Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ponytail Season

It's generally 90 degrees around here these days. Summer is fully upon us. If you have never been to north Alabama, then you can't fully appreciate the futility of trying to stay cool. You see, Alabama has this nasty humidity that permeates everything. Our air conditioners work overtime to compensate for not only the lack of cool air, but to try to keep our homes dry. Ladies spend more time trying to get their hair to do what they want it to, but when they walk outside, it just falls flat, or worse, frizzes up. (Guess which group I fall into? I look like a lion some days!) My answer to this frustration is, unless I am going somewhere that I want to look cared for, toss it up in a ponytail and go. Most pictures of me during the summer months, which in Alabama start in April and run to about November, show proof on my high school hair do.

I have decided, though, that I am really in a ponytail season of life. If ever there was a woman who needed to have a quick, easy solution, it is one with lots of littles. I qualify. The responsibilities on my plate at this point in my life are many. I would almost say that until the next little gets here (no, not pregnant yet) I have as much on my plate as I will ever have. Possibly more, even.

Caring for three small children is a full time job unto itself. And it's not just about seeing to their every need (notice I said need, not want). Aside from the diaper changing, feeding, bathing, monitoring to be sure they don't somehow kill themselves, I am fortunate enough to be able to stay home with them. That means I get to play with them and read to them and go outside with them. I get to kiss all their boo-boos. I also get to help them clean up their messes and make cookies with them and paint and 'crayon' with them. It is an all consuming gig, this Mothering bit.

Add to that the important issues in life: maintaining relationships with my friends and family, finding time for Joshua and I just to talk and decompress and enjoy each other, being a functioning part of our church body, making sure to spend time in prayer and studying my Bible.

Then the 'fluff' stuff, if you will. Cleaning my home, running my business, keeping the laundry under control, cooking to feed my loved ones (maybe I should file that one under needs, but sometimes we just have to PB&J and call it dinner!). Currently, doing what I can to help my sister prep for her wedding, these things take up precious time, as well. Oh, and let's not forget the hours that must be put towards sleep, precious few that I get.

Count em up and you will see that there are not enough hours in the day for me to be worried with my hair. It is a season of learning to let go of the things that don't matter. If my closets aren't immaculate, who cares? If the floor didn't get vacuumed today, it's okay. I am learning that I don't need two hours notice before folks are allowed into my home. They can come in and step over the toys that the kids bring out every day. They can sit on my sofa, now covered with sharpie from the most recent Sarah Grace art explosion. What counts is not that my home is perfect, but that it is comfortable and inviting. Granted, when your feet stick to the floor, that isn't quite so cozy, but we try to keep that under control.

I am learning to just hang out with my children and get to know them better. And if the ironing waits an extra day or two, it really is better in the long run. There will always be things in my home that need to be done. Even if I take today to clean it from floor to ceiling, at the end of the day I will know I did it, but the kids won't care and all they will remember for the day was that Mommy was to busy to play with or talk to. Besides, have you ever tried to clean your home with two miniature tornadoes hot on your tail? For every thing you put away, they pull out two more. Each! The house will hold. The kids are growing and changing and I don't want to miss it because I was scrubbing the cabinets out. That is not to say that you shouldn't do daily cleaning, but seriously, spring cleaning can wait until Spring.

I am also working to cut out the extra stuff in our home. I am a pack rat, I admit it. But I am a pack rat in remission. I have been diligently sorting and ousting and uncluttering different parts of our home for several months now. This past Saturday, we had a yard sale. It was a success. How could it not be? We sold some stuff, and then immediately loaded up the rest and hauled it off to a thrift store. Success. Out of my house. Honestly, I am resigned to never see my hips fit into those 4's and 6's again anyway. Let someone who can button them have them! Books, movies that we did not want to be in our family collection, kitchen stuff that I never used but had held onto because I might use it one day, extra linens that I had somehow managed to stock up on, furniture that we simply did not have room or use for, gone. Out of my home, less for me to have to maintain. Making more time for me to spend with my kids. Streamlining, some call it.

So, ponytails work for me. It is a quick solution to the long hair that I have. It gives me more time to enjoy the day and relax in the blessings of my children and to be thankful to Him who saw fit to give me those children. The easier things are to maintain, the more time I can spend with my family. Yeah, definitely ponytails for a while.


Lora Lynn said...

good one. i mean really. but you could just embrace the naturally wavy you. then we'd really look like sisters!

The Bouldins said...

I am a ponytail gal myself. Until I get tired of heavy hair and chop everything off. Then I have to wait a couple months before I can reclaim my ponytail ways!

Christine said...

Great post! Being in a "ponytail phase of life" sure is hard, but it is so rewarding. I have a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and I am due in 2 weeks. Let the fun begin!