I’m a born complainer. Most anyone I know will agree with that.
And I whine a lot. Mostly when I’m frustrated or tired. Or out of chocolate. It’s usually not necessary but it happens. Because mom life is hard and I let it consume me in all ways that bring in the negative and suck out the positive.
A lot of people are never surprised when I piss and moan or get down and depressed over being lonely every now and again.
And they will call me out on that behavior, or make fun of me for it, saying I’m dramatic or looking for attention. Maybe I am. I’m a mom who doesn’t sleep, works 2 or 3 jobs, runs a home on her own, and has health issues. I’m entitled to a little drama. (Right?)
But lately, I’ve realized that none of the things I usually stress about are actually important. Or worth the effort.
The things that actually get me down and depressed, or make me whine, are just that. THINGS.
I’ve been exhausting myself over THINGS like making sure everyone cleans up, or the laundry gets put away, or people communicate better. Money and bills and making sure everything gets paid on time. (OK, yes, that is a fairly important THING. But still. Annoying)
And then it’s what will go on the menu for next week when the kids come back? And what if I don’t find my favorite coffee at the store? Or getting pissed when I can’t get the grocery pick-up time I want.
Chores, laundry, meal prepping, running errands, petty arguments with teenagers over whatever their hormonal behavior brings that day.
That is not a life. That is not all I want to have to look back on.
And that is certainly not the only thing I want to be remembered for someday when my kids look back at their childhood with me.
“Yeah – my mom worked a lot and always had the best groceries.”
What matters is everything OUTSIDE of that.
The little things that happen when you step out of the kitchen, or clock out of the office, or put your phone down. The conversations you have in the car or the singing and dancing you do behind your seatbelts while you’re rolling down the highway.
The swelling in your heart when your son puts his arms around you and says “you’re the best mommy ever, thank you for spending all day with us.” Nothing can really top that one, honestly.
Being a mom is the only thing I’ve ever been good at and the only thing I’ve ever gotten right.
So they deserve to know that they mean the world to me. They deserve to know they will always come first no matter what. They deserve to know that our time together is not always about schedules, and school, and work, and cleaning.
I’ve spent so many years worrying about my career and succeeding to make people proud of me and forgetting to have fun or enjoy anything about parenting in general. Forgetting to find the joy and fulfillment in what it means to be a mother.
But those days are over.
The only thing I should worry about succeeding at anymore is my family.
And being thankful for every new day that I can wake up with them.
Being thankful for every hug, and every smile, and every shared cup of coffee on the weekend! (Yes that’s a thing – don’t judge me)
Is the house a mess today? Oh well.
Let’s bake some cookies and tell a story. And then I’ll sit on your bed and we will talk about anything that has NOTHING to do with the house, or your virtual classes. I will even listen to stories about fortnite and watch YouTube. Whatever gives me 10 extra minutes of time to bond with you and focus on you.
The laundry is still in the dryer? Tough sh*t.
Life will go on if it’s not tended to. Let’s go watch some music videos! You dance and I’ll record you and then we will call grandma and grandpa and tell them how fun it was.
I forgot to take something out for dinner? I got this.
Cereal it is tonight – and let’s throw on a movie and eat in the living room. Sure, it’s a school night. But how often to we just throw that typical weeknight schedule out the window and enjoy something fun, and different?
Work day stressed me out and left me exhausted and frustrated? Put your shoes on and meet me outside. Let’s play with the dogs so I can forget all about it and hear some laughs. We will all get dirty, we will all get some fresh air, and the bad day I drove home from will no longer exist.
Am I entitled to a bad day every now and then with no energy for anyone, feeling down, and needing an early night in bed? Absolutely. I’m still human.
But your outlook and how things SHOULD be when you’re a mom is drastically changed when something alters your perspective and changes the reality of what you could be missing.
The realization that THIS is what matters when your whole life is put into perspective and your strength is tested. When the fear of your timeline here on earth being changed rattles your mind and makes you see everything differently.
It’s now or never folks.
In no time at all, those kids who are willing to snuggle next to you on the couch and watch a movie, or run around the yard and play with the dogs, or sing and dance with you in the car – those kids are going to be flying the coup and its up to YOU to decide what memories you want to sit with when they are gone. Or vice versa even.
Will it be the memories of how well you ran your house and kept everything in order? Or will it be the times you spent together and the fun you had as a family whenever you could?
Smile. Take all of the pictures. Talk all of the talks.
Turn all of the sadness into laughter when you can. Dance off your frustrations. Accept all of the hugs and give back twice as many.
I challenge you to live your life today.
Without any preexisting idea of what you SHOULD be doing instead.