Maybe I was also hoping that I’d have motherhood and finding fulfillment in motherhood all figured out by now.
I mentioned this in passing last month, and I’ve really thought on it more. As I continue to ponder
whether when we’ll have another baby, I suddenly seem to see reminders of my incompetence thus far as a mother. This last week, the living room is a mess—really a wreck with toys and trash and newspapers and food all over. I’m amazed the ants haven’t begun raiding more, because that room is well overdue for a vacuuming.
The kitchen desperately needs mopping. Both of these are rather serious things because I’m quite lax about keeping Hayden from eating off the floor. He’s just so much shorter than me that it’s no big deal for him to squat down, grab something and eat it before I even know what he’s doing.
The other day, when Hayden woke up in the morning, I came to get him and horror of horrors, he’d thrown up in his bed some time during the night. He hadn’t even cried to wake us up—that we’d heard. How could I have failed my little boy and not been there when he was sick? (Not to mention the times he’s pulled his diaper off in bed!)
Some days, it’s so far beyond me to wrangle him constantly. Some days, I spend a worrisome amount of time watching television. Some days, I can barely stand to look at the daily mess, leaving it strewn about my house to be compounded with the next day’s mess.
On those overwhelming days, I have to question myself as a mother. Can I really manage this with two when it seems that I’m failing with one?
It’s not that I think I’m a bad mother. I think I’m a rather average mother. And it’s not that my house is constantly a wreck or I’m completely overwhelmed by housework—most of the time, with my husband’s diligent help, it stays pretty much under control, though there are always the “hot spots” of clutter that bug me.
I think that I really did expect to have things “under control” by this point in my life—not necessarily having “ motherhood and finding fulfillment in motherhood all figured out by now,” but that I’d at least be decent at managing my son and my house and my finances and some sort of personal identity before I had to go upend my world all over again.
On the other hand, there’s a certain appeal to waiting to work out my whole “life system” until I think we’re done having children. At that point, I won’t have an impending life change lurking in the back of my mind, constantly niggling my confidence whenever I feel as though I’m actually “getting ahead.” (Yeah, you’re on top of this—for now, it seems to say.) Of course, I know that imposing a “life system” on myself and my family once we’ve all become entrenched in our ways would be even more difficult than having to readjust the system every few years.
But I only feel like I have a “system” about half of the time. The other half I’m trying to live up to that ideal—a mostly straight house, a mostly safe & clean child (who’s mostly not tormenting the cat) and a mostly satisfied me.
Sometimes I let my satisfaction with my life and my fulfillment rest on factors like these that are easily measured and highly visible. But it’s the intangible things that bring true satisfaction in life (okay, I guess Hayden and Ryan are quite tangible…).
I don’t have everything worked out perfectly. That really bothers the perfectionist in me. But I’m not going to let perfectionism keep me from enjoying my life and doing the things I know that I want to do—like have another child—just because my house isn’t spotless and my son plays in the cat food.
(Nope, no announcements, just some thoughts!)