Tuesday, October 20, 2009
One of my major obsessions is watching Oprah. I greatly resented any job that took me away from my 4p.m. viewing of the "O" show until...DVR. So now I come home relax and turn on modern technology which allows me to view my favorite shows on my time, at my leisure and with the full capacity of rewinding, fast forwarding through idiotic commercials and pausing so I can take a bathroom break, chase the dogs or just stop to answer the phone.
So tonight when I turned of the tele and hit the play button on came Oprah and Nate Burgess (is that his last name, I never can remember as he is just adorable). Nate was giving a mom a break from her daily duties. Yep, that's right Nate was mom for a day. I found this thought terribly entertaining as Nate is a single guy without children (at least as far as this viewer knows). So this was looking to be a promising evening of humorous entertainment.
As Nate progressed through the day he began making comments about how terrible he was doing at all of this childcare and domestic work. After his second comment about not doing things perfectly that is when the Ah Hah moment hit me on the head! I realized that possibly the act of caring for a child, a vulnerable, helpless, endearing small child was in and of itself an overwhelming tasks. One in which none of us ever feels competent enough or good enough to have been bestowed this task.
Having raised three children myself, going to college and then working full time, I remember now retrospectively only ever feeling like I was juggling too many balls in the air and that I never seemed to do it smoothly enough. The days when I felt the most perfect as a mother was when my older two were small and I was a full time stay at home mom. Then I had my hands full however by the end of the day, the house was clean, the children had been fed, bathed, read to, played with and put to bed sweetly. However that all ended when my oldest was 4 and my daughter was 2. It never seemed quite fair to me that those years were their early years. Years they would probably never remember. The picnics, the days at the park, the times when we were down playing on the floor and laughing until we all nearly peed our pants.
Nope after the birth of my youngest child and a divorce my days became all about the maintenance. Getting up and exercising so I would have the energy to face a full day of being a mom and a student. Getting breakfast on and ready, getting the children up with commands and directions, getting us all out the door so I could drop them at the morning daycare and myself on time to catch the bus. School and then home to pick everyone up, dinner to make while they played, then bath time, off to bed so Mom could study. This all before graduate school. Once I went to work full time and off to graduate school part time....well...let's just say they don't seem to remember my presence at their sports activities. I was there watching and reading my textbooks as I studied. I should have been on the floor screaming at the refs like all the other out of control parents, it at least would have left an impression.
Well yes, thank you Nate. Thank you for my ah ha moment when I realized tonight that because I would give a kidney, cut off my arms, give my life for three of the most amazing people I have ever known that I may have been too hard on myself. That maybe just maybe I was juggling at a rate that was incredible for any human being let alone one without a net under her, only love for the blond heads that fell asleep at night on their pillows. Maybe never feeling good enough or perfect enough was proportionally related to the all consuming mommy love?
What boggles my mind still is that they are all raised and launched and I still have that never enough feeling. Now I am only juggling work and school. Yet I find myself making lists in my head of how much I still need to do to clean my house, work on the house, the books I haven't finished, the pictures I want to print out and frame, the pictures I need to hang, (thank God the boxes are unpacked), the baths I need to give the dogs....hmm...maybe it's true, perfectionism is slow suicide or at the very least a happiness killer!
Possibly as tomorrow is a new day, I will suspend judgement of myself for the entire day. As I finish each and every task I shall become my own cheerleader. Each thing I do shall I say Atta Girl Kay! Great Job! Or at the very least, I finished. Maybe, just maybe compassion begins with me.
Thank you Oprah and Nate!