Monday, January 25, 2010

Surrender to the Chaos that is Motherhood

It is no secret that as mothers, we are laden with unachievable expectations that do not apply to the rest of the population. If we work, we are criticized for not being home with our children. If we are SAHM's, we are looked down upon for not having a job.

We are expected to put everyone and everything before ourselves in order to keep a spotless house and raise well-mannered, squeaky-clean, future-Olympian, little-geniuses. And don't forget, we need to look beautiful and thin while doing it all! This is quite the balancing act to attempt, and I applaud the mothers that have solved the formula for keeping it all together.

While my amazing daughter and husband are, without a doubt, my number one priority (that fact has never been questioned in my mind) I know I am not alone in being tired of feeling like I have to live up to impossible standards. My husband, thank God, is a man that is refreshingly evolved in his thinking, and agrees that marriage and child-rearing should be 50-50. I cannot cannot stress how much that kind of support and true partnership means!

I can't help but wonder though, who puts these expectations on mothers? Is it 'society'? The ghosts of housewives from days of yore? Is it familial pressure? While I could continue listing possibilities for days, I'll just spare you the boredom and just focus on a solution.The only real remedy I can see is to recognize that perfection is, generally speaking, an illusion. With that knowledge, we'll have to settle for being the most amazing, imperfect moms we can be. ;-)

Very recently a good friend of mine was able to put this into words in a way that I never could:

"Today I've made the profound realization that the battle between clean house and motherhood has officially ended. I surrender to the wonderous distaster of overflowing sinks, unvacuumed carpets, cereal covered floors and toothpaste gobbed sinks. I will walk 10 loads of laundry behind the next mother, as I watch the dust slowly settle on the tops of my shelves, and the garbage overflow onto the floor. Althouigh a disorganized mess, disaster yields more patience than children. 20 years from now my child will be grown up and gone away, but the mess will remain, just waiting for me to attack once again. Aww, dirty house I haven't given up on you... you're just on hold for awhile!" -Alice P.

Wise words, sister.

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