Young child being comforted

There are dishes to be done.

Floors to be vacuumed, laundry to be folded.

Articles to read, blogs to be written and emails to send.

Workouts to complete, patients to prepare for...

and all things mom, wife, friend and holiday-related to tend to.

Yet this is my current situation. Day 3 of snuggling on the couch with a sick little one who only wants his mama.

Even though my list of tasks has been temporarily suspended, its magnetic force still pulls me.  I’ll confess that around day two I started to get a little grumpy. I’m not one to sit still for very long and my present state of unsatisfied addiction to tackling my "To Do" list made me restless and irritable. I began fixing my thoughts on how hard it is to grow a business, accomplish goals, have a social life and do just about anything when you are a mom. I started getting jealous of my husband’s freedom to just go to work when he needed to, for as long as he needed to and everything else that comes with being a “man”.

Then I thought about the alternative. You see, I don’t have a boss. I AM the boss. If I had a boss, I would have to ask permission to take three work days off to be with my sick child. I also don’t have the heart-wrench a single mom might have, being torn between staying home when her child is sick versus needing to pay the bills. (You all are my heroes.) I also thought about the other alternative: a chronically ill child. In my focus on my own temporary inconvenience, I needed a sharp reminder that some parents endure the heartbreak of a chronically ill child and what I consider a difficult few days is their normal for weeks or months on end. Oh, Father forgive me.

Grumpiness turned to gratitude.

In addition, setting aside my internal rantings about gender bias and my husband’s “freedom”, I remembered that if I didn’t have a husband who got up every day to go to work even when he didn’t feel like it, I wouldn’t have the lifestyle that I have and the financial freedom to pursue God’s calling on my life—or the blessing of being able to respond to my three-year-old’s need for his mama. Oh, and guess what? My husband misses the kids terribly when he’s at work.

I used to listen to (and commiserate with) my female colleagues about men, husbands in particular, and how they don’t “get it”, and how they don’t know what it’s like to be a mom, do everything we do AND work, run a business, etc.

Then I accepted the reality: they’re not supposed to. They’re men.

Just like I will never understand what it’s like to be a man. I will never understand the pressures society places on them. Or what it’s like to be a father, businessman or husband. I’m not supposed to, I’m a woman. I’m not sure about you, but that frees me up from a lot of internal grumbling and misplaced expectations of my husband or male colleagues. That doesn’t mean we don’t have conversations to increase understanding, it just means we need to think about where we spend our mental energy and focus on what empowers us, not the opposite.

One of my personal mantras is: Think about what you CAN do, not what you can’t do. When life does not follow your meticulous plan do you find yourself in a downward spiral of negativity and a list of "can’t do’s" like I did?

Something that helped pull me out of this spiral was remembering God’s advice on the subject:

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
- Philippians 4:8 (MSG)

To meditate is simply to think deeply about something, focus your mind on or think carefully about something. When life is not all neat and tidy, what are you meditating on? Let’s choose together to fill our minds with what we CAN do, along with the best, not the worst, the beautiful, not the ugly and things to praise, not to curse.

In the meantime I’ll be snuggling.