Mothering the mother.

I’m on day 12 of having a common cold that won’t go away.  I knew it was happening when my immune system started firing on all cylinders a couple weeks ago.

Raw  throat – check.  Leaky nasal orifices – check.  Increased sinus pressure – check.  Violent sneezing fits – check.  Sudden urge to watch John Hughes movies – check.  Total inability to clean even a single dish or move laundry from washer to dryer – checkity check.

I hate being sick.  I’m a big baby.  I take full advantage of it too.  There are very few times in your life when you can feel completely guilt-free about lazing on the couch all day and letting the kids watch movies on repeat.

The last couple days I’ve been on a Dayquil bender and I’m finding joy in the most seemingly benign places; in the everyday occurrences that we take for granted.

I’m thankful for my husband.  Knowing a fair amount of single moms makes him particularly dear to me, especially when feeling pathetically wretched as I am of late.  Who else would harp at me to get a sweater and socks on, let me crawl into bed the minute he gets home from work, bring me water and rub my feet?  I wish every woman were so lucky.  I wish every woman would be able to take such a husband for granted.

I’m continually amazed by how caring my kids are when I show weakness.

I never pretend to be perfect – far from it .  I’m probably too honest with them (“I’ll kiss your boo-boo, but it’s not going to make it any better.”).  I let them watch movies that could give them nightmares.  I can become so angry that I can practically visualize back-handing them and have to remind myself to breathe.  Sometimes I give them treats they don’t deserve because I’m too tired to argue – or the flip side – sometimes I’m so unbending with the rules that I feel like I’m depriving them.  I don’t always know what to say or do to fix their problems – or sometimes I say or do too much.

No, I don’t think they’ll ever be under the illusion that their Mommy is perfect, but there certainly hasn’t been any love lost for it.

A child’s love is truly without conditions and constantly forgiving.  This is something all of us can learn from, I think.

When they play hairdresser with me, and brush my hair much more gently than I likely do with them, it reminds me of the need for patience.

I’m grateful for children who play unnaturally well together and who are sublimely thrilled for the chance to have mac n’ cheese for lunch – and dinner too.

My heart bursts when they try and kiss my boo-boos away and that they are genuinely sympathetic when I ask them to turn the television down because of a blasting sinus headache.    It reminds me to be more tender – because as someone who generally believes that suffering is a character-building activity, I can sometimes be too hard.

It’s painful to slow down.  Being forced to take it easy makes me realize how simply spending time together, be it sitting at the table doing puzzles, lazing on the floor and letting them crawl all over me, or cuddling on the couch and watching a movie, means so much more to the kids than having a clean house or having the finest quality of food.  I already knew that, but it’s difficult to always put that knowledge into practice.

I can already feel my energy beginning to siphon back to me and I’m dreading it.  Being able to multitask again, I will have so many things on my mind that it will be a struggle to just be thankful, and be loving, and be patient.  To be simple.  To simply, be.

But now I will try harder.  I come out of this with the understanding that having a bad cold now and then is a most excellent reminder  about what’s important.  My cup is, once again, full.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Mothering the mother.

  1. I love this: “simply spending time together…means so much more to the kids than having a clean house or having the finest quality of food.” So true, and definitely what I remember about my own childhood and what I hope to give to my own family. Hope you feel better soon!

  2. Such a fabulous post, Erin, and one I wish I had read -before- my little meltdown this evening. Love it.

  3. aj

    Beautiful, Erin. Just about every mom I know is constantly multi-tasking as she tries to do the best she can to keep up with busy lives. If only we could make ourselves stop more often and truly enjoy the simple things in life.

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