Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Expect yourself to be YOU not me

I've been thinking all day about what I should blog about.  I have plenty I could say.  But I generally hold my tongue unless I absolutely feel something MUST be said.  So usually when I post about something it's because I feel especially passionate about it right that minute.

I don't feel terribly passionate about anything right this minute.  It's making it very hard to post.  I would normally do a wordless Wednesday but alas broken camera and all that jazz.

I was thinking earlier as I supervised outdoor play keeping my eyes on five small children and thought about how different it was to do it as a mother than it was to do it as a paid childless "teacher".

I made small mention yesterday that I used to do this for a living before I did it as a lifestyle.

When I worked as a head teacher in a daycare I was responsible for the daily care and teaching of 12 2yr olds.  I had an aide because of ratios and it was awesome.  We got along great.  I loved the children in my class.  I started out as an aide.  Then I moved to a newer recently opened branch of the daycare and became a lead teacher.  I started out with the 12-18 mo olds.  Then as they got older and that branch grew I moved up with my students to teach them in the 18-24 mo room.  And then I moved once more as they moved into the 24-36 mo room.  I was with these students day in and day out for about two years of their little lives and mine and I adored them.  I braided hair and tied shoes and wiped running noses.  I went all out decorating our classroom after hours for Halloween and Christmas.  Found fun and fantastic craft ideas and tried to keep our weekly lessons just plain fun while being educational.  I moved our classroom around on a regular basis to keep it fresh for everyone.  We followed a routine schedule that included snacks, lunch, potty times, outside times, and naps as well as play and learning.  It was exhausting but rewarding in so many ways.  And at the end of a long exhausting day I would go home and spend the evening alone or with my then boyfriend (now he's KOJ of course).

When I had my own children I think I had this idea that I could make it as routined and easy as corralling 12 toddlers all day long had been at the daycare.  I was so completely wrong.  I don't think there are even words to express how wrong I was. 

First - these are MY children.  Yes at the daycare I was expected to care for the kids properly and teach them colors, shapes, and abc's along with animal sounds etc.  But as a mom I'm responsible for the people they turn out to be!  That is HUGE!  Seriously.  It's a very daunting fact of motherhood.  Who my children are as adults will be a result of how I parented them.

Second - there is no aide.  My aide was great at helping care for the children but she was also great at adult interaction and conversation!  I am alone.  All day.  Every day.  With children.  No adults here.  If I could afford to pay another adult woman to come sit and just keep me company I would be sorely tempted most days.  I crave adult interaction and adult conversation and I wait eagerly for my husband to return home at night.

Third - my children are already at home.  They aren't going anywhere.  The children at the daycare went home for the night and so did I.  Once I left work I was done for the day.  Here I'm always on call at the very least, even at 3am.  There is always a chance that one (or more) children will wake me in the night for a drink or help using the potty or just because they felt like crawling into our bed and jabbing their knees into my spine.  The kids at the daycare NEVER did that.  Ever.  Amazing. hahahaha

Fourth - and I think this one is huge - the expectations are completely different and that was hard to reconcile. My expectations of myself were completely ridiculous. Prior to having children I expected myself to work my hours and I expected myself to do basic housework. I wasn't terribly good at that second expectation but it was kinda there. Once I had Kayd and was no longer working I expected that our home should always be clean and our life should somehow be rosier. I was just so wrong. First of all Kayd was a hard baby. He didn't want to nap unless he was on me and at the time I had not yet found the amazingness of a mei tei baby wrap (and I have never since had a baby who always wanted to be held, go figure). I also didn't realize how physically exhausted and demanding merely mothering a baby would be. I think it had a lot to do with the third point above and that constantly on call thing. Regardless though even after baby #2 came I thought I should be able to keep a completely clean house and care for my two precious babies. I think when #3 came along I gave up even though I still felt like it was something that I should be able to do I was simply a failure. But in the last two years I've prayed, I've read articles, and blog posts by other Christian mamas out there and I have come to realize that this expectation I had for myself was completely errant. I realized that I am only one person and some women are amazing and some women can keep a spotless house and lovingly care for their babies all in the same day. But I am not one of them no matter how much I wish I were. God has gifted me differently. Now I expect myself to keep our dishes clean, laundry clean, make sure our children get bathed, try to vacuum the living room at least once a week, and everything else housework wise is complete gravy. KOJ and I have agreed that the schooling our children is priority over a spotless house. 

Sometimes though I still find myself slipping into my old expectations and it is then that I have to remind myself that I am not the mother who is capable of doing everything with complete amazingness and a spotless house.  I am not that woman.  I have wanted to be that woman so long but I end up realizing that I am not her, I am me.  I am gifted differently.  I am that mom that even though I'm exhausted at the end of every day cannot think of one thing to say the mother-to-one that I run into at the park who looks at my four children and says "wow, I barely stay sane with one, I can't imagine four!" because frankly four has it's challenges but I cannot imagine only having one.  One was harder than four.  There is some kind of strange easiness that comes with having multiple children (and I'm sure it helps that mine are so close in age) where they play together, they help each other, they teach each other, they do half of my job for me.  I am that woman who will melt crayons with my children.  I am that woman who gets carnations from her children for Mother's day and her first thought is "YAY! We can stick them in colored water and do science with them."  I am and always will be that teacher who always wants to make things fun and hands on and never let things get dull and boring.  And while routine might work in a day to day daycare setting almost 7yrs in I still have yet to make it work for our family.  There are simply so many more freedoms involved in being the mom of the children in my care than there were in being the care provider only, that allow for more spontaneous and less routine fun.

And so if there were something I feel passionate about and felt should absolutely be said it is this:

Regardless of who you were or thought you were before children and regardless of who you thought you would be after children, be who GOD made YOU to be.  Don't look at my blog posts and think somehow that you are less than.  Don't look at someone else's blog posts and think that you are less than.  Melting crayons does NOT make me better than anyone.  I only post the pictures I WANT people to see here on my blog.  The ones with my kids running around naked are never seen.  The ones where my children spilled water or milk all over the place and I freaked out yeah, that doesn't make a great blog post.  If YOU are spending time with God, and striving your very best to be the person, the wife, the mother, that He created YOU to be then you are an amazing person.  Life would be so boring if we were all the same.

Proof that I only share what I want the world to see.

moment I would never ordinarily share - my son, wearing underwear on his head.  I sure hope they were clean!
And so that apparently is what I wanted to say today.

I'm linking this post up here:

No comments:

Post a Comment