Monday, May 16, 2011

Holding My Breath

It's funny, isn't it?

The person we are vs. the person we want to be.

Generally they aren't the same.

Similar? Somewhat recognizable?

Maybe. At times.

The exact same?

Hardly.

I want to be the mother that comes home from work, kisses both children on their foreheads, ties an apron around my waist, and makes a four course meal while still in her heels because she wants to look wonderful for her husband, while my children sit around the table doing their homework in their wonderfully clean home.

Granted, I have found myself cooking supper while still in my heels, but generally instead of an apron around me there is an air of resentment, hurry, impatience, the feeling of being over-whelmed and instead of looking wonderful, or like a scene out of a 50's sitcom, I look like a disheveled mess.

People often ask me how I do it all....or if I have more hours in the day than they do.

Instead of making me feel good and empowered and like a master time manager, I instead cringe a little inside because I know how a lot of it gets done.

In a hurry and with a feeling of inadequacy.

My fear?

That I am passing that on to my children.

This morning as the kids climbed on the bus and I rushed inside to pack my lunch, grab my purse and make it to town in less than 20 minutes, I thought back over the morning and wished for a re-do.

As the kids started to rise from bed, I found myself in the floor folding laundry.  I then stripped the beds of their sheets and threw them in the washer.  I fixed them breakfast and put up the laundry I had gotten out of the dryer. 

(I realize that there is nothing abnormal about any of that.  This is the life of a mother....)

But instead of being sympathetic to my daughter who was up many times during the night wiping her nose, or taking time with my son to make sure that he was getting around in plenty of time for the bus, I found myself rudely asking them to be quiet so I could "Puh-lease listen to the weather so I could know what I needed to lay out for them to wear." {Insert sharp exhale.}

Yeah.  I'm good.

I also found myself heaving my shoulders at one point and sighing in exasperation as I handed L some Tylenol when she went on for the 100th time in her most pathetic voice, "My head just feels so bad."

I should have rubbed her shoulders and her head and told her how sorry I was that she felt bad....but instead, the overwhelmed part of me found myself aggravated that in one moment she could sound so pitiful and the next be talking so loudly and so animated. 

For goodness sake.  She's 8.  I should cut her some slack and not hold her to the expectations I would have for an adult.

But this morning?  I apparently did.

And by all accounts, I wasn't even holding up to the expectation I would have for an adult.

Taking in my overall demeanor L looked at me and said, "Why are you mad at me?"

Who was being pathetic now?

I told her I was sorry and that it was just hard for me to know how much credence to give to her complaints since she has been on-again, off-again "sick" since last night.  One moment dramatically lying on the couch covered with blanket with an ice pack on her head and the next minute outside playing with her cat telling me she felt fine.

The weight of providing, and schedules, and finding B in his room quite literally in she shape of a "V" with his feet and head on the floor while the weather appropriate (ahem) clothes I had laid out for him were sitting to the side, and later him sitting in the floor tying his shoes before he put them on his feet, and faces that weren't clean because apparently I am the only one that hears me when I say, "please wash your face" had wore me down.  Way down.

Again.  This is nothing new.  This is the life of a mother.

And although I try really hard to be a good mother, quite simply there are times I AM NOT.
I walked the kids to the bus and kissed each of them goodbye and told them I loved them.  I said a quick prayer that these are the times that they will remember.....not the ugly side of me I showed this morning.

I am acutely aware that these times -ugly and not-are passing too quickly and that soon I won't have to lay out their clothes, and that them not listening to me tell them to wash their face will be the least of my worries, but sometimes........the moment, the stress, the responsibility catches up with me.

And I find myself wondering how all the other mothers do it?

How do they seem so relaxed about their day to day requirements? 

Do they do more?  Or less? 
Do they care more?  Or less? 
Is their patience more?  Or less?
Do they spend more time?  Or less?

I think sometimes mothers end up looking to other mothers in an effort to find how they are either different....or better...or worse.

I think that we should look to other mothers in a hope to find that in some ways we are the same-and that I am not alone.

Working at a funeral home I have the opportunity to see people as they reflect on the impact others have had on their lives.

Sometimes it takes loss to do that.

But the memory that stands out in my mind, and that I took to heart even before I had children of my own, was at a funeral where grown children -and there were several of them-got up to speak about their memories of their mother.  Each child started their portion of the eulogy with, "I was mom's favorite".

I want that for my children.

I want each of them to know that they are my favorite.  My very favorite one.

Maybe that is what I am trying to show my children through my rushing to make our home "perfect", my written words on this blog, the scrapbooks I make for each of them, and the unsaid words in my heart that sometimes, in the rush of this hectic life, don't make it out of my mouth.

I need them to take to heart that they are my very favorite one.

Very. Favorite. One.

And trying to be perfect, and put together, and serve home-cooked meals in a perfectly clean house is not a good translation of my love for them.

I love them even when life isn't perfect.

And it isn't.

And I most definitely am not.

And when my imperfections come oozing out of me on a hectic weekday morning, as they did today, I will try to be patient, and nod with understanding, when THEY are the ones heaving their shoulders, exhaling loudly and sighing an exasperated sigh.

3 comments:

Manda said...

im so glad im not alone....i cried for an hour the other morning because of how horrible and snappy i was to my kids...LOL!

Bek said...

Thank you for your transparency. I, too, have had more than my share of mornings that felt EXACTLY as you described. Where I sit in the car, after dropping off the child in the morning, look at myself in the rear view mirror, and feel like an impatient, shrewish fraud. You are not alone.

I'm going with the "When you know better, you do better" mantra. I know better. I can do better. I just hope I remember that on Monday morning.

Bek said...

Thank you for your transparency. I, too, have had more than my share of mornings that felt EXACTLY as you described. Where I sit in the car, after dropping off the child in the morning, look at myself in the rear view mirror, and feel like an impatient, shrewish fraud. You are not alone.

I'm going with the "When you know better, you do better" mantra. I know better. I can do better. I just hope I remember that on Monday morning.