Long ago, there were these days filled with structure. Days of boarding the school bus, following an assigned schedule, and following rules — until a certain point when I didn’t want to follow rules. But you know, people gave me this general idea how to structure my days & so I at least had that as a starting point.
Then, there were the days of working. There’s this extra nudge of motivation when you HAVE to be at work at a certain time or else you don’t get a PAYCHECK, so there was always that. There were the candy-shop
eating working days, the Mickey D’s days (I wish I had a picture of Blake and I working there together as newlyweds for your viewing pleasure), the days in the hospital cafeteria swallowed in a gigantic white shirt with a black & white checkered collar, the library days, and the middle-of-the-night motel shift days. Then the part-time balloon blowing, flower arranging days. All of these days when I had a boss and paycheck to motivate me to show up & work hard.
And then began this whole other thing. This whole other person.
The days when the work had no definite starting time, no time to clock out. From the evening she was born, I clocked in and it’s this new relationship, this more-than-full-time gig, a job unlike any other. It was giggling with her & wanting to cry with her in the early morning hours. It was not like being in charge of making hamburgers or putting books on shelves or handing out room keys. It’s a task requiring more creativity than floral arrangement & more stamina than burger-grilling and more love than I ever had for a million white-chocolate-covered-pretzels.
And motherhood is so hard because you lose the routine along with yourself for awhile in the little years & everything is an emergency. I got rid of my day planner after the frustration ensued when I realized I could barely plan my schedule. I could barely keep my own thoughts straight because just when I thought the day was going smoothly, another diaper blowout, another tooth popping through, another anxiety-ridden fight with Blake, another really hard day of the job that doesn’t end.
And then, just when I almost felt like I had a handle on the whole thing, something crazy happened. Bam!
Just like that, another one! 😉 Obviously, I had a little heads up, but you know.
And suddenly the only priorities were emergencies. Emergencies like I have to feed the baby and when I get done feeding the baby, I have to play with baby dolls because I am clearly completely neglecting my firstborn child and she is going to be forever traumatized. Emergencies like I need to take a nap right now because I was up all night working on school/taking care of said baby & I have a two-year-old so a nap is all we need today. Emergencies like the dishes need to actually be washed because no more are clean. Stuff like that.
They are these precious years in which it is intensely difficult to maintain sanity, let alone structure, most of the time. Today’s emergencies consisted of a two-year-old boy who fears that we will let him starve and reminds us every 90 minutes when he comes screeching “eeeat!” A four-year-old who had a *horrible* day because all she wanted to do was romp through the ice-covered yard. There are these moments when one is totally irrational & the other is…. well, totally irrational, so we often encounter many of these emergencies.
And because the days have felt this way, I have struggled as a mother to provide the consistency & structure & peaceful atmosphere that all the books say they need to thrive.
And I have struggled because I don’t know if I can home school, I don’t know if I can balance my work at home with my Noonday work, I don’t know if I can do this because I am kind of feeling emergency-ed out. I mean, you would too if your two-year-old boy gave birth to a pretend baby monkey.
So, it’s this really new & fresh thing, but I decided that if Mama is what I want to pursue as a job, then that’s exactly what I want to treat it like. If it’s my dream to home school these children, then I want to be a GREAT teacher. And I don’t just want to teach them school. I want to teach them to plan their days well, to be successful, to love each other well. I want to be present and intentional which is not at all easy for me with so many distractions. I am just ready to be a little more proactive and a little less reactive, and I think that is the great discipline of motherhood.
When these two were placed in my arms as babies, I was filled with emotions and hopes for nothing but the best for them. But all they will know is what they see, this is who they will be. And I want to raise children who are thoughtful, intelligent, considerate, efficient, generous and productive. I want them to live well & to love well, and I consider it my work to raise them this way.
I have had a lot of jobs, and I am even delighted with the job that I have alongside motherhood right now because I believe that I am setting a positive example for my babies. But, I do consider this great task of raising strong, unselfish, disciplined children to be the most important job that I have ever had. They are people. I am so thankful for the many ways that motherhood grows us as we aspire to be examples for our children.
Here’s to a little more planning & fewer “emergencies” because there’s something to learn from every moment. I’m showing up to teach……and to learn.
Love you dearly, Jen