Today has been another astounding summation of my mothering life. After the excitement of V-day Teilee stayed home from school today. Her stomach was upset and rather than risk it we decided to stay home. Well, early in the day I scrambled to get us ready for mama sing something I hate to miss and had forgotten about until 5 min before it started. We wound up getting dressed, preparing snack and getting there without being terribly late. Sing, snack, home, lunch, nap time, preparing snack for the afternoon and dessert for dinner, and running errands. Then we took advantage of the amazingly beautiful sunny Feb. day and went for a bike ride to our local Spring Creek Gardens (an amazing community garden and horticulture center). They have a great children's garden and classes for kids and adults, an outside kitchen and amazing walking grounds. It is so peaceful and beautiful in the winter. Daddy biked with us there and then went on to work. The kids and I returned home a few hours later and I unpacked and picked up the house before starting dinner. All this with a migraine. Got the kids dinner, did dishes, got T in a bath (Landis will have one tomorrow night). Got the kids ready for bed, cut their hair, trimmed and filed Teilee's nails. Folded and put away 3 loads of laundry with another in the dryer and washer (and 2 more waiting to be done). Then I blogged while downloading the pictures from the camera into the computer. Now it is 11:00 pm. I am exhausted, falling asleep standing up tired. While today was an amazingly fun fun fun day absolutely nothing notable gets checked off my to-do list. The house (despite efforts) is still a mess, there is still laundry and dishes, and everything that NEEDS to be done still NEEDS to be done. Taxes, my other 2 home businesses, uncluttering, planning, packing, returning emails and phone calls, sending the mail, registering, research, paperwork, etc..... is still left to do. Plus no one will really notice what I DID do. No one will really notice that the kids hair is 1/2 inch shorter (yet out of the eyes now), no one will see T's polished fingernails or that I gave her her nightly massage therapy (for her toe-walking). No one will realize that there were three loads of dishes that were washed and put away, or that their pants, shirts, socks, etc... were folded and put away. Ahhhhhhh. While doing all of these unnoticeable tasks the kids complained and whined and, like all children, only notice what I don't do.
I explained it to Nick in grocery terms. Imagine stocking shelves all day, mopping floors, clearing out backstock, tending to customers while your boss constantly complained that you weren't doing the other thing that they wish you were doing instead. Tending to a customer by pushing their cart while they whined that it should be a bigger cart, roll faster, and why can't you just make it fly. Doing all this while trying to always speak kindly, be playful and fun, address each comment/complaint/statement and always know exactly what to say. Also you must find extreme gratitude for the opportunity to serve this complaining customer and your dissatisfied boss. Then you finish the cleaning and stocking to find yourself extremely exhausted (like you've never felt in your life). You clock out, ready to have glass of wine or just brush your teeth and go to bed, when you walk through the store on your way out you realize that everything you did throughout the day has been undone. Groceries are everywhere, the floor is a mess, the backstock is piling up, and tomorrow you have to start all over again without ever getting to make any real progress towards restocking or that remodeling project you wish you could get to to make your life easier.
Whew.....that is why mothers often feel so unappreciated, lonely, and frustrated by the task. Today I feel all of this but I have the extreme pleasure to say that emotion does NOT find itself a lasting position. I had an AMAZING day. I LOVED getting to be with both of my children, eating dinner with them, biking to the local garden, getting to read to them. I feel so fullfilled. Why? I have let go of the expectation that I will 'catch up'. I am learning to shut out others disappointment in my inability to prioritize them. I am a good person, a good friend, a good daughter, a good wife, a good mother. But....what comes first right now is that last one, being mom. I am sorry that I may not return your call, or email, I may procrastinate my obligation to work on something for a business, or for the kids schools or whatever. I assure everyone, including myself, that what I am replacing those 'obligations' with are these opportunities and memories that are so much more important and fulfilling and valuable. I refuse to feel guilty for that! As long as I remember that joy, that blessing of these experiences, and breathe in each moment the exhaustion will be a welcome friend.