Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Day After Day

The picture of exhausted motherhood....
Do you ever look around at the dirty dishes in the sink and piles of toys, paper, and clutter around your house, and think, "Being a mom kind of sucks sometimes." Because I do, and then I hate myself for it. I know that I'm blessed to have children, and so fortunate to have a career where I get to be home with them for three months out of the year while still making a living wage. But I am telling you...

It seems like everything I do all day just gets undone, either gradually or immediately, but that there is nothing that lasts. Do the dishes, then they're back. Do the laundry, then it's overflowing again. Pick up the downstairs, turn around and step on more clutter. The kids make their beds, then drag all the bedding onto the floor to build forts. And I started to think, "This is pointless. Nothing I do matters. I have to do it all again and again and no one even cares."

I found myself thinking longingly about my job, and the freshness of it all. I would think resentfully, Well, at least at WORK when I do something, it doesn't immediately come undone. I can teach my students something, create in my classroom, collaborate with a co-worker.... and in the morning? It's all still done. I can see those students years from now and the impact I made, the things I taught - those things last.

But then I realized something. The things I do as a mother are enjoyable, and they do last. The part that drives me crazy? It's just housekeeping. My new summer mantra - "I hate housekeeping. I love mothering."

And really? It's the same thing at school. I love teaching, but the housekeeping at my work drives me crazy too. Every single weekend there are lesson plans to write. I have to submit grades for every student, every subject, every week (blech!). I have report cards, progress notes, etc. Every August I complete the hideous task of writing a schedule for my services, every March I have to make up groups for our standardized testing. Those are the housekeeping tasks of my job, and I do hate them. They are repetitive, sometimes hard, and sometimes I feel it will never end.

At home the dishes, laundry, cleaning, etc. - same thing. Repetitive, sometimes hard, seemingly never-ending. But just housekeeping.

The things that I do as a mother? Those things do last. I did an Afternoon Adventure with my kids every single day. We went to the park, we did science experiments, we did nature scavenger hunts.
 We spent time with family and had new experiences.
We bought kids' kayaks and all my kids learned to use them (even my 3-year-old!). (And even me!)
We traveled.
We took long rides on the paddleboat and talked about life.
And I got to be there for all of it. So even though I still hate cleaning with a passion, and resent that there is no cleaning fairy to help me with ten thousand loads of dishes and laundry, I cannot let myself get bogged down in thinking that that is what motherhood is all about. My joy in motherhood has nothing to do with my home, and everything to do with hanging out with these three beautiful, kind, hilarious little people. And they are awesome. Now let's get them going on the ten thousand loads of laundry, and then we'll really have a deal.

Pin It!

No comments: