Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Things I No Longer Do

1. Iron my kids' jeans.

2. Have a weekly schedule for cleaning. (Now my kids are older, it must be done when they are home. The plan is always to have them help and do their part. Doesn't always happen, but I don't want them to think the house gets cleaned magically by little fairies when they are away.) Laundry remains on Monday. That is etched in stone with me.

3. Iron everything once a week. (I miss the convenience of having it all done. Just can't seem to find the time/motivation to attack that massive pile!

4. Send everyone in my extended family birthday cards. (I wish I did that. That was nice of me.)

5. Mop the kitchen floor every night. (Yes, I know that was a little obsessive, but that floor showed everything. Perhaps my current floor does too, but my tolerance has increased.)

6. Go on every single field trip with every single kid.

7. Do my hair every day. (Some days it is better to have your hair pulled up than be late!)

8. Set out an after-school snack each day. (Some of my kids are expert at foraging; some are expert at baking. I have lost control of the after-school kitchen.)

9. Make my children make their beds every day. (sigh. Wish I still did that.)

Things I Will Always Try to Do

1. Read with a child every night.
2. Read scriptures as a family.
3. Pray together, morning and night.
4. Have instrument practice happen in the morning. (So sold on morning practice!)
5. Have dinner as a family. (O.K. some nights this just doesn't happen. But we try!)

That's it. Just the basics.

The jean ironing got swept away in the wake of real life.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mothering and Old Ladies at the Grocery Store

I have become one of them. The old ladies at the grocery stores that tell the young mothers with small children to enjoy it--it goes so quickly!

I read 3 posts this week about them. It started here then went here, then lead to here.

I agreed with them all.

I remember taking my small children to the grocery store. It was hard. It was work. I was exhausted by the time I got home. I remember going to a bargain store-where bag your own groceries and save a little money-with small children in tow and one on the way. By the time I left I was sure the money I had saved was not worth it and vowed to never go there again. And I don't believe I did--with the kids. I took to shopping at night--late night. Alone.

I remember staying at home with 2 boys in our student apartment and looking out at the parking lot and feeling lonely and isolated and just a little bit bored.

I remember yelling too much about too little.

I remember being frustrated with the difference between what we needed and what we could afford.

I remember letting Elmo entertain them too often.

I remember envying my husband, in his air-conditioned office, surrounded by adults, having adult conversations.

I remember not being a happy mother enough.


I've been here, at home mostly, for about 20 years.

I've adjusted. I've learned. I've found my place. I've realized that I could have been a very good science teacher but my children only have one mother and that's me.

In the Huffington Post article, Melton compares raising her children with her husband's job, complaining that people don't stop him and tell him to enjoy the moment.

Well, no, they probably wouldn't. Because it is really not the same. It is comparing apples to oranges. A job, a career, might be fulfilling-economically and personally-but it is not the same as mothering.

To choose to stay at home and raise your own children is not a job, it is more of calling, a commitment....even a privilege.

Somewhere between the diapers and laundry and field trips and classroom volunteering and endless cleaning up, I realized that it wouldn't last forever and I would be sad when this phase of my life was over. This has been the best choice for me and my family. I have been happy to be at home watching and coaching and training the best I could.

In the article, Melton refers to Kairos time and Chronos time. Kairos time being God's time. "The magical moments when time stands still."
Chronos time is everyday time: laundry, cleaning, changing diapers.

The day my last baby goes to kindergarten is in my current planner.

With that day staring me in the face, I have more of those "Kairos-time" moments than I had when I first started this mothering adventure.

My real regret is not having more of those moments when I was a younger mother. And writing them down!

So I will continue my quest to remind all the exhausted, exasperated mothers-of-young children-at-the-grocery-store that they need to enjoy their little ones because they are only little for a small moment.

Even if that particular shopping trip felt like an eternity!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Holding Hands

My baby girl and I navigate through a long list of errands on a rainy, windy day. Each stop requires unbuckling her car seat and helping her jump down. I hold her soft hand as we walk to each place, listening to her chatter: the dream she had last night, the cold wind, her boots she loves, loves so much, the baby she just saw that is sooo cute. Her hand fits perfectly in mine. She mindlessly grabs my hands after any separation. I cradle her sweet hand and try hard to form an indelible memory that I know will fade, regardless of how hard I try to hold it.

Later that day I grab my middle daughter's hand as we cross the street and then keep it longer than safety requires. She seems very aware that we are holding hands still. She smiles, she lets me keep her hand even though her fingers are barely curving around mine.

Some days later, I am walking with my taller-than-me older daughter. I instinctively grab her hand as we cross the street. Her fingers are longer, thinner and colder than mine. They briefly curve about mine, then quickly let go. Continuing to hold my hand is unthinkable right here in public view.

The moment the sweet little hand fits perfectly, willingly, into mine is a flash. I struggle to remember the other little hands that have held mine. I close my eyes and try to push back the heavy curtains of time. Only fleeting images come back.

I hold onto my last little girl's hand just a little bit tighter.