if I could...
There is this very demanding stage of life that finds us very much at the mercy of everyone else around us. It grabs a hold somewhere between the birth of your first child and your last child entering puberty. In that span of time we as Moms are the keystone that holds everyone's life together it seems. Kids need guidance, nurturing, patience and discipline. Husbands need support, attention, time and friendship. Friends need shoulders to lean on, help with their families, their challenges and their struggles. Family needs help, traditions upheld and milestones recognized. Co-workers, bosses, neighbours...every person in our lives it seems is dependant upon us and we find ourselves the centre of a needy vortex. We arrange, schedule, wipe, change, pamper, please and 'care' for everyone but ourselves. We pick up, drop off, pick up after, run errands, wake up early and stay up late.
Keeping up is not the hard part, any Mother will tell you that if you don't think too many chores ahead, if you operate under 1/3 intention and 2/3 auto pilot you get to everyone and everything. You crawl into bed at night, sometimes hours past the rest of the house but life is handled and laying in semi-organized wait for tomorrow. Most times we are not even aware of just how much life we take responsibility for but we are often left with a gaping unidentifiable void.
I long suspected that the ache was in response to the absence of appreciation, and the "more where that came from expectations" I thought that perhaps if there was some acknowledgement of my efforts I would 'feel' better, but that is not the thing. I've come to appreciate that a mother, or any parent for that matter, will do infinitely more than they will ever receive recognition for and that the absence of that recognition does not stifle your efforts any more than the occasional 'thanks' fuels you to do more...you are already doing everything you can. It's inherent.
My void was 'not measuring up'. Like most Moms I was my own worst critic. We spend the wee hours of the night replaying events and envisioning all the ways we could have done better, because we want to be better; better moms, better wives, better friends, citizens, better people. Rarely are we satisfied with the amazing things we are able to accomplish in a day or the amazing things we are able to offer to the world. We fail to recognise our gifts because they seem unremarkable. We chastise ourselves for not having the time or the energy to improve ourselves, grow as people and 'fix' all of our failures.
If this is you, I wish you could meet the woman you will be a few years from now.
All those things you are trying to accomplish today, all those lessons, traits and hopes you are trying to instill in your children on a daily basis; the ones you think they aren't getting...they will emerge. All those things you thought you needed to improve about yourself seem small in comparison to growth and transformation in the woman who will greet you on the other side of the vortex.
An amazing woman will stand in your shoes in spite of your doubts, your self reprimands and your struggle to teach her. I wish you could meet her now, I wish she could take you out for coffee and tell you that these years are good to you, that your best effort everyday to care for those around you is enough and all the self improvement you need. These years nurture your soul like the roots of a tree, they build your strength, your patience your appreciation for life. I wish you could hear her say that your time is coming, your quiet minutes, your meditation, growth, and indulgence time.
I wish you could see just how amazing you are today and just how amazing you will be.