me that John would grow up to resent his sister (his disabled sister) because we didn't let him play sports at the young ages of 3 and 4. Well, I've already told you I'm not great at comebacks in the heat of the moment. My only response was to say that this was a decision that my family made and it worked for us.
Here's the back story as to why we didn't sign John up for little league until he was 5.
Can you stand the cuteness? Oh my word! Where did those little kids go...
This is actually a decision that Mark and I discussed at length. We both grew up playing sports and feel there is a benefit to playing team sports. We live in an area that has sports for kids as young as two and where travel or club teams are pushed at kids from a young age. [As an aside, we were recently told that if John didn't play club or travel soccer at this age (10) he would never make his High School team because coaches didn't want players that hadn't been playing for years.] So we discussed youth sports and decided that, for our family, we wouldn't sign John or Luke up for any sports until they reached 5. We thoughtfully decided this.
Here's what when into our decision:
1. We considered the fact that when John was 5, it would mean Luke was 3 and Grace was 2. So signing him up for sports before that would mean I would have a 2 and a 1 year old at the field. Keeping in mind our children's personalities and developmental capabilities at those ages, we decided our family couldn't do it. John is super cautious and thoughtful, he needs to check a situation out before joining in. At the age of 2, Luke was a climber / jumper who never met a stranger so he often would wander off in search of entertainment. Well, he's still like that but at 2 it wasn't tempered by experience and reason. Grace is also a total care special needs child, so it was difficult to take her out in public.
2. Mark works a lot of nights and weekends. Which meant that, most likely, I would be the one taking all three kids to the ball fields by myself. We decided it would be easier on the two that had to wait for hours by the side of the field, if they were older.
3. We talked to our friends who have older children and they said that they wished they had waited because their children didn't like playing sports at the younger ages and they cried on the field. We also didn't want John to make a decision that he didn't like a sport based on his experience at 3 or 4. Keeping in mind numbers 1 & 2 above, we decided that we didn't want to even deal with this and so we waited.
All these reasons made this a decision that fit for our family. Which is really the only family I'm making decisions for. My decisions for my family shouldn't impact you and your decisions and vise versa. So, we waited to put John in team sports until he was 5. And guess what? Not only were there other kids on his team that had never played t-ball, but based on the fact that John was picked for the All Star team at 7 by his coaches he wasn't behind the other kids. As for him resenting his disabled sister, we give that to God. We pray that God is shaping him into the man He God created John to be and that if John and Luke resent Grace, we hope they will talk with us about it.
My reason for this example is to encourage you to make thoughtful, reason-based decisions based on what is best for your family. Do not allow yourself to be swayed based on someone else's perception of what you should be doing. Knowing your limits allows you to make decisions based on what works, at that time, for your family.
If I had succumbed to the peer pressure from this other mother, I would have put my family out of balance. It would have made a stressful time in our families life much, much more stressful. Stress and order can't coexist in your life.
Understanding your strengths, likes and dislikes and personality type really help with knowing your limits. I have a friend who hates to cook, but she signs up every time someone sends out meals calendar. This stresses her out and causes her to complain about it. I have encouraged her to stop signing up to make meals and to find some other way to help the person in need. Most likely, if someone needs meals they could also use help in other areas. But she feels like she should because other people would know if she didn't sign up. I told her that I love to cook and to make meals for others but even I don't sign up for every meal request. I need to make sure that my schedule could handle the extra time, money and effort to provide another family with a meal. Knowing my limits allows me to not put myself and therefore, my family out of balance.
I encourage you to know your limits, make decisions based on those limits and stick with them. This one thing can bring order to your life by limiting or eliminating what causes you stress. Remember, you are only responsible and accountable for your own family. Know your limits...