I woke this morning as I do most every morning, with a to do list 10 miles long and every confidence that I would get it done through my superior multitasking and my free time during afternoon naps.
At 10 am, as I was pleading with Alex to take his nap I had a depressing realization. My to do list was not going to get done. Not even close, and in that moment I had a choice to make. We’ll come back to that in a minute, but first let me digress.
In my pre-mommy days I was a high school teacher and cheer coach. I thrived on the chaos, the long days, the social interaction, but mostly on the structure. Every day I knew what I was going into and what needed to get done. Sound familiar? I would have never thought so at the time, but a lot of the joy I derived from my job was rooted in ego and pride. I loved hearing feedback from my students and administrators because it was generally a pat on the back or the feedback at least gave me ideas on how to improve and refine my skills. I loved seeing my students thrive or pass tests because it was an affirmation I was doing my job well. And both of those things were feeding my ego and fueling my pride.
Well, there is no room for egos or pride in parenthood and try as I might to implement structure sometimes it just doesn’t work. When it comes to my career as a mommy, humility, humbleness and flexibility are crucial to my success or failure. Gone are the days of praise for a job well done and short term feed back. As a mom I know my feedback and evaluations happen continuously, but in a lot more subtle ways. I know this is not a unique struggle, but it is one of the hardest I’ve faced being a mom. How to stay motivated, on track, fueled without that external structure and feedback.
So, back to today. I could have chosen to feel hugely defeated. I mean, I had been working on the same blog post for FIVE days. FIVE. It has taken me five days to not complete something. Not exactly encouraging is it? I could have chosen to resent my children. Why do these little people need so much? How is it that they cannot allow me to finish a simple task? I’m not asking for hours here, kids. I’m asking for maybe 45 minutes. It seems reasonable to me. Maybe I should just give up blogging? Take one thing off the to do list?
I know all moms have had some version of these thoughts and fought this same battle. It’s a battle that needs to be fought over and over again, but here’s where I landed: my kids will only be little for a while and I’m going to try my best to enjoy EVERY second of it.
Embracing that mentality, I reexamined my accomplishments from the morning. No. I hadn’t worked out or paid my bills (sorry, hunny. Don’t worry- I’ll probably get them paid before anyone comes to repossess anything). But here’s what I had done:
1) I kept everyone alive and in one piece.
Seriously, huge accomplishment with two mobile children. Especially when they both seem magnetically drawn to climbing, electrical sockets, and anything that could be potentially harmful.
2) Nourished two children I brought into this world.
I prepared wholesome from scratch meals and snacks for J and nursed A. I swear, both kids are going through growth spurts, so this meant multiple meals and nursing sessions. We’re talking hobbit style eating- breakfast, second breakfast, snack, second snack. You get the picture.
3) Taught my children how to cope with disappointment and negative emotions. Both of my kiddos had faced disappointments and had meltdowns during the morning. I know that A’s was over naptime, I can’t remember what J’s was about just that there was more than one. The point is, I didn’t bribe them into good behavior, I didn’t break down and yell or hit- I stuck to my guns while acknowledging their emotions and not caving to the urge to yell or give into frustration (with them or myself).
4) I modeled how to chose love and flexibility.
For some people going with the flow and not getting frustrated is easy and second nature. For me, not so much. It is a battle to remain loving, calm, and kind when chaos breaks out sometimes. But my hope is my kids will grow up seeing those qualities and knowing it’s a choice you make.
Looking at it like that, laid out before me in list form, it was a HUGELY successful morning. I’ll leave you with this quote,
Let’s define these moments friends, for the moments are defining our children.