When I imagined becoming a Mom, I imagined being Suzy Homemaker, of course. I imagined perfection – fun days at home playing with the kids, cooking magnificent meals, in a clean and tidy house, etc. That’s the sort of good stuff I quit my job for.
When in reality, the house is always dirty b/c with kids it would be impossible to keep it clean all the time unless you plan to have a knee replacement at the age of 40. There’s just too much stuff to pick up all the time and stuff gets dirty immediately after you clean it. It’s funny how me and my husband are constantly saying, “But the house was just clean 2 days ago, what happened?!?I”.
As far as dinners, I’ve made some pretty magnificent meals (and some doozies) – I love to try new recipes (well, I used to – the kids have sort of broken me for now but I will rise again. :-p) only to have the kids hate them. My least favorite thing to hear when the kids come home is, “Mommy, what’s for dinner?”. I tell them that’s a loaded question and I won’t answer it b/c there is no right answer. No matter what I say (unless it’s Mac N Cheese – the boxed kind not my homemade kind), they are going to say, “Ewww!”. They each have their own hang-ups regarding food that it’s impossible to please everyone.
My one child loves cheese, but hates it melted unless it’s on pizza. I use melted cheese quite a bit b/c I love it and when I make a doozie dinner – melted cheese makes it tastes better. I’m thinking, really kid, you do not want to eat this meal without a ton of melted cheese on it – trust me. My other child hates everything that is edible unless it’s candy or shrimp (??? – which I love but I never make it b/c my husband hates it). And the youngest won’t eat anything unless you feed her and she’s 4!!!! Aye yai yai. So, as you can see, motherhood quickly becomes overwhelming and this is just one area – food.
And fun playing with the kids sounds easy doesn’t it? Well, it’s just as complicated especially if playing with all three kids and even with just the one kid. They either don’t want to play by the rules, are mad b/c they are not winning (and I’m talking actual anger or tears – like bring down the house drama), or they keep kicking the board over b/c they can’t sit still (like literally spinning around on one knee in the middle of the game – and I wonder how their pants all have holes at the knees..). And you will spend the entire game telling everyone who’s turn it is, else they will literally stare at the wall for minutes before you say, “Your turn!” then everyone jumps out of their daydream – trust me, I’ve tried not saying it.
I didn’t start out feeling like that. When I had my first child, I lived the idealized life and I still had my positivity in tact. Back then, I still had relative control over the house and our life and what the baby ate, etc. But then they get older and start talking and making their own toast (aka mess) and slowly you lose control of everything. And it’s a challenge.
I believe that’s why God wants us to have kids – we learn how little control we actually have over things. Because when I think about it – before I had kids – I actually acted alot like a kid. I’m embarrassed by some of my behaviors pre-kids and still I struggle, to be honest, but not nearly as bad – ask my husband. When I first met my husband, I was a bit of a pill. Ask him about anytime he got my order wrong getting takeout. Now, I’m happy just to get food that I don’t have to cook and if it happens to be warm when I eat it -even better. Parenting completely changes you.
What also happened when I started to realize I had no control over things is that we started having more fun as a family. It was not fun in the beginning, it was controlled. But now life is more spontaneous and fun. And I don’t know if that’s b/c I don’t have to change diapers and wipe butts anymore or if it’s just because I’ve finally been broken in as a Mom and as a person.
At some point, you realize you have to let go and let God b/c it’s impossible to have “perfection”. You start to realize that you already have perfection in this messy life. If you have God in your life, you have perfection. Those little faces smiling up at you are perfection.
I imagined a Suzy Homemaker life, but that is a life (without kids – just kidding!) without emotions. When you think about it, emotions are what make life fun and worth living, but they can also make life a bit of a roller coaster. We can’t take those out and we wouldn’t want to if given the opportunity.
We’d be robots.
The same emotions that make your child cry when they don’t win a game are the same emotions that make your child cry for someone who isn’t included in a game.
The same emotion that caused your child to drop their toys all over the living room floor to run outside and see a bunny rabbit in the yard is the same emotion that’s going to drive them to do great things in this life.
Emotions are passions and we should embrace them. When used toward positive ends, they can be amazing. So, the goal would be to direct our kids and ourselves to use emotions for good not bad. The key would be not to suppress them but to redirect them in a positive way. Suppressed emotions can be a very bad thing and toxic to boot.
When focused in a negative way, emotions can cause depression and heart break. When focused in a positive way, emotions can bring about healing and connection.
I struggle with this plenty. I’m a strong Feeler on the Myers Briggs spectrum. And there have been many times that I’ve cursed my emotions and just wished I could get off the roller coaster and not care so much. But, in the end, I’d rather care than not care. Because you can’t force someone to care – they either do or they don’t. So, better to have it and control it than not have it at all.
And as long as I can pray about it and ask God to help me to use my feelings for good and not bad – that is the ultimate goal. I’m trying to teach my girls the same. At this point, it looks like they are all on the Feeler side of the spectrum as well and it’s looking more like a good thing than I originally thought. Because feelings that are used for good are the most beautiful things in the world, IMHO.
One last point, and maybe most close to my heart, without emotions, we wouldn’t have laughter. I love a good time. One of my favorite quotes is, “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Let’s dance and have fun with the imperfections – b/c often times those are the best part.