Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My resolution

Mother, oh, Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
Why, she’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and the bills are past due.
Pat-a-cake, Darling, and peek, peekaboo.

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew,
And out in the yard, there’s a hullabaloo.
But I’m playing Kanga, and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So, quiet down cobwebs; dust, go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.

-R.H. Hamilton

I came across this poem and it put into words something I've been feeling for a long time. I sometimes feel like my life is out of control. My weekends are consumed with work, and here at home, there's always an errand that needs running, bills that need paying, phone calls to make, cooking and cleaning to be done... the list goes on and on. At the end of the day, I always manage to get all of these "important" things accomplished, but I don't always read that last book with the kids. I don't always play that last round of One Fish, Two Fish with Ella. I don't always sing an extra song at bedtime. I don't always spend those five extra minutes rocking with Cade. And while these may be small things in and of themselves, and they may not be on my "important" daily to-do list, they are things that are so important for my kids. Those are the things that define the kind of mom I want to be.

In the past, I have felt like being an ideal mom, wife, daughter, friend, and woman meant having a clean house, putting dinner on the table every evening, getting the kids to bed at the same time every night, hardly ever saying no to anyone, being there and doing things for people no matter what. Don't get me wrong- I think those can all be wonderful things, if you have tireless energy and unlimited time to do them. I don't. And after all this time, I have finally come to realize that. This pressure I put on myself to be all things to all people not only gets to me emotionally, but my chest and head ache on a daily basis. And of utmost significance to me, in striving to be "ideal", I have ventured away from being the kind of mom that I want to be and that I want my little rascals to have. I want to be the kind of mom who always has time to play, always has time for a cuddle, always has time for an extra song or kiss at bedtime. Call it classic Mommy-Guilt, but many years from now, I want to know that I didn't take this special time with my sweet babies for granted. I want to know, without a doubt, that I made the most of every single day with them.

So, that being said, my resolution this year is to let go- of my striving to be perfect, of my idea of perfect. Just let it go. God sent His son to be perfect, so I don't have to be. I'm going to try to make that my daily mantra this year. If a phone call doesn't get made or the laundry doesn't get done for a day, so be it. If I snuggle up and take a nap with my kiddos instead of cleaning the bathroom, no big deal. When I can't see the living room carpet because toys are thrown and strewn about, well... I'll remember that article I read about how allowing your children to be messy makes them more creative, and just let it be. And if we have leftovers for dinner, because it's raining, the kids are rowdy, and I just don't have the energy to tackle the grocery with them in tow, then oh, well. Instead of stressing about it, I resolve to play an extra game of One Fish, Two Fish and enjoy my time with my babies!


The McAfee's said...

i struggle with the same thing. i think all moms do....especially working moms. there are just so many obligations. our lives are so busy now! the best thing i did though was hire someone to clean my house. she comes every two weeks and it is the best thing. i just hate taking my precious time on the weekends away from my boys to clean. at least i can switch the laundry over and get on to playing. i would recommend it.....she is worth every penny!!

The McAfee's said...

and don't too hard on yourself!! you are a great mom!!

The Utz Family said...

Wow! What great words! You brought tears to my eyes! Its hard to just "let go", but you can do it!! You can tell from your pictures and posts that your children are very happy and that comes from having a teriffic mommy & daddy!!! May The Lord Continue To Bless You And Your Family This New Year!

Chris and Melissa said...

thanks, alicia and beth, for the encouragement! i am trying! alicia- we've actually thought about having someone come once or twice a month to clean, but haven't made any decisions yet. knowing that she made your life a lot easier though will definitely make me think about it a lot harder. thanks.

The McAfee's said...

really! you should. my house is soooo dirty right now and i just don't care. cindi comes tomorrow so i have played, watched a movie with sam, and we are heading out to play in the snow. it is just one big thing that you can take off your mind! sure we could save the money but it is worth it!