A Gruesome Pep Talk for the Stay-at-Home Mother
It is so discouraging to wake up extra early, excited for time to be quiet and read, write, think, etc. only to be foiled by the baby and children who are all suddenly, inexplicably, ready to "go" an hour earlier than normal.
Humph. Grumble, grumble.
I feel ashamed of my anger at them. I feel disappointed to not get a peaceful start to the day, again. (Yesterday was the same. Agh.) It makes the day so long, whereas I know how nice it is to start with quiet. Nice? Essential.
Meanwhile the sun rises in its bed of pink and russet and violet. Birdsong hails the morning freshness.
Having cordoned little people back into their rooms with toys and fed the baby, I am reclaiming some peace. All is not lost. It's just 6:20.
Here's my pep talk to myself, because I need it. Maybe someone else does, too.
Keep fighting for, keep expecting some time for your own thoughts. Without time for your own mental and emotional space, enmeshment with your children (the thing where you don't know where you begin and they end) lives and strengthens.
That's sloppy living.
My children need me to insist on boundaries even now while they are very young. No child wants their mother to martyr themselves for them. No, really.
What is respectable? A mother who knows what she needs and ask for it from her people. She does this - the hard work of asking as well as the knowing - because she believes she is worthy of her own space. She needs to struggle with her own mind, fears, joys, desires.
And so do children.
Yes, even young children need to be; no distractions, no mother to swoop in and entertain. What a powerful gift to your child: contentment on their own, and your example.
This is healthy human behavior.
Strength begets strength. No victim thinking is allowed if we are going to really live. It's "Move along, don't give up. Dust off the dirt from that fall. That was hard. Keep going. It's worth it."
The battle is worth swinging a metaphoric cutlass for: mental peace instead of apathy, emotional health instead of shrunken courage, enjoying your children today instead of gritting your teeth and bearing it, and good relationships as they grow up into adults instead of passive aggressive resentment.
It's the hardest work ever. It's also the most wonderful. Children really do respect a healthy attitude. How fantastic to watch adults who are enjoying the small and big things of life, and know that they will get to grow up and enjoy them, too. Just as they do now, but with full autonomy.
These days are long: no breaks because no babysitters, no playdates, no park to break up the day, worry for the future. It is hard. All the more reason to carve out and claim times of peace for your brain and heart.
Tomorrow is a new day.