I recently read an article that discussed how stay-at-home moms are around their children all the time but frequently are not present. Boy, did I feel that to my core. The author mentioned how it’s so easy to be so overwhelmed by the noise of motherhood that we don’t ever really listen– which made me think to myself, “Abby, when was the last time you really listened to the kids?” Oh, I’ve heard them. I hear them all day long and sometimes night. But it’s been a bit since I’ve listened to their little hearts.
I have to be honest with you. I struggle with being present. I have difficultly focusing on all the little joys of motherhood because, well, all the big burdens of motherhood get in the way. We are the foundation of the household and if we slack I feel like the whole house will crumble. Whenever one of my kids is chatting endless in my ear I must admit, my mind wanders to the endless list of things I need to do. Let me elaborate.
My kids have the opportunity to earn what I call “special time coupons”. If I need a set amount of time with one child during school but Pickle has reached her limit, I ask the available child to entertain her for a few minutes so I am available to give undivided attention to the issue with school work. These coupons can be cashed in to add extra time to the individual special time they each get night with a parent. I was astounded that both big kids always cash in their coupons for time with me. ME! I’m the one home all day with them, I’m the one always doing things with them. I was surprised they didn’t want time with Husband. However, my daughter illuminated me with this one comment; “I feel like I never get to chat with you mom.”
Oof. Cue the mom guilt.
I felt horrible when she said that. All those parenting books I’ve read never talk about how to balance parenting with, oh ya know, homeschooling, 3 autoimmune disorders, household finances, housework, chef duties, maid duties, driving duties, extracurricular coordinator duties.. the list goes on and on! I can’t do it all! Actually, apparently I can, just not well. So when I daughter said that, I felt enough realization to ditch all my social media permanently. I didn’t need another pointless time sink. And things improved. Lately however, I feel like I’m slipping. I’m overwhelmed and over worked. Being present has taken a back seat. With my autoimmune illnesses does come a certain amount of brain fog occasionally, but this just feels like I need another jolt of fire to bring me back to the present. I want to be able to tune out all the background noise and listen more.
Do I have a plan? Not really. Except maybe, “let it goooo!!” (Sorry, I had to). I find if I am not reactive to my stress, the whole household functions better. Is that a lot of pressure? Heck, yeah. Or maybe it’s a opportunity to harness the grace of motherhood, the epic calling that is being the bottom line to an entire family. There is peace and beauty in the struggle, I am sure of it. I have felt it before and I’m searching for it again. In the meantime, I’ll try to soak up all the little joys in the journey.