When I was young and in a different perspective of life, I made a mental list of all the things I wanted to be. All the things that made me successful and polished. Qualities that I thought I didn't posses as a child. These things would surely guarantee that I would be happy. If only I tried a little harder with perfecting them a magic light would come on and people would flock to me. I would have a tremendous amount of friends who were loyal. I would feel carefree. I would be put together and stress would elude me. I would be loved by someone as I walked the line. I had all of these things in my mind to have accomplished by the time I hit my peak (which I actually may have already hit by my age ;). )
1) I would be polished
- I grew up in a family where you were expected to be clean even if you are wearing a third generation hand me down that rode up your butt or had on underwear or socks with holes in them. We knew we were poor, but being poor did not mean you were dirty. (Don't get me wrong I've had my fair share of days digging in mud or going to bed without a bath). My mother was meticulous when we were young as to ensure our hair was combed and that our clothes we wore out were clean. Our house may have been a wreck with five children running wild there, but by golly when we went out into the public we were polished turds. My mother spent all of her time and energy ensuring that we were clean and it left little time for her to put on a grand entrance with hair and make up. Very naturally beautiful, but no time for all the added accessories. Once I got old enough to start caring about my appearance I did my best to keep up with it. I told myself I wouldn't be one of those mothers who let herself go. One of those had everything going for her types that now looks chronically tired who can't even be bothered to use eye cream at night.
Growing up changes you, motherhood changes you. I used to (and still do sometimes) get jealous of women who have hair salon appointments every six weeks with fill in manicures every three. A radiant glow with perfect make up and not a hair out of place. Those graced with fashion sense for their body types. Those who exercised into oblivion. They look so put together. They looks so confident and happy. I get caught up with jealousy at how easy it would be to let all the other aspects in my life go to the wayside while I primped to perfection.
Despite everything that I have accomplished. I will never be this woman. My hair hasn't been cut in over a year. It gets washed every two or three days if I'm lucky and I can't begin to tell you when my nails were put to a file. I go through spurts of wanting to wear make up, but in the end my natural skin always wins because it is too much work to take it off at night or to put on in the dark on my way to work. My clothes are usually from second hand stores because I still can't get into the frame of mind that I have money for new things. I'm also beginning to think my flabby koala pouch will never go away. I'm facing facts that I will most definitely probably always look disheveled, a semi-polished turd. I will never live up to that expectation.
2) I would be punctual and structured.
- I'm one of those worrying types that shows up 15 minutes before the early period of time one should be there for fear of being late and/ or embarrassed. That part of my personality is there and is a prominent portion of me. Its funny though, how much of your personality and innate abilities are trained to be one way and your life pushes you the other. I'm not sure how any mother is punctual with children. I'm not sure how life can be structured with one child throwing up and a husband whose schedule changes. I have drifted from a punctual person to racing to work daily in order to be two minutes late instead of ten. Going from making everyone's schedule a month in advance to flying day to day. Seams fall apart and structure no longer holds. My life cup runs over with the tasks I'm to complete in a day.
3) I would be educated and competent
- It may be true that I am educated and competent in the field of Audiology. I have a degree and praxis score to prove it, but not all education and competency comes from a college degree. You know those women who always have the right suggestion or rational for a problem. Those friends who always know the right thing to say in order to make you feel better. People who have experience in many different aspects of life and can offer up the exact phrase or scripture in order to remedy the situation. I will never ever ever ever be one of those people. I find myself socially inept at many instances and failing at bringing comfort. I quite honestly have no answers for 99 % of the problems I face or others who confide in me face each day. I will also never be that woman who is flawless in wisdom and execution of wisdom.
4) I would be a faultless mother
- I will never meet this category in any way shape or form. I'm not sure I ever really honestly thought that I would be a faultless mother, but there used to be this voice inside me that said. You will read to your children x times a day. Everyone will have many fruits and vegetables and picky eating is not an option. I dreamed that I would be that calm mother you see in a store who has four boys walking behind her in line. The one who whispers to her child and they seem to be right in line with a command. You know the one who seems to have no problem with the size of their family because everything floats graciously and god has granted them gifts of being fruitful times 10 without worry of financial or scheduling issues. There isn't a care there because everything falls into place as it should. I would ensure that my children would always on point with their development and would treat others with compassion and kindness.I just knew I would grow up to be a successful mother who would be level headed and embracing to my children at all times. They would love me endlessly and find comfort in me because I was such a calming spirit.
I'm not really sure where that idea ever originated. I, obviously am not a free flowing calming spirit who dances with wolves. I AM the wolf most days. Mike classifies me as the black wolf in the story My Many Colored Days. A book of emotion and color.
This isn't something I'm proud of. I tried very hard to curb it, but in the end I'm always the yelling Tasmanian devil who can't understand why everyone can't pee in the toilet instead of the floor and just eat their dinner without complication. Most days I feel genuinely graceless when it comes to mothering. Chicken nuggets/ Chicken fries with a side of fruity snacks is what happens here. Wearing not matching clothes and socks is what happens in the morning. I'm not sure that I have that cute jean that requires my kids to wear matching nautical outfits with skinny jeans or designer anything. I am seriously lucky if I can talk Gavin into wearing a pair of denim anything. We are genuinely a as Gavin says, "sweater pants" family. I really didn't notice how out of fashion reality we really are until recently when one of the daycare providers commented on how Mike must be color blind because my children come to daycare wearing clashing colors daily. I laughed it off, but in all honesty it isn't Mike. It is me, and it's all I can do to make sure that they have clothes on before we make the drop at six am. A pinterest mother I am most definitely not.
5) I would be a faultless wife/ My relations are unwavering.
-As I have grown older I have learned to take appreciation in pre-marriage counseling. While Mike and I did not go through any counseling, I have learned to respect it a great deal. This type of counseling tells you the truth. It tells you things are hard and that after the honeymoon phase it is tough and tiresome labor. It isn't easy by any stretch of the imagination. When I was in my late teenage years I thought I knew what good relations looked like. I had an idea in my head about how perfect of a wife I would make someone. How I would honor their every need and be fearlessly loyal for my entire life. I would make it my life's work to serve and love someone that served and loved me. In my mind I had this picture of a perfect working nuclear family where I would have a booming career and so would my husband. We would work the same shift and split the chores and our children. It all made sense to me. What I failed to realize is that life events take place. That my version of relationship success would be seriously altered in the coming years. I didn't factor in that our first five years of marriage would be spent living mostly apart. That I would have my first child on my own while working full time for the better part of a year. That we would struggle for at least a year when we moved back in together trying to figure out who we were and who we were to one another. That we would move home together only to still live apart due to opposite work shifts. If it is one thing that I have learned from it, it is that relationships are almost never static. They are fluid in every stage of life. You have to work at it every day. Embrace it everyday because if you don't you drown in the details of what keeps you apart.
It isn't easy and it probably never will be.