I'm learning that life as a Mom can be awesome, but it also threatens to be a fun sucking experience. When I became a Mom I involuntarily began to label anything relatively high energy and fun as hazardous. I am constantly saying some version of, "Don't touch that", "Don't lick that", Don't go so fast.", Don't move so slow", "Don't stand there", Don't jump off that". Life now appears to be a minefield of bad ideas and with a few choice words I can swiftly suck the fun out of anything. It's apparently my latest superpower. I understand if I am not careful I'll become a stuffy, crazy-eyed Mom faster than it takes my 3-year-old to look up at the sound of a candy wrapper. Motherhood can be a grouch making machine if we let it. This week I've become keenly aware that if I don't stand my ground I will become a jerky, short-tempered, impatient woman with chronically pursed lips. It's a fact that kids cry a lot, they are always pulling on you, they're pouty, and most days kids are just difficult. I mean, of course not mine. I'm talking other people's kids.
Motherhood may try to make me take up residence in Lameville, but it is also making me less selfish. I often have to fight the urge to clean, cook, email or relax all by myself while the kids are asking to play. Instead I make an honest effort to work on that puzzle or dump the blocks all over the floor with the girls. It's easy to forget the task will still be there when I am ready to do it later, and sometimes later does not come until they are in bed. For the record: Taking time for yourself when you bare the title of Mom is not selfish. In fact, the opposite is true and "me time" should be encouraged when done in a healthy way. However, when reflecting on "pre-children Emily" I can see that I was really selfish before having kids. My Dad has referred to me a self-preservationist, which is a nice way of saying the same thing I'm sure. And why wouldn't I have been? I mainly had my own comfort to look after. I only brushed my teeth, put on my own coat, wiped myself, and watched what I wanted to watch. I was years removed from long division and slept for less than 8 hours only if I was out at a concert or a midnight movie. I'm still kind of selfish these days, just less so, because my kids really need me and well,...I love my needy, giggle boxes like only a mother can. So lesser things can wait.
Attempting to complete tasks throughout the day is exhausting anyway. Kids are so slow with their squirrel like attention spans and their tiny hands. My girls love to help around the house (I know, I should shut my mouth right there and thank sweet Jesus) and I try to let them help even though folding laundry turns into a 30 minute task together, followed by 5 minutes of me refolding (I can be Type-A this way, blurg). Baking banana bread for the first time took an hour and a half! Lord have mercy! I know many of you understand the constant back and forth between teachable moments and the just let me do it itch! Oh, the joy of little hands in every task! I have failed
a few many times when I have to
switch from one mode to another I'm afraid.
I know I'm still getting the hang of it all. Being a Mom is tough stuff; kind of like being a kid. There is just so much to learn. It is nice to be reminded that kids really do love us. Sometimes that love just sounds an awful lot like whining.
Hug more, shout less. And Moms....remember to smile; you're doing a great job!