I read THIS blog post in the morning, as I was going through our twitter feed. Here is an excerpt:
“But seeing the messy house, and walking around the cluttered rooms, and feeling exhausted still bothers me. Just because I choose the most important things, doesn’t mean leaving the less important things doesn’t suck. Just because in 20 years I will be glad I read those bedtime stories, doesn’t mean tomorrow I’m not going feel irritated that I haven’t had 10 spare minutes to change the sheets on my bed in weeks. Just because I prioritized, doesn’t mean I feel happy.
But we’ve all been told this is the path to happiness. This prioritizing and focusing is supposed to be a magic cure-all for feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. So when we still feel angry that we’re running downstairs naked because all our clean underwear is in a basket in the living room, we feel like we’re failing. And when we walk by the trash can that’s overflowing and starting to stink and want to cry, we feel like we’re doing something wrong. And when we desperately wish we could zone out in front of the tv for 10 minutes instead of listening to a Level 1 I Can Read book for the tenth time, we feel like a horrible mom.”
Here is what I want to say to this mom…
First of all, I want to send her a big hug. I can feel her frustration, her pain, her loneliness. If she was my friend, I would start making sure our crew brought over meals once a week. If she wanted company, great! We would stay and offer an adult conversation. If not, us gal pals would drop off dinner for her family, fold a basket of laundry, and be on our way.
This is the other thing that I think we all need to hear. YOU CAN change your routine and still be a good mom. You CAN change your priorities for a day and your children will still remember that you read them a story every night at bedtime.
If the basket in the middle of the floor, full of laundry is driving you crazy, if the pile of stuff is making your head spin, deal with it. Prioritizing yourself into misery isn’t serving you or your family. Her children may be too young to help with laundry folding…so here is another idea. You have lots of laundry baskets in the house? Instead of a bedtime reading story, throw all your laundry somewhere where you can fold it. At the same time, put the laundry baskets on the floor and do a living story…let all the kiddos get in their “ship” and tell you where they would go on an adventure, or narrate an adventure for them…have them sail the stormy seas (shake the baskets around and make storm noises), have them pitch the anchor, have them tell you what they discovered once they landed on firm ground….I think you get the point. The laundry gets folded, the “story” happens, and you can reclaim your baskets afterwards to get the clean clothes back into the right places.
If we take a breath, and take a minute to think outside of our routine, we can probably come up with different ways of organizing our daily routines so that the goal of spending quality time with our children can jive with our basic needs and expectations of ourselves/home/etc. We can consider/ try to remember routines can be malleable and fluid when we need them to be. They do not always have to be set in stone, never to be broken.
Does anyone else get so caught up in being the perfect mom that we forget to keep in touch with our needs? It is possible to be Krystyna, meet our family priorities, and still be a Good Mom that didn’t read the story, and didn’t do bath time. What I did do is meet one of my basic needs (deal with “whatever else is important to us” – for me it’s clutter) and still be a good parent. I would propose that we are even better equipped to deal with another long day ahead of us tomorrow, because our spirit is more still for having dealt with whatever was irritating us that wasn’t getting done.
I send big hugs to all the mamas out there that have been in The Hard. The overwhelming feeling of wanting to do it all and not enough hours in the day to be everything to everyone. The piles that seem like they are never going to go away. They do…and so do the kids…so this is my approach: just live each day for itself, adjust priorities for that day, and remember that this is just my reality “for now”.
To quote another awesome mama, “You are a good mom.”