Alright, ladies. You know that pesky bar that we set way too high for ourselves? Based on society’s supposed expectations of us? I am going to need you to lower it.
A little lower.
How about just put it on the floor and walk away from it.
Isn’t that better?
Somewhere in the past decade or so of parenting, us moms have decided that we should just take on everything in our path, and look good doing it.
Who are we impressing? Or maybe a better question is, who are we hurting?
Our children are only young for a very short season and yet we act as if we have all the time in the world. Somewhere during my decade tenure of motherhood I became very distracted. Blinded even. I lost sight of what was important. What is literally right in front of my face, shouting and kicking and screaming for my attention. Yet my attention seemed to be elsewhere.
Sure, I could say, “Well, I am doing this for them.” But would that be the truth? Is it for them, or is it to persuade others’ perceptions of me? To give people the illusion that I am some domestic goddess, although the majority of the time I am not entirely even sure that all of my flock is accounted for. I’d be happy if my ducks were in the same pond and knew where BOTH shoes were, let alone in a row.
Whose expectations am I trying to meet?
In my illusion I needed the cleanest house. The most hobbies. Multiple circles of friends. And then I blinked and my first born is going to high school in the fall. I look at him, and think back over the past few years of one of the most pivotal moments of his life (the dreaded puberty), and I cannot honestly say that I was present.
Physically, I was there, but not mentally.
Baby number 5 is already almost half a year old. I could have sworn he was born yesterday.
My children attend a local learning cooperative one day a week. One morning recently, I received a text message late that one of the parent volunteers wasn’t going to be coming that day, and therefore wouldn’t be bringing lemonade for our lemonade stand. This sent me into a tail spin. I had to get 5 kids dressed, packed and in the truck. Get my dogs together to go to the groomer. Get the teen to school. And now make it to the food store for lemonade. All within an hour. Any semblance of calm I had went right out the window that morning and my children felt the full force of my wrath.
When we finally got to co-op, I sent them off to their respective classes. And as they walked away with their shoulders slumped, feet shuffling, I crumbled. This was supposed to be for them.
This was something they looked forward to every week and I let my obsession with perception rob that wind from their sails.
I couldn’t just let one thing other than them fall to the wayside. That day I promised myself, never again.
From now on I am setting that bar so low that putting on pants is going to be a celebrated accomplishment.
I am going to listen to my 9-year-old nonsensically babble about things he’s read or watched on YouTube. I am going to answer the 943rd question of the day without telling my 11-year-old to “Google it” in an exasperated tone. I am going to get on that floor and join in on the Sesame Street and dinosaur dance party. I’m going to read stories to the baby.
I am going to do things because I want to. Not because of society’s expectations.
I am going to slow down.
I am going to breathe.
I am going to refill my own cup so much that it overflows.
The house can wait.
The hobbies will always be there, and the circles of friends should understand.
I am going to relish in the years I have left with my children while they are young and annoying and adoring of me.