Just a few things going on right now.
So, there you go. That's all I have to say for now.
Just a few things going on right now.
A hostile enemy has been ravaging our household since Thursday. It goes by the name of Influenza A. You know, I always poo poo the necessity of getting flu shots each year. Then, every time we get the flu, I'm suddenly a believer. So, next autumn will someone please hit me over the head with a brick if you don't see my whole family standing in line at the nearest arm-sticking establishment waiting for our flu shots? I tell you, this stuff is rotten.
Kaitybean started with it first on Thursday. She got into the car after school looking like she'd just been hit by a train. Byt the morning she was miserable -- fever, headache, chills, body aches, cough -- the whole works. The rest of us quickly followed suit and our home was awash with groans and cries. There were pillows and blankets and used tissues everywhere. The kids downed two bottles of children's ibuprofen. I went through about half a bottle of the adult variety by myself over the weekend. Even Jack Jack got into the act, spiking a fever of 100.7 and narrowly avoiding a trip to the emergency room.
You know what makes this story even more fun? Our friend Influenza came through our door just days after his friend Streptococcal Pharyngitis decided to leave.
So to say my house is a mess would be putting it mildly. I feel this desperate need to wash all of the sheets and scrub the house from floor to ceiling with bleach. Oh yeah, and I'm going to buy us all new toothbrushes tonight. NO MORE OF THIS!
On a somewhat more upbeat note, Mashuga and Kaitybean have also made our house rather warlike. They are like fire and water lately -- two earth-shaping elemental forces that simply cannot coexist. And I'm about ready to tear them both from limb to limb. Really, they can't seem to be within 20 feet of each other without arguing about something. One of their recent arguments:
Mashuga: We're all playing the puppy game. I'm scamp puppy. And Mommy is "mommy dog" and Scud is "brother dog" and you're "sister puppy" and...
Kaitybean: I am not sister puppy!
Mashuga: Yes you are. We're all playing the puppy game.
Kaitybean: No I'm not! I'm not playing the puppy game! I'm not sister puppy! You're so dumb.
But here's the best argument they've EVER had. It started one day when they were arguing in the car on the way to school. (This is after the hour and a half they'd spent bickering since they woke up that morning.) I
asked begged, threatened and demanded that one of them PLEASE be the peacemaker and stop responding to the other. They were silent for a moment, then this ensued:
Mashuga: Kaitybean, I'm being a peacemaker.
Kaitybean: No you're not, I'm the peacemaker.
Mashuga: Nuh-uh! I'm the peacemaker.
Kaitybean: NO, I'm the peacemaker.
Mashuga: I'm a better peacemaker than you!!!!
Kaitybean: You ARE NOT. I am the one being a peacemaker here! You don't even know what it means to be a peacemaker!
Mashuga: Yes, I do!
Kaitybean: Do not.
Mashuga: UH-HUH!!!! Mom, tell Kaitybean that I know how to be a peacemaker!
I'm sure you can imagine the convulsions of laughter I was experiencing during this interchange. It made it awfully hard to drive. For a very short while I didn't even mind that they were fighting.
And I don't mean a perfectly roasted, golden-brown turkey on a silver platter.
Did I ever tell you about the time I stopped trying to be a perfect mom and began learning how to actually be a mother and more importantly, how to be myself?
Toward the end of 2002, while I was pregnant with Mashuga, I suffered an almost complete breakdown -- a quarter-life crisis if you will. I realized that I had spent the past five years of my life trying to be the "perfect Mormon mom and wife". I faced up to the fact that I just wasn't cutting it. And I started to tell myself the truth. I was sick of it. I was utterly finished with feeling inferior because I didn't smile as I buffed the kitchen floor or decorate my house with flowers and pastels. I was done with feeling guilty because I didn't always speak softly or enjoy every moment of motherhood.
I realized that I had completely lost touch with the vibrant, messy, passionate woman named Heather that I once knew. The person I'd become -- the vacant-eyed, simmering "Stepford-wife" with the artificial smile -- sickened and frightened me. It was sobering. I had no identity of my own. I was my children's mother, my husband's wife, but nothing that I could honestly call "Heather".
One day, while I sat on the couch crying out my frustration over my complete lack of desire and ability to be the "perfect mom", I had one of those 2X4 moments. (You know, those ideas that hit you across the face like a 2X4). I realized that God had sent each of my children to ME. Furthermore, If God had intended for all children to be raised in exactly the same, perfect-cookie-cutter way, he would have just made perfect-cookie-cutter-June-Cleaver-mom-models for all the children of the world. Forget this crap-shoot of hoping that every variation of woman would somehow, someday figure out how to fit the mommy-mold.
My children didn't need a cross between June Cleaver and Mother Theresa. They needed ME, in all my glory and all my mess, with all my contradictions. My authentic self was the perfect fit to be their mother.
Then I began laughing wildly. How had this never occurred to me?
Trust me. My children were worried about me.
But my life changed in that moment.
Sloiwly, I recognized that the ideals I held were unattainable and therefore ridiculous.
I started writing again. I let my soul pour forth in poetry once more. At least once a week, I'd leave the kids with JDub and take my laptop to the library for hours.
I made goals and started on the path to becoming a doula and a Birthing From Within Mentor.
I introduced my children to real music -- jazz, emo/punk, rock, country, classical, celtic, show-tunes. And I refused to insert the “Down on Grandpa’s Farm” tape into the car radio EVER AGAIN.
I read "evil feminist literature" from the likes of Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir and Gloria Steinem and *gasp* actually agreed with a lot of what they had to say.
In short, I began to unearth my authentic self. I remembered what good company she'd always been.
As my sense of who I am has blossomed over the last four years, I've been able to see each of my children as their own authentic individuals. I’ve begun to release some of the responsibility I feel to shape them into a pre-conceived picture of perfection. I've realized that, ultimately, I have little control over who my children will be. I've stopped giving myself wholly to their every possible whim and need, stopped eating myself alive every time I make a mistake.
And I enjoy them SO much more.
I’ve given myself permission to let our family life be messy sometimes. My children will learn a lot of forgiveness and love and patience from my example. But they will learn just as much from practice -- when I serve cold cereal for dinner three nights in a row, when I am 30 minutes late to pick them up from school, when I say “uh-huh” one too many times in a conversation and they realize that I haven’t really been listening, when I yell at them one minute then hug them and apologize the next.
It’s been a long process, but I’m slowly, slowly letting go of that picture of “perfect mom” that I tried for so many years to live up to. I’m listening to my heart and flipping up my ever-lovin’ Scottish kilt to moon the world when it tries to tell me that my instincts are wrong.
Vacuuming in pearls and heels may have been blissful for June Cleaver, but it’s most certainly not for me.
Created by Heather around 3:06 PM