Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Envy

Though it is not something I am proud of, there have been times in my life that I have been envious of others. The girls with clear skin. The ones with naturally curly beautiful hair. The women with uncomplicated, easy pregnancies. And her. The mom.

When Aidan first started going to preschool, he was barely two. It was a city sponsored program, and the enrollment in the class seemed to change every single session. There were never the same group of kids, though there were always a few that stuck around each time. There was a little boy in his class, and for the life of me I can't remember what his name was. The only thing I can remember for sure was that his name had to have started with an A. He had three siblings, and they all had A names.

At the time, Ashley was a baby. I was going to school three nights a week, dealing with a colicky baby, and completing my training to become a doula. I was tired and overwhelmed and more than a little frustrated most of the time. Aidan was a runner, Ashley was a crier. And I was constantly chasing one or quieting the other. Or both.

Then I saw her. This kid's mom. She had one older daughter, the boy in Aidan's class and two younger kids. And she was so calm. And peaceful. And nurturing. Rather than get frustrated with the messes her kids made, she would lovingly teach them how to use the broom and dustpan. How to work together. They sang while they cleaned up. It was nauseating, really. But I was envious of her. She was "just" a stay at home mom, and she really seemed to love it. I, on the other hand, was chasing a career I knew was slipping away and trying to squeeze too much into every day while simultaneously raising two babies.

Fast forward a few years, to about this time last year. AJ was teeny tiny still, in the sling one morning at drop-off at school. And one of the moms at school made a comment to me, one that I really hadn't thought much about. She said that I was so calm. I was so peaceful. I wasn't frazzled and rushed. I really knew my kids, and I dealt with them in a gentle and loving way. And she wanted to know how I managed to do that with four kids. Then it dawned on me. I had become that mom.

It's not something that I think happened overnight. A large part of it had to do with me and my stubbornness. Though being at home might not have been where I ever envisioned myself, and it might not be where I will stay forever, it is where I am now. And I had to make my peace with that. I had to stop trying to do everything, holding on to the delusion that I was ever going to be what I thought I was going to be and be a mom at the same time. It just isn't possible. I can't do everything. And what I am doing now, with my children, is far more important than any job ever could be. I've learned to embrace domesticity. I've learned to love it.

A big part of the change also, I think, has to do with the reality of having more than a couple of kids. I can't micromanage every little detail about their lives. It just can't happen. I can't spend time worrying about the little stuff. There is a lot of knowledge that comes from having a lot of kids. For instance, I know already that if AJ becomes a biter, like his big brother did, that it will just be a phase. He will outgrow it, it has nothing to do with my abilities as a mother, and he will be fine. I won't bother preoccupying myself with worry about it, like I did when I only had Aidan to think about. I've got too much else going on, and I've been through it before. It's easier to over analyze everything when you only have one or two kids.

I've learned to effectively multitask. I've learned that kids are messy, and to some degree, my house won't stay clean for many years to come. I've learned that it is easier to help them do something than to insist that they do it alone. And I've realized how fast they grow up, how quickly they change. And I have realized that I need to stop and enjoy every second that I can, no matter how much else there is to do. I've learned to help them grab that broom and learn how to clean up their messes together.

I am that mom. And I'm just fine with it.

1 comment:

  1. I am in the envy stage...I hope to be THAT mom one day.....sigh

    ReplyDelete

Some of My Most Popular Posts