Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Altering the Mama Perspective

Laying around in a drug induced haze, watching my unparalleled husband juggle my responsibilities and his own, I've had a longer than anticipated respite.

The first few days were heavenly (except for the pain, of course.) Stretched out on the couch with a blanket and pillow, movies of my own choice played on my demand, chocolate at the ready, napping at will, stacks of books to devour, Sudoku waiting to be conquered, family on their best behavior....

For a mom, it doesn't get any better than that.

As one week stretched into two, guilt invited itself into my psyche. I tried to help around the house, but couldn't. I could only apologize over and over that I wasn't doing enough (as a mother or a wife, if ya know what I mean!) Sure, I felt bad and all, but I still didn't really want to assume responsibilities again.

But just as week three was to begin, I had a sudden burst of energy and a true desire to care for Scott and the girls. I cleaned parts of the house. (The whole thing would have been too overwhelming!) I conquered the alarming stack of bills. I endured WinCo on the Saturday before the Superbowl. I prepared not one, not two, but three meals for the week!

I was back and thrilled to be there!

Monday morning, I surprised myself by willingly getting up at 7am. Engrossed in yet another Elizabeth Berg novel, I stayed up til 2am to finish it. I wasn't tired, though, that morning and while certainly not excited to prepare school lunches yet again, I was contented to be caring for my family.

I found joy in brushing Emma's silky golden hair and searching for the always lost shoe. I had fun wrapping her up in her puffy pink jacket and helping her adjust the hood and her backpack. And, as I always do, I just loved watching her hike up those gigantic school bus steps.

Under the hot shower a little later, I started thinking about my perspective. My attitude, if you will. I really dislike the word "attitude" since it is so often correlated with negativity. But I guess that's so often apropos since frustration and resentment can so quickly color our thoughts and actions.

The tedium of homehood (my newly coined word for motherhood, wifehood and trying to work-at-home-hood) undoubtedly fosters frustration. As I've said before, washing dishes is not particularly fulfilling or inspiring. It's b-o-r-i-n-g, boring!

I see other women accomplishing so much -- publishing and receiving awards and getting raises and enjoying exotic vacations -- while I sweep the kitchen floor. Again. Having chosen this path for myself doesn't make the envy or monotony easier to bear.

But having been relieved of almost all housework, cooking and childcare duties for two weeks helped turn my perspective around. It reminded me that I love taking care of my children. That I'm proud when I actually accomplish a full load of laundry, folded and put away! That there's huge satisfaction in preparing a meal my family (yes, Scott included!) can eat.

I think I'm going to start a sidebar list: "Mundane tasks and life moments I love and find fulfillment in". It's very likely going to be one of those lists that grow over time. (Maybe all you readers out there should make similar lists so we can inspire each other!)

My mom and I talked back in November about how fostering a positive attitude can make a difference in an otherwise frustrating life. She vowed to change her perspective and has become substantially happier because of it. She mentioned it again the other day -- how much better she's been able to cope with things because she's simply trying to view things positively.

That conversation the other day was part of what got me thinking about all this. I could let frustration at the little things mount and then become discontent with the riches I have. But why would I let myself intentionally go down that road?

Hey, sometimes it happens. No denying that. I take a wrong turn and end up in a bad, bad place. But then somehow the sun comes out again and I can turn myself right around and find my happy place again.

LOL! Yes, there's even a silver lining when kidney stones are involved!


Mandajuice said...

Great post, Kate! I often notice that my own attitude is my biggest challenge as a mother. On any given day that I'm feeling overwhelmed by the kids, I can trace it back to myself and my own bad mood. It's always me, not them.

Glad you're on the mend!

Kidsncats said...

Well said, Kate! As monotonous as it can be, there is always a silver lining...even if it's hard to find some days! Glad to see you back to blogging! :) Hope you are feeling much better this week!