I recently realized something pretty devastating: I have begun to put second things first and first things second. There is pure beauty in the moments where you sit with someone you love, totally present and rejoicing or mourning alongside them. These are the moments where lives lived together blossom into a bouquet of awesome, and are of first importance. What I have chosen instead is to be super pushy and dogmatic about completing chores, bathing, and keeping order. All of this is to enhance the possibility of peace at home. The irony of it all is that I think the peace is much more likely to grow in the chaotic but beautiful moments of connection than the satisfaction of a dust free home.
Aging into the fine wine I am shooting for I am gradually becoming more comfortable with these realizations. Instead of becoming defensive or ornery of all that is being expected (which has been my go-to for years), I am learning that having my eyes opened to something not working is a gift. It only becomes a curse if I refuse to acknowledge the veracity of the realization and continue living the same way expecting a different result. So here I am realizing that I overshot a bit and the pendulum is still as far from the happy middle ground as it began only on the other side of the central point. I think it is good for my kids to have a chore a day- even if it is something that wouldn’t even tire the mice that befriend Cinderella. But recently when I calculated what our mortgage would be split into 5 pieces and told my 6 year old that she could complain about the chores if she gave me that dollar amount each month, that I realized I may have overshot.
The elusive balance that we as a culture have been talking about for years seems to always be outside of my grasp. But in the end you have to be proud of what you brought to the table. Currently I am bringing the hustle- the trying to get it all done so I am not embarrassed of our home if someone stops by and that the humans and canine in the home are fed, watered, and clothed as needed. What I think I was made for was to bring the love. I want to kiss each boo-boo, both the real ones and the fabricated ones because I want to communicate that I see them and that the need for engagement is not one to be ashamed of. I want to be looking in their eyes when they tell me about the scary thing- letting them know that I am here and so I will be there as well should the nightmares begin happening in the day. I want to yell and whoop and holler at the victories. We are there for the failures and the sad and hard parts now we get to be the cheerleader that can’t stop, won’t stop when there is victory! I am finished endlessly laboring to reach a point of circumstantial peace and choosing instead to usher in the peace that goes against the grain of the hustle.
You know what the google defines as peace? Freedom from disturbance; tranquility. I cannot think of a single definition that is more opposing to the life of a mom than freedom from disturbance. Seriously. So I’m going with tranquility which is defined as the quality or state of being tranquil; calm. Can I be the calm amidst the chaos. It will take some life change and making some seriously healthy choices that I am not used to. I am going to need to actually entertain self care as a worthy cause and make sure that the calm queen has some place to rest and pursue beauty so that after sitting in those spaces I am in a place where I can invite others into them as well.
So here I go. My children will still have a small chore each day because I’m supposed to be raising eventual adults, but they will also have a mom who can take the break, kiss the boo-boo, and rest. Save me from raising future hustlers that seek to please everyone outside but fail to nurture the person inside. Everyone will pitch in but the adults will pay the mortgage and pave the way of healthy choices. I will stop asking them to do something they haven’t even seen modeled in the ones trying to parent them. More is caught than taught, as the old saying goes, and I can no longer live the whiplash of teaching a way of life I am not living. Game on.