It has been a while, but I am linking up with the Five Minute Friday today (confession: I went over five minutes). So if you’re interested in joining in, hop on over to Kate Motaung’s place and join on in!
I entered motherhood not realizing that I had my fists clenched.
I held tightly onto this idea of what a perfect mom is. The mom whose kids don’t watch tv. The mom who only feeds her kids fresh, organic food. She doesn’t lose her patience. She finds joy in the mundane. And she is SO playful and fun! Me as a mom was going to be so carefree and lifegiving. And art projects and creative play ideas EVERY day. And NATURE! We will spend so much time in nature!
I think that I thought me as a mom might look a little like this:
Then I got in the deep of it. And by the time I had two, all of my perfectionistic goals crashed to the floor.
But I still didn’t let go of that image. In fact somedays I still see my fists clenched around this perfect mom image.
Tuesday was a rough day around here. There was the toothpaste that was squeezed all over Ruby’s belly and the bathroom counter. Then an hour later it was the entire roll of toilet paper that was drenched and shredded all over the same bathroom. There was the lip gloss that was smeared on her lips, forehead, and in her hair. From the moment we woke up, until nap time there were tiny catastrophes and my patience was shot. At some point, I turned the kids over to the tv to keep them busy. Then at lunch, I fed them that emergency can of spaghettios with meatballs I keep in the cabinet for “days like this.”
(And yes, my kids do eat in their diapers/underwear when spaghetti sauce is involved.
All the while, I realized I was keeping this running tally in my mind of my failures. Checking it up against that tightly held image of perfection.
So, my mind looked something like this: I lost my patience at that moment. I didn’t really want to engage with my kids in that moment. I fed them spaghettios with their mystery meatballs (what in the world is in those things?!). I didn’t want to play with them. I was crabby and tired. I let them watch more tv than the Pediatric Association (or whoever else) says is healthy for them. And to top it all off I DIDN’T ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF MY DAY!
All the while, to be honest, if I were to have asked my kids, the tally would have looked like this: We loved getting to watch more shows than normal. We were SUPER excited to eat spaghettios and requested more and more meatballs. We played. Our basic needs were taken care of. We had TWO baths, one with bubbles! Chalk that up to a day of childhood wins.
Someday I hope to release that image in its entirety and let grace cover my every moment of motherhood. But in the meantime it’s a gift of walking with others in solidarity of the imperfections and struggles of everyday life.