Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Envious Dreams

Starting from a very young age, each night as I fell asleep I imagined myself as a mother. It started when I was young and the big thing I'd imagine was what type of pram/stroller I would push. Then as I got older, it moved onto what cute boy would be my husband. Even as a college student, on nights I had trouble falling asleep I would picture myself as a mother. By then I was imagining themed picnics on a family room floor, and homemade pinatas and other imaginations of myself as a near perfect mother.

Just last week, I had trouble falling asleep and went to my tried and true imaginations to carry me into slumber. Although now, I no longer picture a particular stroller, or guess about a cute boy, and of course dreams of themed picnics and homemade pinatas are long gone. Now I lay there imagining at least a few minutes with no-ones voice being raised, or a clean house for longer than 30 minutes and other such dream-like imaginations.

Times have certainly changed.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat in a meeting next to Megan. I didn't think I had been having a bad day, but I must have been when I found myself thinking of a lady I know. Not only was I thinking about her, I found myself envious of her. This lady has a much simpler life than mine. She is not too much younger than me, lives with her parents, has a fairly undemanding job, and in talking to her now and then, a fairly slow paced life.

I found myself wanting her life.
I found myself wishing I had her life, even though I knew in a heartbeat she would trade in her simpleness for a life as a wife and mother, no matter how crazy it turned her life.

I tried to gain a better perspective. I tried hard to internalize and remember my feelings when I wrote this article from a few years ago, but to no avail. Pretty much the next morning, I woke up feeling the same way.

I felt irritated when I had five children asking me to help them with their breakfast. All the while one of them was running late enough that she was requesting a ride to the bus stop, one was asking if I could please help him defrost the rabbit's water bottle, one was telling me I had forgotten to put a note in her lunch for a few days, one of the little boys was selfishly demanding his 'breff-fast' NOW, and one of them was refusing to change out of dried-pee smelling pajamas.

Instead of feeling grateful to be a mother, knowing the lady I had thought of the night before desperately wanted that, I continued the day begrudging my life. I wanted her life, with all the loneliness and quietness she likely experiences all too often. Especially the quiet and lonely part.

It was funny that I had a Power of Moms obligation to attend that night in SLC. I wanted desperately to stay home and sulk in my own misery, but I had commitments I couldn't get out of, and so I went.
I've attended a lot of Power of Moms events over the last few years, but this was a little different than most. This one focused mostly on our own personal dreams, those dreams both big and small that we'd like to see come to fruition. Yours truly, in the midst of all sorts of 'bad attitudes about motherhood week' was asked to lead one of the discussion groups. I took me a while to commit to the task based on my aforementioned struggling attitude. (It really was one of those weeks!)

I'm glad I didn't stay home that night.

Perhaps it was sitting in several small groups with some pretty amazing fabulously ordinary women that changed my perspective. Maybe it was hearing from a handful of extraordinary women that changed my perspective. Either way, that night I thought again about the lady I'd been thinking about just 24 hours before. And I was reminded that my life right now is my dream. Sure, there are plenty of things I'd change about it, and plenty of things that aren't quite panning out to be as dreamy as I'd once envisioned when I fell asleep at night as a child, teenager or young adult. But here I am.

Living my dream as a mother. In all of its everydayness and non-gloriousness.

Sometimes I feel completely unqualified to be part of an organization whose mission it is to gather together mothers. I wonder during mornings like this morning, when I was begrudging the fact that I had to be helping children pack lunches and fix breakfast, what business I have to help other mothers feel encouraged and content in their roles, when I was getting irritated somebody was asking me for a straw with their milk.

But then I remember these fabulous women I work with (a few of the 40+ members on the Power of Moms Board), and I know that each one of them feels the same way once in a while too.
And maybe that is what keeps me writing and speaking about motherhood--the fact I know it isn't always dreamy and pleasant, yet it continues to be one of my greatest passions.

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