Have you ever noticed that all mothers seem to share the same strange ailments? You know those characteristics that everyone else seems to shake their head at? I've been thinking about them recently. What are they? And just because they're normal, should they be part of my life? If not, how do I conquer them? Perhaps each syndrome has its own answer. Perhaps it's not right to generalize them.
Please tell me I'm not the only one. I get up in the morning with the intention to start the laundry. I grab the hamper from my closet. I figure I can drag it to the laundry room and get a load going real quick. On the way down the hall, I realize I should probably get the crying baby out of bed before she wakes up the other kids. When I go to get her out of bed, I notice her crib sheet needs changed. I strip her bed while balancing her on my hip. Of course, that's when she relieves herself and since her diaper is swollen from the long night, it all leaks out on me. I stop changing the sheet to clean her and I up. By this time, everyone else is awake, and thus starts all the dressing and breakfast routines... then the rest of the morning... then the afternoon... then the evening... then finally bedtime has arrived. I sleepily trudge down the hall to bed and trip over the hamper I drug out to the hall that morning.
If you've ever seen Disney Pixar's new movie Up, you'll know what I'm referring to by "squirrel". The dogs are distracted in mid sentence or mid action anytime they think they see a squirrel. The dogs randomly shout out "squirrel" and they completely get side tracked.
Pretty sure this syndrome is very normal for mothers, since there are many little "bosses" constantly putting in their orders on top of all the other responsibilities we have on our to-do lists. I don't think it is wrong, but it could possibly become more controlled with some organization, delegation, and prioritization.
Rewind While You Unwind Syndrome
When I slide in under my covers at night, my first thought is, "AH!!! Finally! I'm so tired. Glad this day is over." But as soon as I let myself relax, the rewinder kicks in, replaying the day. I review every action, every word, every tone of voice, every decision, everything I got done, everything I didn't get done... and the guilt builds and builds and builds. I second guess every decision, kick myself for every impatient word, and scowl with frustration at every unfinished job. I spill tears onto my pillow all too frequently. Why can't I be like my husband and just shut it all off and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow?
I'm guessing it's the woman part of us that makes us reprocess everything. But maybe it could be used for good instead of frustration. I think I'm going to start keeping a rule. I'm allowed to think of all the good things of the day. I will relive the moments I don't want to forget, like the sun shining on my girlie's head and the beaming smile across my son's face. But I'm only allowed one negative, and it must be something I can positively improve on. If I were overly impatient with my children that day, I can admit that, but only if I purpose to turn it over to God and ask for His help to do better the next day.
I'm Only One Person Syndrome
When I think of all my responsibilities in categories and subcategories, I sink deep into the mire of despair. The very idea of accomplishing even 50% of them is daunting, and even more so to accomplish them well. How in the world can I be wife, mother, housekeeper, laundry woman, cook, school teacher, gardener, designer, daughter, sister, friend, and whatever other title I'm probably not thinking of at the moment? And how in the world can I carry out all the responsibilities that go along with those in such a way that every person I touch feels loved and cherished?
I'm pretty sure that there is not a woman in the world that can accomplish everything on their plate in equal skill and dedication. I think it's probably a good thing to remind myself that I am only one, but rather than acknowledging it in a negative, pouting way, I should use it to set myself free from my own unreasonable expectations. I need to learn to daily ask God what my priorities are for the day, and be happy to have accomplished ONLY that, if that's all I get done. I need to make sure I make His priorities my priorities, rather than trying to accomplish my own plan.
I think too, that while the statement that I am only one is true humanly, it is not true spiritually. I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. He dwells inside me. He will lead and guide. I have only to put the reins in His hands, and He will ensure that I accomplish the most important things each day.
Air Head Syndrome
I cannot tell you how many times my brain literally feels empty. I cannot think at all. I try to figure out what bills need to be paid. I try to compose a grocery list. But nothing works up there. There are even times when I cannot talk. The thoughts are there, but when I open my mouth, the words are all jumbled and make no sense at all. I sometimes trip over my own feet or get turned around in should be familiar places. I forget things that most people should be able to remember.
I'M NOT STUPID!!! I'm just tired.... more tired than a non-mother can probably understand. They may think that since I'm not falling asleep, I must not be that tired. I am after all, still able to dress kids, change diapers, do dishes, etc. But the fact is, those are all done on autopilot and can easily be done in my sleep, with my eyes closed. How much easier than to do them in a zombie state with my eyes open.
Yup. Normal. Very normal for a mom of babies/toddlers/preschoolers. But seriously, can I improve? Yeah, I could go to bed instead of typing long blog posts at insane hours of the night. I can nap instead of reorganizing that hall closet. Am I really getting all the sleep that I could? Or am I only adding to my misery?
When I was single, I was sure that the wife and mommy life would be pretty much all a bed of roses... happy moments mixed with romance, hugs, kisses, and little posies. Ha Ha Ha!!! Oh there's plenty of happy and romance, but truthfully there's more of the Cinderella dressed in rags scrubbing the floor than there is Cinderella dressed in a ball gown dancing with the prince. Sometimes I can get caught up in the disappointment of the shattered fairy tale. Or I dream of the "Cinderella fairytale" that will come when the kids are grown and gone and I have "my life back".
There is no Cinderella fairytale. Life is not a bed of roses. It is a long list of jobs to be lived out for the King. Joy comes not in wearing the tiara of selfishness, but in donning my servants' gown for the King.
So many syndromes... yet there's hope for improvement if I just give myself the kick to get me there.