Who am I trying to impress? – British Columbia Catholic
Since the beginning of January, I have been enjoying a new series of videos called Meet the Bulmans, found on Bishop Barron’s YouTube channel. The show follows a young family who have just welcomed newborn twins into their busy home with four older children. While I exercise, I love hearing the endearing stories Rachel and Jason Bulman share about their children, but most of all, I love listening to them navigate their deeply spiritual lives through parenthood.
My children are older (and I only have four to six – no more twins!), but in their frustrations and joy I hear a wisdom I wish I had when my own children were small. In episode 6, “Embrace the Chaos”, Rachel and Jason – virtually sleepless – expressed that although they are sometimes overwhelmed at the same time, it usually turns out that one is panicked while the other is not. Jason said, “We take turns going into this frenetic mode of being.” This type of give-and-take is a blessing in any marriage because while we are all human and we all grow weary, we benefit from a partner who can anchor us in our weakest moments.
On this subject, Rachel went on to describe a gathering they had recently organized for friends who were about to welcome their own babies. The day before this event, she had worried and frantically cleaned up in preparation. Jason, knowing he had felt the same way on occasion, was able to calm her down by acknowledging that she was drowning in chores instead of caring for the people around her. He said that, ironically, we often crumble under the weight of our tasks before we can finally reach a “moment of clarity”.
Rachel’s moment of clarity was in her acknowledgment that she had placed a “false burden” on herself. She acted under pressure from the world and acted like she needed to create a false picture of what her life was like in order for her guests to have a good time at her place. While she worried about presenting a home that would make it seem like no one lived there, Jason wisely reminded her that their “home should be a school for family life.”
If they were really helping other parents prepare to welcome their own new babies, they should focus on showcasing the joys – which can even be found in the chaos – of family life, rather than trying to act like something they weren’t. They admitted that the work increases exponentially with each new child, but they are first called upon to take care of the people entrusted to them in order to lead a fruitful and fulfilled life.
I used to have a similar burden. I felt that because I was a stay-at-home mom, I had no excuse but to have a clean house, home-cooked meals, and fresh pastries on a regular basis, regardless of the number of children in my household. House. I had a mundane idea that I had to prove to people that having a bigger family wasn’t too much for me and that I could handle anything. I often became very focused on tasks at the expense of enjoying everyday moments.
When I got back to work, I guess I still felt like I had to prove that I could “do it all.” Go on! Is there anyone who can actually do it all? Besides, who was I trying to impress? Probably myself. Of course, the people who come to visit us do not come to check on our clean sinks. They come to see us!
As our children have grown, many of the tasks that have rested on my shoulders have now been lifted and taken on by others. Still, if I’m honest, I’ll admit that I still have some task anxiety. This is why I appreciate the gift of Lent.
Six weeks of Lent give me the chance to face the burdens that weigh me down. In a particular way, I confront my spiritual life and focus on prioritizing tasks and goals, as God calls me.
This Lent, I aim to follow Jason Bulman’s advice and focus on making my home “a school for family life” – a school where I am both a teacher and a student. The world can give importance to appearances; Lent emphasizes the importance of being real.
Meet the Bulmans can be found at wordonfire.org.