Friday, July 16, 2010

Life Choices & Minutia by Robin

I was watching THE TODAY SHOW this week, and they were discussing the recent piece that ran in NY Magazine re: loving your kids, but hating parenting (or something to that effect).

They shared research stats and interviewed a stay at home mom of three who stated that it's the small moments as a mom that please her, not all that she has to do on a constant, daily basis.  When her two year old wraps her arms around her neck, and says "I love you mommy," there's nothing like it, she explained.  But, then she turns her attention to chores for the day and unlike a job, you never "clock out" of being a mother.

Part of it, they said, relates to expectation.  Not everything about parenting is wonderful. Especially the minutia.  Whether picking up your kids toys for the umpteenth time, asking them over 'n over to get dressed, preparing endless formula bottles, struggling to get them to sleep when you're exhausted yourself, investing years potty training, etc.  It's all a boatload of work.  And, you may find yourself getting lost in the process as you drift from one task to another in what can feel like an endless flow of responsibility.

I was mentioning to a friend this week that life is just so busy.  That there is so much minutia. And, she commented, much of what I have on my plate I chose.

I responded....well...yes....I chose to have a house....become a mom.....have a pet (cockatiel), etc...and all these things require work I realize.  But, what is life without certain things?  Wouldn't it feel empty?  And, everything has tradeoffs, right?!

We all make choices everyday.  Door A vs. Door B.  And, even though we love something, like a pet, for example, they require care. Sure life would be simpler without them, but isn't the work that comes with it worth it?

And, even on THE TODAY SHOW, the expert discussed how much of what we love takes effort.  Writing this weekly blog is work, but it feels good to share.  If you have aspirations, you have to put the time in to help them come to fruition.  If you want to go on vacation, you have to plan and save for it and then pack, get your life in order, etc. It's exciting, but stressful at the same time.  If you own a house (vs. an apartment where a super is on hand to assist), you need to recruit a roster of people you can call on.  This week, I'm making endless calls to a handyman who came highly recommended for his work, if not his responsiveness.  So, I'm trying to be patient and focus on what we need to get done, knowing it will ultimately happen.

Life comes with homework, so to speak, and to stay afloat, we race to get it done.  But, then we also want to live in the moment and endeavor to take a step back to value all that we do have.  And, while I realize that some have challenges they haven't chosen (and I feel for them), we do need to somehow temper our expectations so that we don't get down when life might feel like too much.

I look at my son, and at his young age (7), life is simpler.  And, it was for me too when I was under the care of  my loving, protective parents.  But, then, like him, I probably yearned for some level of autonomy.  Being under someone's watchful apron strings, so to speak, isn't the easiest place to be either.

So, perhaps we might be careful what we wish for because it could be right around the corner, and there is no turning back the clock.  Time flies, and you're only young once.  When my son talks about what he wants to do when he grows up, where he wants to live, etc., I smile, give him a big kiss and hold him tight and hope that his youth is one that he will look back upon with fond memories, when he, too, makes life choices and tackles the minutia that come with them.

PS - A side note....I just learned that a friend of Motherhood Later, Janice Smestad, passed away from cancer at the young age of 50. I am deeply saddened.  She was a wise, supportive and compassionate help to my family when we experienced parenting challenges when my son was younger, and she will not be forgotten. She also spoke at a number of moms night out dinners for the Motherhood Later chapter in NY.  RIP Janice, and condolences to your loved ones.

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