I wrote this one a year or so ago. In the depths of sick kids and snotty noses. Two of my girls had the day off school on Tuesday because they were”sick”. By 8.30am I wanted to throttle Miss 5 because she said being sick was “boring”. She was not at all sick and I rescheduled my day around having them home, but it felt a bit like pressure!
My girls are all healthy today but it made me realise once again how tricky the balance is. And as a woman, finding balance is like the panacean of life. And just to make sure I’m covered here let me pre-empt this rant by clarifying that I truly do love my kids more than work. Any day. Just not the bits of mothering that challenge me to be more when it’s not all that fun. Except the times when I am more, and then it’s easy….
I love my job. I love working more than dealing with sick kids. I love working more than stacking the dishwasher and hanging out washing. I love working more than doing the school run with a screaming toddler. I love working heaps more than grocery shopping, sweeping the verandah, negotiating outcomes when there is only one pram and two small children, and way more than tantrums at bedtime by a small creature who is overtired.
I have a great job. In fact I may have just started in my dream job, which is working a life mentor and facilitator for Cre8 – so working doesn’t feel like working. As a public speaker I get to talk a lot (which I love) and as a facilitator I get to work with people and see them make choices to lead themselves forward in their lives (which is awesome) and as a mentor I get to have really intense conversations with people, and be a part of their journey while they discover how to be more of themselves (which is more than tops! It’s sensational). And I get paid to do that. And so all of that, of course, makes it easy to love.
I’m really, freaking good at my job. Sometimes people throw tantrums, but as an adult you can generally get them to recognise it and look at the pattern of behaviour that might be holding them back. With a two year old tantrum I find it hard to be that patient, and not say things like, “don’t be ridiculous, here have something to bribe you to stop making that foul noise (chocolate, Dora, my Iphone) and I might just go into the office for a while and do something I enjoy more than this” (accounting, cutting my toe nails, online grocery shopping). I’m no doubt instilling beliefs in them that will support a tantrum as a useful pattern of behaviour later in life. Alongside the one where they remember their mum worked all the time.
I don’t even feel guilty anymore for admitting to not loving those bits of motherhood that drive me nuts. I’ve transcended motherguilt (ha ha, I think if it’s still a term in my vocabularly this can’t be entirely true, but it sure sounds powerful when I say it!).
I’m quite OK to say “oh snotty tissues just aren’t my thing” and be OK with them wiping their noses on their sleeves (oh gross, I hear you say, does she really admit she lets them do that???), and later on knowing that I’ll love them so much more and want to snuggle the soft place under their necks when they’ve had a really long and very bubbly bath.
I admit I’m not a gracious mother of sick children, and although I am grateful that so far our illnesses have only been as simple as colds, snot, coughs and a couple of minor broken bones, in the moment of not even being able to take a quick wee because someone is utterly tragic you’ve left the room, I’m not gracious at all. And I honour mothers who are, and hope I can apply graciousness in other places in my life where it fits for me. For myself I have to acknowledge I have this driving force inside of me that believes I have a gift to share with the world, and being a warm and loving mother is part of that, but working at something I’m passionate about and has made me see what I’m capable of has enabled me to be a better mother than I ever would have been. The best mother is somewhere in between life passion and nuturing soul, juggling gracefully with arms outstretched.
What I dream of for my daughters is that they grow up knowing their own unique and divine beauty. And so to do that, I have to model it to them. So I’m not perfect, in fact I’m beautifully flawed, but I believe when they see me – the real me – the part of me that is so alive right now because she has finally discovered where she fits and what she’s meant to do, they will get a sense of their own beauty and possibilities. And not to think for a second that they have to be gracious when things suck, or pretend perfection on the outside is easy. And then they too will discover their gift and live it.