Thursday, April 10, 2014
A Planted Seed
'Here's Dad, he's skiing, and fishing, and riding his long board, and riding his bike in the mountains. And Mom that's you, and you're talking with your friends.'
It was a lovely picture, perfectly detailed in every way from my little three year old, It was that picture that planted a seed that I've been struggling with ever since. I tried not to ask, but curiosity got the best of me, 'So is that what Mom does...... talk with her friends?'
He proudly aswered, 'Yes Mom, it's your favorite.'
Alright so he wasn't too far off, but I was still intrigued so I urged him on, 'Is there anything else Mom likes to do?'
He innocently shrugged his shoulders, 'No, can you tell me?'
What was to be expected, he was only three, so I turned my attention to my five year old, and then again to my eight year old. In the end Abe's answer was the only one given with certainty, what I collected from my older two boys was really just a list of similar guesses.
'shop for stuff?'
'help your sons pick up?' (started a reaction)
'play with your sons?' (pretty cute)
'give your sons hugs?' (adorable)
'go on bike rides?'
'go to Jamie's?'
Clean, cook, and shop, is that all they ever see me do? I guess I should be happy that hugging and playing made the list. The truthfulness of their answers was the hardest thing to process. I don't even know what my hobbies are anymore, how could I expect my boys to recognize them. My loves have become completely unclear. How do I sort out what are mine and what are theirs? What things do I do out of want, and not out of need? There was a time I craved exercise, but now do I only do it because I want to eat? What about this blog, do I write out of love, or simply a compulsion? It's all so vague, and so that seed begins to grow.
How often do we hear that motherhood is a selfless act? I knew that entering motherhood meant the needs and desires of my family would most likely come before my own. I'm sure my hesitance to give up my own selfish ways somewhat delayed the presence of adding children to our family. Children mean a loss of control, a loss of control is unsettling for someone who's an obsessive list maker, a rule follower, and finds comfort in schedules. Little ones don't exactly follow a rule book and fit into a checklist. My navigation through motherhood has been full of struggles and learning experiences...... but more commonly the most rewarding moments of my life. I love being a mom, I don't even mind the personal sacrifices, it was that growing seedling that was bothering me!
The realization that I'd postponed my own desires and passions long enough that not only did my children not know them, but neither did I, was concerning, but not entirely unique. I'd heard other moms voice similar concerns, I wasn't alone, I'd figure it out, and so with that I did my best to stifle my little seedlings growth, and move on.
That tiny seedling remained dormant, almost forgotten until after a difficult week a typical disagreement over homework and a messy room sent me into a downward spiral of completely unhealthy pessimistic thinking. Looking back I'm sure it had more to do with lack of sleep and unbalanced hormones, then the missed math sheet and the pile of legos. 'I was a horrible mother..... I shouldn't be allowed to have children...... They all hate me..... How could anyone ever love me......' Downward spiral remember..... even though I knew what I was saying was ridiculous, I couldn't stop my negative decent. The one sensible thought I had was 'I need a break'.
The only nights I've ever been away from my boys are the ones spent delivering another baby, this means I've had 2 nights away from Jo, 1 from Sol, and none from Abe. It's some pretty easy math to figure my 'night away' total..... 2, and really can labor be considered a night away..... I think I'm due? For the first time in years I wanted a break from my mothering duties. It was the idea of a 'break' that allowed me to temporarily regain control of my thoughts.
A break.... what to do, where to go, who to go with? I want my 'break' to justify the time I spend away from my family. Can I come back not only rejuvenated, but better? I'd heard of other moms organizing a 'girls weekend', full of spa visits, shopping, and delicious desserts. Sounds fun, but spending money on things that I'll only end up feeling guilty about later seemed counterproductive. But what about a getaway tribute for a fifteen year wedding anniversary? A chance to not only celebrate a landmark in our marriage, but spend quality time together free from distractions, finding what we may have lost. I think I've found my needed break.
Another sacrifice, looks like a tropical anniversary getaway will have to come another year, how often does your husband get the opportunity to spend a week in Alaska fishing with friends. Can't keep a budget and do both, I won't be the one to take that away from him...... motherhood..... their needs and desires before my own. Darn that seed!
Time has a way of not only fading downward spirals, and choking seedlings, but also a chance to rediscover. I haven't lost my identity, I know who I am, and Abe's picture doesn't define me, not even to him. I haven't forgotten about my desired break, a chance to spend time unearthing that seed, productively doing something that I love. But until that time comes I've got toilets to scrub, laundry to fold, hugs to give, dinner to make, schedules to keep, and obviously friends to visit.... and in my spare time.... I'll figure out the rest.