Why I stopped caring

“…one day she won’t need me anymore”

Three weeks ago I found myself in a very dark place, I was exhausted and pretty worn out with life in general. I had three days worth of laundry sitting in the living room and a burning desire to just throw it all out. My kids were acting up all the time and it seemed like all I did was snap at them. They either needed to be quiet while I finished something, or play somewhere else where I wouldn’t trip over them

WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU DON’T CARE

I snapped, one evening I looked around my messy house and just decided “no more”. No more upset mommy, no more five hours of sleep per night, and no more worrying about how I was going to pay my bills.

I didn’t drive to the nearest store and load up on all the items I have been depriving myself of with my tight budget. I didn’t take my kids out to dinner, or the movie theater. I didn’t do anything that was irresponsible and that I would have regrets about later. Instead, I put down my dish rag and went out to play with my kids. There was so much that was bogging me down; caring about my blog, caring about my secret shopping, and caring about my ex-husband’s threats to take me back to court. I just didn’t want to care at all.

WHAT I DID INSTEAD OF CARING

I took a deep breath and shut down my brain. I tickled my kids until they laughed and rolled on the ground with me. I taught my four year old how to pull weeds in the garden; and had to take another deep breath when she accidentally ripped out half a dozen radishes. I laughed with my children about nonsense. We talked about how God made the clouds, the rain, and that silly looking cat that the neighbors dress up. We ate crackers, cheese, and fruit for supper (their choice) and skipped the evening bath time fight (they weren’t THAT dirty). I taught my four year old how to play Candy Land (she is, by the way a dirty cheat).

At the end of the evening I read aloud our favorite book that we have been neglecting because I was “too busy”. I tucked in two exhausted little girls, made sure that they said their prayers and had their favorite stuffed animals. Afterwards I went into the living room, looked at the mess and  decided I didn’t care. I chose to read a book instead, something I haven’t had a chance to do in a long time.

DO I MISS CARING?

I stopped caring three weeks ago, and since then I have had so much more peace and joy in my life. As long as my house is just messy and not unclean, I don’t care. Every meal doesn’t need to look like it came from a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. If it has the required healthy food and the kids like it, who cares? Not me. I especially stopped caring that my kids were perfect.

I used to have stress from knowing I looked like an imperfect mom when my kids were loud or unintentionally rude. Sometimes kids are just kids. Since I stopped stressing about their behavior, I noticed that my kids are less stressed too. To tell you the truth, I don’t miss caring at all.

WHAT I LEARNED from not caring

I am still having times where I go in the bathroom, lock the door and chant to myself “I don’t care, I don’t care”. It’s not something that changes overnight, and it’s not that I don’t care about anything. I just started to learn how to care about what really matters. I don’t care that I could be making extra money online, I care that I am teaching my four year old how to play Go Fish (she cheats too). My house might look like a tornado whipped through it, I don’t care. I care that my two year old just learned the difference between “mouth” and “ear”.

I hold my two year old more. She is not little, but one day I will stop picking her up. One day she won’t need me anymore. Right now, she wants me. So I choose not to care about “one day”, I care about “right now”.

There are fewer arguments with my four year old since I stopped caring about being someone else’s idea of perfect. She knows she is loved and that I will stop caring about being busy when she needs me to care about her. I involve her more in my chores around the house. She helps me fold the clothes, unload the dishwasher, and feed the chickens. I can see everyday in how she blossoms with each task I care enough to let her help me with.

is caring really necessary?

It is still important for me to stick to my budget and menu plan during the week. I work as hard as I can to make ends meet and build my business. I’m not saying that I need to cut those things out of my life. Instead I cut out caring that other people would look at me and think “she’s not doing enough”. I stopped caring that the bankers might see my balance and think “she’s not working hard enough”. That people would look at my kids and think “she’s not loving enough”.

I am choosing everyday to care about praying for my kids, to care about slowing down so I can really spend time with them. The rest of the stuff is filler. Important filler, but not important enough for me to care about. I choose to care about today and about picking my kids up while I am still able to.

What do you care about?