10.06.2011

Mommy VS. Homemaker

Play Dough: Our rainy day activity.

Autumn has finally arrived. This is our first drizzly week here in Idaho. But I can’t complain; this kind of rain doesn’t hold a candle to the infinitely dreary days we left behind in New York. Bron and I laugh whenever we hear folks talk about “a lot of rain” here. They have no idea what a lot of rain is. It takes a lot of ingenuity to tame the desert. We use dams and reservoirs, irrigation and sprinklers to save and spread whatever moisture we do receive. Out east, however, there are no irrigation systems or sprinklers. It rains that much. All the time. Year round. The crops are simply planted and they grow. The grass is naturally green and the roads are lined with thick stands of trees. It’s amazing and beautiful. Right now I am missing the beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows that smear the countryside during this time of year. It’s one piece of northern New York I wish I could have taken with me.

Until this week, the weather has been eighty degrees and sunny here in Idaho. Jed and I have spent every possible moment playing outside. We got into the habit of going to the park almost every evening. I love going to the park. It’s an opportunity for me to forget all the chores and distractions that await me at home and concentrate solely on having a good time with my little boy. Whenever Jed hears the word “park” he heads straight for the door, so I know Jed enjoys his time there just as much as I do.

There are always a lot of other kids at the park too. Jed loves watching the big kids, often with both hands placed ever so patiently behind his back. One night, Jed watched as the older boys took a running start and scurried up the slide. When the coast was clear, Jed took off running toward the slide too but stopped short at the bottom. He didn’t know what to do next! It was darling.

Some of these other kids come with their parents. Some of them don’t. Sadly, it shows. It seems that every child wants some adult enthusiasm and approval. I just wish it was their parents who got to cheer them on and not me.

“Watch me!” they say. “Look how high I can climb.” “Do you want to hear this ring tone on my phone?” “Can you push me on the swing?”

Sometimes I reply enthusiastically. Other times, I just nod and half ignore their pleas. I’m just not sure what my boundaries are with other people’s children.

 A little yelling also helps to squash that play dough!

I know there are countless family situations out there, but our outings to the park solidify to me the importance of quality time with my children. Ten minutes of my undivided attention is hundreds of times better than any other mundane everyday thing I could be doing: dishes, laundry, cooking, preparing a lesson, exercising, showering, blogging, etc. But many of those things must be done as well. Which leads me to the question: How do I balance it all?

I think I like THIS explanation the best. I love how she describes the things on her “to do” list as horses racing for first place. One takes the lead for a while before another takes its place. No one horse really ever wins. It’s just one eternal race.

More than anything, I want to be a good mother. I worry. I worry that I am not playing enough with Jed. I worry that I am not teaching him all the things that he should be learning. I worry that I am not a good enough disciplinarian. I worry that I don’t have it in me to add another child to the mix and fulfill that child’s needs (and my own!).

I feel like my life is often Mommy versus Homemaker.

The good news? Mommy wins out more often, I think. Wrestle with Jed or do some push-ups? Wrestle. Clean the bathroom or go to the park? Park.

Confession: It takes me two or three days to do the laundry. The bathroom doesn’t get cleaned on time every week, but it does get done. My dinners are simple. We do not live in filth. But we do not live in spotless cleanliness either.

Bron often comes home and asks what we did that day. The answer goes something like this: “We went for a run, vacuumed, folded a load of laundry, and then we read some stories, and we played at the park and we threw some rocks and…”

My life rocks. I play and play and play. And even though I feel like I’m a poor cook and that my life is constantly falling behind, I am happy. I noticed that the more quality time I give to Jed, the better I feel! I am so lucky that I get to stay at home and be Jed’s mother all day, every day. I am glad that I have the opportunity to be the key player in his young life. Yes, I get to deal with every mess and temper tantrum—which usually leaves me exhausted and spent by the end of the day—but I also get to watch Jed learn and grow; I don’t miss a thing. I am the recipient of many hugs, smiles, and displays of affection. I get to see the world through a child’s eyes and even be a kid myself sometimes. Being a mother is a wonderful job!

Bottom line: I hope I can always make quality time with my children a priority, and not feel too guilty when I'm getting something else productive done.

 I love my boy!

7 comments:

  1. Jessie, You have nothing to worry about, you are an AMAZING MOM!! and I'm sure Jed is learning everything he needs to know and more from you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. So nicely said! I have the same thoughts and fears. I love your pictures by the way. And I love that you put yourself in them. Something I definitely need to do more of, because I don't... ever.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I also have the same thoughts and fears. Shad is just starting to move around and is getting into everything he can get his hands on. I feel like I say no all day, which he doesn't even understand. How in the world am I supposed to know the right way to discipline or even how to raise a child? I feel clueless.

    Lucky for us, a lot of it is innate. Women aren't known for having a strong intuition for nothing! The rest is good friends, parents, and literature to give us guidance.

    Thanks for being a good example!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a nice post. I think we all feel that way at some point or another. One thing I have been trying to do lately is not to play the guilty mom or guilty housewife. You can't feel guilty that you're not doing everything at once! The laundry can wait and sometimes some unstructured, unstimulated time is good for a kid.

    I really enjoyed reading this post and thinking about it; thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I AGREE with the ABOVE statements! You totally wrote my thoughts out for me. Thanks Jessie

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jessie you are such a good mother, and I really mean that.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, Jed looks completely different, I like the hair cut.

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you! Your little notes make my day.