I suppose I should clarify. One of my dearest friends just texted me a picture of her dirty kitchen. I responded with a few of my own pictures and a lump in my throat made up of missing old friends and appreciation for the reminder that my job is taking care of people–not stuff.
True story: I just stopped typing to tell my son to put the shorts that got caught in a potty-break misfire in the laundry basket and then watched him drag them the entire length of my leather couch before placing them on top of the clean laundry piled on the dryer that has been sitting there for three days. I’m sitting here now, because I had too many Braxton Hicks in a row after cleaning the kitchen for the first time since Saturday as well as the fridge that had been the recipient of an unfortunate soy sauce accident about a week ago. The soy sauce had hardened into salty, stubborn, crystals that took a decent amount of elbow grease to remove. Unfortunately, I can’t relax because I know that my kitchen counters are still covered with a devious layer of watermelon juice that has dried into a commercial grade stickiness since it made its debut on Saturday. Of course, this all pales in comparison to the rest of the house I still have to clean so that when the new babysitter shows up tomorrow evening to let AJ and I go out to dinner for the first time since probably September, she’ll think we are a nice, normal, family.
We cannot afford to scare this girl off.
There’s been a surprising number of discontented mothers writing things that make waves on the internet lately. Notably, there was the mom in the UK somewhere who wrote eloquently about her strong aversion to motherhood several months ago, and more recently, a former professional wrote about how much smaller her world has gotten since becoming a mother. Her article was littered with words of regret and angst linked together. However, for every discontented woman who became a mother without counting the costs involved, there’s so many more who live for the validation they can get in the contest to be the perfect mother while only allowing themselves to be judged by the carefully selected things they post on Facebook or their Pinterest-worthy blogs. I hope to fall somewhere in the middle.
The truth is, nothing worth having comes easy. While I have yet to actually look it up to verify, Pinterest says that there’s a quote by Winnie the Pooh about how sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. He was right; not only do they take over your heart, but also your house, your budget, your car, your clothing choices, your friends, and your early morning coffee time. In a perfunctory glance, your world does seem to get smaller. There’s so much less time for what you want to dream and live and accomplish, when someone is literally always asking for a snack. Nothing good comes without a sacrifice though. It’s like this law of nature written into the genetic code of all creation. There is no birth without pain, no life without inevitable death, and no spring without fall. If becoming a mother makes your world smaller, then I would contend that it becomes deeper. Where once was a rainbow of panorama to explore, now becomes a small pinhole of light like a laser that only travels far because of its intense focus.
If you’re a mother, or if you have one, this applies. Narrowing your focus onto the people in your life will necessitate that you lose the things that distract from these people, and somewhere in the journey you will discover that they were worth it.