Thursday, December 1, 2011

with a mother's kiss

Can I just be completely candid and say that sometimes, I despise being a stay-at-home mother? Really. I don't mean, "eh, sometimes it's a little difficult..." I mean, sometimes I hate it. I know, I know. There are millions of women who would do anything to be able to stay home with their babies all day, everyday. I know that I am lucky blessed to be able to do it. But sometimes, it just blows.

I am under no illusion about the demands of a working mother; I know it is exponentially harder to care for your home and your family and make dinner and shop for groceries and give baths when you're working outside your home. But sometimes I sit and fantasize about what it would be like to have adult conversations every morning. To not have someone (or two or three someones) sitting on your lap while you're trying to answer an email. To not take your lunch out of the fridge and have little baby birds surround you, open-mouthed and waiting for you to share. I know it's not easier. But sometimes I like to fantasize.

I don't want to give the impression that, given the choice, I would prefer to have a "real" job. 'Cause I wouldn't. I don't want to give the impression that I don't enjoy my children. Oh, I do! So very, very much! It's just that... well... honestly? Sometimes parenting can feel more like a chore than a joy. I read all the mommy blogs and we save our toilet paper rolls to make crafts and go on nature walks and have dance parties and make playdoh pizza. And that's so idyllic, right? Except that most times? Most times, I have to stop Cana from eating paste when we are making toilet paper roll crafts, someone's melting down on our nature walk because she's hungry, someone bumps into the dresser during our dance party and gets a goose-egg, and playdoh ends up in hair and smashed into the carpet. I am trying to learn to "roll with the punches" and chill out and not let smooshed-up-playdoh bother me. But sometimes, it's just more fun in theory.

We broke out the Christmas music a few weeks ago. We were listening to James Taylor, a cd I stole permanently borrowed from my mother. We were singing along to "In the Bleak Mid-winter". Remember it? "If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb..."? But I was particularly struck by a verse that I had never noticed before:

Angels and archangels may have gathered there
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air
but only Mary, in her maiden bliss
worshipped the Beloved with a mother's kiss

Mary was advancing the Kingdom of Heaven... with a kiss. Later, she would worship differently; maybe feeding the poor or visiting the shut-ins... but for now, she worshipped by kissing her baby, changing his diaper, nursing Him when His belly was hungry, quieting His cries when He scraped His knee.

I'm no Virgin Mary and my kids are faaaaar from the Holy Child. :) But I want to remember this. When Cana is eating paste, or when the girls are bickeringbickeringbickering. When Ruby just won't go to sleep. When I've tripped on a toy again. When my first impulse would be to scold or nag or even yell at my children, I want to worship instead. Worship by responding kindly, by speaking gently. Worship by dying to myself (and my carpet) and allowing them to enjoy being children. Worship by getting off of Facebook and playing with them. Because, at least in this stage of my life, my job--above groceries and scrubbing the toilet and giving baths-- is loving my family.

And I long to do it well.


Jess said...

Melanie, love your writing! I SOO feel ya. I work part time but on my off days, I can empathize :) (I work with 2 year olds so adult conversation is minimal even there;) )

Michelle Smiles said...

Mama K posted link to your post. Just wanted to agree - wow some days being a SAHM is better in theory than in practice. I wouldn't trade it but somedays it kind of sucks.

Melody Strayer said...

@Michelle-- I think it's so helpful to hear that from other moms, you know what I mean?? Just to know that we ALL struggle to find joy in this task at some point.. that it's not all lollipops and sunshine all the time. :) It helps me to know we're all in the same boat!

One Girl Running said...

Thanks Melody