Last Updated on April 8, 2018

For the past several years I’ve referred to my major mode of movement often …flying by the seat of my pants.

Oh, I try to plan. I’m a planner at heart. I want to be organized, get things done, and check things off the list. It just doesn’t seem to happen. I’m afraid I’m always getting ambushed by something.

I’m just simply not able to plan a day and have it be what I expected. This morning I even thought about how this was going to be the day I did it all–I was so very determined. But two sick children ended that determination.

Now, if I liked surprises and enjoyed spontaneity all the time, this would be the life to be living. Unfortunately, I’m a real person who would actually like to accomplish a task in a reasonable amount of time. Spontaneity is all well and good for a movie night, but really, as a way of life, not so great.

Doing Nothing, Is Something

We’ve had a lot of snow days. It’s been fun except for the accomplishing absolutely nothing thing. I love my kids and I love spending time with them, but good golly they mess up my “doing” so much.

As a single parent, our lives are so often about getting everything together … or maybe I should say holding everything together … or even just looking like we are holding everything together. But I can’t seem to hold anything together.

In order to survive as single parents with our sanity intact, I’m pretty sure we have to lower some expectations about what we can accomplish in 15 minutes, in an hour, in a day, in a week … well, you get the idea. Maybe if I didn’t put so many things on my to-do list, I could finish a day not feeling like a complete failure.

But there’s a whole lot of grace in this life. And my kids would much rather have me watch a movie with them than have a dish free counter. (I know because they’ve told me.) My kids would rather have family time than a perfect house.

Relax Expectations

I’ve heard the saying, “A messy house is a happy house,” and to some degree I agree. Although I’d like some order.

The key is finding the balance, understanding priorities, and relaxing. Relaxing our expectations – particularly the unreasonable ones but maybe some reasonable ones too. We single parents need to relax in general. I know, I know … show me how, when, and where and I’m there!

As much as I wish relaxing was a glass of sweet tea, a good book, and a hammock … mine is more sitting in the grass watching my son play soccer, putting down the work project to watch a little girl ride her bike, or sharing the sofa with five children on movie night.

I believe that relaxing is an attitude.

It’s choosing not to stress about the stuff we can’t fix and maybe even the stuff that we can fix. It’s choosing not to stress about the past, the present or the future because God’s got it.

Flying by the seat of my pants will probably be my way for quite a while, but I think I’m okay with that.


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  1. Colossians 3:17 says that Jesus is “before all things, and in him all things hold together.” So it’s okay if we can’t keep it all together – He takes care of it.

  2. So true, Susan. I often grieve for the order I used to have. Even though I joke about my messy life and have mostly embraced it, there is still a part of me who cries when I survey the mounds of mess. I still have a voice inside that whispers I’ve failed. It’s softer these days, dampened by layers of laundry, but it still lurks under the surface.
    But then I look back over a day where I have chosen my kids over mess patrol…and I have no regrets.
    I think someday the mess will be gone. And I will be sad. In fact, I might have to dump some toys on the floor and trip just for old time’s sake. 😉
    Hang in there, sweet mom!