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I Am Not an Octopus (and other life-giving mantras)

“I’m not a octopus.”

The words just slipped out of my mouth as I sat on the couch braiding my older daughter’s hair, she giggled and so did I. My youngest daughter had just asked me to tie her shoes, I was trying to remember if I had turned off the stove element after making a cup of tea that now sat cooling on the coffee table. There was still another head of hair to brush and my own shoes to slip into and the library books to grab.

I am not an octopus || this vintage moment

It’s become a thing we say now. I say it about myself and my daughter says it to me when I ask her to fill a water bottle or clear the table. “Because you’re not an octopus, Mummy? You don’t have eight arms and so you need me to help you?” Dang right, child.

I don’t have eight arms. And maybe more importantly, I don’t have the head space to manage all the thoughts and ideas let alone carry them out. I have enough thoughts swirling around my head at any given time from what to make for dinner, what jams do I still want to make and how am I going to freeze corn and pack boxes in the next two weeks? How am I going to balance all the stuff I know is coming at me in the next few months? I have to live within my limitations and that means saying no to some things, even if they are very good things and even if saying no means putting them on the docket for next August or later this fall.

I am not an octopus || this vintage moment

The timing of our move is hilarious to me. Late August is one of my very favourite times of the year because everything comes ripe- berries are mixed with stone fruit and tomatoes are everywhere at the markets. I want to bottle up all that summer goodness in mason jars to enjoy next February when summer seems like a far off dream.

Late August is also when I want to be solidifying our homeschool plans. Last year was a trial run, seeing if I could do this homeschool thing and it was made more interesting by a move in September and an emotionally brutal miscarriage in November. I was determined to be organized and scheduled this year but now we move again in September. Into our very own house which has me wanting to paint and plan out gardens.

I am not an octopus || this vintage moment

I’m not an octopus, I tell myself again.

I will say no to some things so that I can say yes to what is most needful even if that looks like a day with nothing on the calendar.

Do you have a phrase you say to remind yourself of what is needed? Tell me about your busy seasons and how you say no so that you can say yes. 


P.S. If you need another phrase to say, I love this one (and the whole post for explanation) from Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things– “I am not an airplane”.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Megan August 18, 2015, 9:45 am

    Best wishes during your move! The great thing about homeschooling is that it’s flexible, right?

    • thisvintagemoment August 18, 2015, 10:08 am

      Exactly!! Thanks for the good thoughts!

  • Jen E @ mommablogsalot August 18, 2015, 11:48 am

    So true! We moms work way too hard at the juggle sometimes.

    • thisvintagemoment August 18, 2015, 12:44 pm

      We really do and everyone is happier when we let go a little. =)

  • Krista August 18, 2015, 5:50 pm

    That’s a great mantra. 🙂 I have quite a few: just breathe, just one thing, take heart and do good, do small things with great love. They all have their place, don’t they? 🙂 XO

    • thisvintagemoment August 19, 2015, 8:04 am

      I love all of those so much as you know. =) So good and so useful for this life. XO

  • Ted August 20, 2015, 12:02 am

    I’ve said, “Is it about mortality or morality?” (and explained life/death, right/wrong). If it isn’t (much of their complaints about each other isn’t), let it go! Be happy! Laugh!

    Also, trying to hit home the ‘returning bad for bad’ idea contrasted with ‘returning good for bad’ by saying “Be a child of God.” It’s gently said and explained Perhaps years down the road it may become much more meaningful.

    • thisvintagemoment August 21, 2015, 7:40 am

      We’ve said ‘is it an ice-cream issue or an insulin issue?’ between ourselves for years (thanks to Greg Koukl) but I think it’s time we introduced that one to the girls as well. So much is just mortality!
      I like the idea of saying something, explaining it, it becoming a habit and then more understanding comes with maturity. “Be a child of God” is a good one.

  • mirari August 20, 2015, 3:53 am

    i use to tell my daughter “i’m not your slave” when she asks me things she can do/make/reach for. but this one of yours is good!
    moving’s stressing, boxes everywhere, and the realization that we’ve too many things. but if it’s for your own house, i’m sure you’ll make it in a good mood.

    • thisvintagemoment August 21, 2015, 7:41 am

      Moving is stressful but the end goal is so rewarding it helps! Thank-you=)

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