Living in southern California brings new challenges. All the cities seem to blend together and I don’t notice how much time passes while running errands. We stopped at four places today and didn’t get home until dinner time. It was not quite what I had planned for the day. We need to schedule an errand day with lunches packed, water bottles filled, and homework in the car. While driving all over the place today, I kept thinking about how much laundry I had piled up at home, how much office work I had to get caught up on, and what in the world was I going to make for dinner? Thankfully we had left overs to turn into tacos, but each time we go shopping I find myself buying t.v. dinners for nights when we just don’t get home in time to cook (and I am not a fan of t.v. dinners).
I quickly threw dinner together and switched the laundry before realizing that I needed to make a sacrifice. I felt horrible that the kids missed out on our regular schedule so we quickly rinsed the dishes, put the leftovers away, and headed straight to the pool. I knew I needed to do something to salvage this day so they could go to sleep happy. I dislike running errands and I know the kids aren’t too keen on it either. I’m thankful we live in a community that has a heated pool! Even thirty minutes of swimming can cheer the kids up and help them forget what a boring day we had. It helps even more that they sat in the jacuzzi for a few minutes too. Now they’re taking turns with the shower and then relaxing in their bean bags for a cartoon just before bed time.
I’m stealing just a few moments to jot down my thoughts for today before I need to finish up with the laundry and get the kitchen cleaned up. Do you ever daydream about what you could get done if you had a day to yourself without interruption? As much as I would love to pamper myself with an uninterrupted day of relaxation, aromatherapy and a bubble bath I really end up thinking about reorganizing the new office and getting caught up on filing. I even got a NeatDesk and have yet to get it set up! When I’m folding laundry, I think about how I need to dust the ceiling fan blades. When I’m vacuuming, I think about how I need to clean out the cat box. When I’m running errands, I think about how I need to take the kids on a field trip to the aquarium.
You know, they don’t have a degree in motherhood or housekeeping and we get in plenty of hours, months, and years of experience that I am certain we can state that we have our Masters! In fact, surviving a wedding and grandchildren most definitely should yield a doctorate! I have a nineteen year old daughter studying to be a holistic practioner and my sixteen year old is contemplating a huge decision for her future once she’s eighteen (and that’s a topic for another day). One thing I have learned in all this zany busyness is that we need to give ourselves some grace.
Each day of motherhood is different and no matter how much scheduling I plan for, it never works out the same. If I held myself to the standard of my to-do list each day, I would drown in self condemnation. I can’t keep up with it all. It doesn’t mean I stop trying. It doesn’t mean I give up and let my house go to pot while zoning in front of the t.v. all day. It just means that I need to cut myself some slack (which often doesn’t get done either).
So here I sit, blogging, trying to breathe deeply, yet struggling with getting the kids to get their teeth brushed so they can get into bed. Is it wrong of a mother to desperately need her kids to get to bed early sometimes? Doesn’t a mom ever get a chance to be herself, as herself? I love being a mom, I’m not complaining at all. I just would like some time to be…Lisa. I would like time to be Lisa, who likes to write, who likes long walks on the beach, who enjoys photography, and Lisa who likes to go to the movies without spending $60 for sodas and popcorn. It can’t possibly be a crime for a mother to want to have some time to herself. In fact, I think we need to schedule time to be able to do just that. Maybe this is why some moms go through such a nasty case of Empty Nest Syndrome when their kids grow out of the home. They find themselves empty, no more laundry to fold, lunches to make, or games to drive to.
I don’t want to lose myself in mothering and forget who I really am, aside from being a mother. I don’t want to lose my own dreams in the midst of helping my kids to achieve theirs (and I don’t think they would want me to either). I just live day to day. I mother our children hour by hour.
Do we ever get to have the feeling of accomplishment as mothers? Do we ever get to wear the ‘cap and gown’ and walk to the sound of Pomp and Circumstance as we receive our degree in Motherhood? Sometimes it feels like I’m sitting in a never ending class with no recess in sight. We don’t get graded on our mothering skills and maybe it’s a good thing we don’t, but getting a big red A+ to hang on the fridge sure would be nice.
So with all that said, I have some goals for this year. I just turned 40 years old and I want to make some big changes to prolong my life and enjoy every minute of it to the fullest. Because quite honestly, there will be a day when my kids are all grown up and gone and I’ll have plenty of time to clean the ceiling fan blades and organize my filing cabinet, but I won’t always get to play with my kids. I want to have energy and strength in my joints to be able to enjoy their teen years without getting winded and breathless.
Maybe in doing this I will finally get that degree.
And now it’s time to get that laundry done and kiss the kids before they drift off to sleep…. all my love,