One of the things I've been learning about motherhood is that not a path. You'd think it would be linear, right? Infant to baby to toddler to kid to teen to adult. And I suppose the overarching milestones of motherhood are a bit linear--but the day to day stuff? It's a mud puddle. A meandering cesspool. A indiscernible mess.
Have you ever tried to manage a mud puddle? Or clean it? It's impossible, you just make more mud. That's how I feel about myself sometimes when I try to manage or control my toddler. It's counter productive--I just make a bigger mess, a larger pit, more chaotic problem.
But yet there is something human, something primal in me that makes me want to control everything as a mother. I'm not talking about instilling values and morals in my kid. I'm talking about making sure he doesn't touch things that he shouldn't, or make to big of a mess, or throw things, or step out of my preconceived boundaries that I've placed on him. And on myself.
I mean, the guilt I feel is directly proportional to the satisfaction of getting the dishes done on time--or not getting them done. Hence the guilt factor. Or, I'll get the dishes done but not the floor cleaned, and still have guilt. Sometimes I rush from task to task in some kind of mommy frenzy, all my energy and thoughts bent on getting things done.
I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes I turn motherhood into having all my ducks in a row. And motherhood is nothing about lining up the ducks. Sure, it looks nice and feels good to have all the things checked off my list, but is it sustainable? Emotionally and physically? And why, I ask myself, do I feel so much angst when I didn't get the last thing done? Shouldn't it be enough to have gotten almost all the way there?
Mommyhood isn't a freight train. I don't have to go 500 miles an hour. I don't even have to go 25 miles an hour. It's okay to go 1 mile an hour sometimes. Or even zero.
I'm learning to slow down. To stop and look around at the mess and appreciate the things that made it messy. My kid, or my husband, or myself cooking---this creates disorder in my usually orderly environment. And then I order it up again, a revolving queue for the next day's activates. Every day I make plans for the next, and the next, and the next...
Managing motherhood is hard. It's a balance. Maybe even an art. Right now I'm in the mess of it, and it doesn't look very artistic to me at all. I'm looking for that sweet spot--the spot where the dishes are done and my kid is loved and my soul is filled with time alone and time with my husband, and time with God.
It's like searching for the holy grail in a sea of misanthropy.