Sunday, March 06, 2011

About that last post...

So I've been worrying about the last post I wrote.  I think I sounded like the students who always bugged me in college - the ones who were always going on and on about how many pages they had to read and how many papers they had to write and how many finals they had to take.  Maybe it was just a Wellesley College thing - but the complaining/comparing/bragging that went on as each semester wrapped up was pretty annoying.  And I don't want to be part of the one-ups-manship that can sometimes feel like it's going on in the world of moms.

I do a lot of stuff.  All moms do a lot of stuff.  But we all do different things based on needs - our needs, our kids needs, our situational needs, the needs of our stage of motherhood.  Some moms do a lot more in some areas and a lot less in other areas.  I used to have more mom-related demands in some areas (diaper changing, mess-clean-up, bathing and feeding kids...) and a lot less in others (getting kids to where they need to be, helping with homework, dealing with my kids' moods and emotions and friend drama...).   As my mom always says, life doesn't get easier - it just gets different.

When we look at other moms and see what they're doing or not doing, it's so important to recognize that  everyone has a different bandwidth based on their talents, needs, family situations, upbringing, personally-imposed and otherwise-imposed boundaries, etc.  What seems super-ambitious and overly-busy to one person may seem a little lazy to someone else.  What seems half-baked to one mom probably seems over-the-top to someone else.  And what works during one period of our own lives may not work at all during a different period of our lives.

When I had 5 little preschoolers, I did a ton of stuff.  But I didn't run a website.  I couldn't have.  It felt like a great day when I'd been able to get one load of wash done or go to bed with a clean kitchen on top of meeting my kids's basic needs.

Several years ago, I remember one time sitting behind another family in church.  Their kids were well-behaved, sang all the songs, and looked at church books quietly throughout the meeting.  As I struggled with all my preschoolers, pulling out every trick imaginable to keep the kids somewhat quiet and corralled in our pew, I envied that mother in front of me.  I wondered if I'd EVER be able to actually listen to anything going on in church and if my kids would EVER be well-behaved in public.

But you know what?  My kids are really good in church now for the most part.  We make it through every meeting without anyone having to be taken out crying at the top of their lungs and without anyone punching their brother or crawling away under the benches.  Yes, the kids are good in church now partly because we've worked on it for a lot of years but mostly, they're good in church because they're older.

A few months ago, I had a mom sitting in front of me with a baby and 2 preschoolers, struggling as her baby fussed and her other kids bickered over toys and books from the bag their mom had obviously carefully prepared with every possible thing that might keep them happily busy at church.  I wished I could help in some way - but the kids didn't know me and I didn't have a bag of toys that might help.  After the meeting, the mom apologized to me for her kids' disruptive behavior, saying "I sure wish my kids could sit quietly like yours!  I feel like we're a three-ring circus every Sunday and it's so hard to feel like anyone's getting anything out of church!"  I had to laugh.  She was ME a few years ago and I told her so.

I love this quote: "That which we persist in doing becomes easier - not that the nature of the task has changed but that our ability to do it has increased."  I'd add a bit more to this quote:  "That which we persist in doing becomes easier - not that the nature of the task has changed but that our ability to do it has increased and/or the people we're working with have matured!"

So anyway, I guess this is a long way of saying that I didn't mean to boast or complain with that last post.  And I don't want anyone to feel down or frustrated that they're not doing more or different things in their lives.   I'm doing my own level best to do what I feel I should be doing in this stage of my life I hope you're doing the same. And sometimes it just feels good to record what I'm doing so I can feel like I'm actually accomplishing something.  But I don't want my recording of my life to be something other moms compare themselves against.  It's apples and oranges.  It's different situations and stages.


Rachelle said...

Saren, you're awesome!

Eyrealm said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

I don't think you should apologize for anything. I've felt on overload lately, and add in the usual guilt of working mom, and its been a recipe for disaster. I've tried to step back when folks tell me how busy they are because sometimes that mom is trying to one up, but a lot of times its just a mom exhaling and maybe even feeling a little bit like wow, I feel like I'm facing down a mountain and all they want to hear is "good job, keep your eye on the goal and know we are right there with you climbing that laundry pile". I for one appreciated your sharing - as I've spent a huge amount of time myself on work, kid activities, scout activities and various other things and the dust and dirt in my house is threatening to overrun us, its nice to know I am in good company! I often think if only I was more organized, if only I was a better parent, a better worker, a better wife, a better cook... I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed and chaotic.

Kristine said...

You are so sweet for even thinking to write this post. It shows what a good heart you have. It didn't even cross my mind that you are trying to "one-up" anyone. I love to read your "life is busy" posts because you are so good at noticing the details. It helps me notice the details too. It is also inspiring to me that you sit and write it down instead of collapsing into bed! This blog is and will be a great treasure to your family.


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