Summer of Joy - Unplugged
Perhaps it was because the twins were on the cusp of turning four, or maybe because we had an extra rainy spring in the NW, or maybe my body was just getting use to my new uterus-free life, (most likely, because of my new no flour life, I can't turn to moist chocolate chip cookies in crisis) but nonetheless I was feeling sad. The best way I could explain it to Matt is, (men like analogies and they like it when you talk about feelings naked) I feel like I saved up tons of money to take a dream vacation to Hawaii and the first day I got there I made a rookie mistake and didn't where sunscreen. So I have been spending my time in paradise with a sunburn. Not being able to enjoy my time but also knowing that soon I'll be boarding a plane and my trip will be over and I'll be left with pictures of a beautiful place and me with a red face looking angry. Panic. Basically, I have lived too many days as a mother surviving. And not just surviving the day but the hour. From the time my early bird Jabe jumps in bed with me to the time my night owl Jabe gets up to tell me his latest excuse why he can't sleep (yes both Jabe) I feel like I am desperate to get to them occupied so I can have peace in the house.
I'm bummed I'm not the fun mom all the time, like I thought I'd be. I'm sad that I make breakfast and lunch as fast as I can so I can have my meal alone in front of the computer. It makes me crazy how I make the kids feel bad about the mess they've made of our house. And I regret all the times I've just had to go to my room and let a few tears fall because I'm overwhelmed with the task of keeping four people alive everyday (myself included). I wasn't totally delusional when I became a parent that it would be all euphoria all the time, but I did try for four years to have a baby and that dream of mine got bigger and better after every failed month. I just knew that all my gifts and talents aligned with being an awesome mother. I pretty much felt like I was going to rock at it. What I didn't know was that six years in and I would sometimes be scanning the classifieds for part-time jobs just so I could not listen to preschoolers fight all. day. long. . . . WANTED: cat bather . . . .hmmm sounds nice. . . . Please know that I of course am being dramatic if I make this sadness seem like a 24/7 occurrence. There are great moments of joy in my life as a mom. But it's been too many days of drudgery for my liking.
So this spring it was one of those days and I was hiding from my children in my room, sitting in the chair that I used to nurse them and writing my ever-loving heart out. More of a prayer really. "Lord, something needs to change." My stream of writing led me to a place where I needed to make a plan on how to stop the wasting of time in my children's childhood and in my motherhood. To be purposeful in each day that I had with them. To find joy in being a mother again. And to create an environment where each stage in life is honored. Easy fix right? Nope, kinda like putting a cap on an oil well in the Ocean. I knew I had the building blocks, I knew I was once there not long ago, but honestly, when the twins came, I went to this place in my parenting that was a "just get by" kind of thinking and I've been a skipping record ever since. That was ok for then. We survived. Now it's time to live. The week before school stopped, I started to plan.
This is the only summer Tobin is going to be six and the only summer Jabe and Phoebe will be four, and quite frankly, the only summer I am going to be 33. I had so much fun creating our summer. The first day of summer I unplugged all our TV's and computers. (let me just take a break and let that soak in for you.) This was not for any educational reason, (although research supports that a non-screen environment is best for brain development. I prefer to parent with risks.) I was doing this to get me out of my rut. When things got out of control at my house I turned on the TV and tuned out of my kids lives. The skill I found out I had to master, living screen free, was not to turn into a cruise director where my kids needs me to provide continues entertainment. And how to deal with my house getting a lot messier from all the creative play.
So I can't wait to share our summer with you. It's almost over and in just a few weeks my oldest will be out of my care five hours for five days a week. First grade is going to change our relationship. I'm hoping it will only change quantity not quality. And just a heads up I'm feeling so much better about my mothering and I found that I am cut out for this, just not the way I was doing it.