Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Earning MotherHood Merit Badges.

I was doing some thinking today. Not a lot, and nothing terribly deep; it was awfully hot out there, after all. But the kind of thinking that usually brings you around to an interesting conclusion that, in all honesty, has been right in front of your face for quite some time only you didn't notice it before. (Perhaps you were too busy. Too hot. Or didn't much care).

In any event, I found myself in this heat-hazed state of thought nonetheless. My thought was that if there is one thing that I miss from my Pre-Motherhood days, it would be the ability I seemed to have had (and have since lost) to just be still. To not move. To do nothing. At anytime, whenever I wanted to. At a drop of a hat, I could shut down and zone out. I'd come home from a nerve wracking, stressful day at school,with the memories of student fights, problems with certain classes, and the burden of tomorrow's woes heavy on my shoulders. I'd kick my shoes off, plop down on the couch, and just stop. Did you read that? Just. Stop. And in that ritual of rest, there was relaxation. Renewal. And readiness for another go of it for the next day.

Motherhood has a funny way of changing that, doesn't it? From the moment they hand over your newborn bundle of responsibility..er..I mean...bundle of joy (sorry), you are in a state of perpetual and constant motion. It takes all your focus and efforts to meet the needs of this tiny being (or these tiny beings, as the case may be), leaving barely a moment for a shower, let alone several moments, all strung neatly together in consecuative order, during which you might sit down and be still. And that pace of constant motion stays with you, long after you have a baby to hold, and you find yourself swaying gently in the line at the grocery store. The Mother-Motion.

My girls are 5 1/2 now, and though I try very hard on a daily basis, I still am unable to reclaim that lost talent of Being Still. Movie Nights double has stellar laundry folding time. Talking on the phone is the perfect opportunity to mop the floor. And I've found that waiting for a pot of water to boil makes just enough time to get a room or two vacuumed (which leaves one or two less that needs to be done later, you know). Even when I find myself with a rare and special day without the girls, I'll still putter about, putting things away, cleaning up, organizing. The very model of modern motherhood management. (I think that may be one of the first merit badges you earn as a mom. That or Achievement In Milk Production).

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this state of constant motion is the ease in which you adjust to it. Not because it becomes a regular part of your routine, but because of the things you gain by being so efficient. My Movie-Night-Laundry-Fold Extravaganza buys me extra cuddle time with my fast growing little girls, who will decline cuddle time in a few years. Mop-Till-You-Hang-Up Talkathons purchase me enough time to have a tea-party with two little ladies. And The Boiling Noodles, Sweeping Carpets Maneuver allows me some longer story time with two emerging readers who still sit in wonder at the magic of a story read aloud.

I may not find myself sitting still much these days, but the ever bustling busy-ness of life with children has brought more joy than I could have imagined. And when I really think about it, I'd rather spend my days doing a crazy circus worthy balancing act with house and kids than to go back to those days of sitting on the couch anyways. And......

Good grief! Why am I still sitting here writing this? There are brownies baking and you KNOW what that means. Yes, that's right; it's "Brownies-Are-A'Baking-And-Ain't-My-Tub-Soap-Scum-Free?" time! Off I go!

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