realistic expectations

There are many struggles in motherhood for me. I would love to say I took on motherhood with a fierce calm and conquered it, but that would be a boldfaced lie. Motherhood and I are not a perfect pairing. As I’ve written about before, one of my struggles has been surrendering my Me Time and what sometimes feels like my entire identity in the name of parenthood. Another one is adjusting to the difference between what I’d like to accomplish and what I am actually able to.

I am not Type A or OCD or a Perfectionist, but I do seem like the type who would give myself a label. I am an Accomplisher, if that’s a thing. It is now. I make people look lazy by comparison – I know this because it happened yesterday at work. I am a mover and a shaker in the literal sense. I do. I make lists and cross tasks off with gusto. I make the most of my time most of the time. I am productive. On the mornings I open the coffee shop, I am driving to work at 5:15 a.m. I always smile at the runners in their reflective gear, up before the sun; these are my people.

So at first I tried to keep up my productivity, in spite of having two rowdy little boys underfoot. I thought of staying at home as an early retirement and happily thought, just think of everything I can get done! I had grand ambitions of reading 50 books a year, writing blogs and in my journal, practicing yoga, walking and running, keeping the house clean, keeping the boys clean and dressed and then knocking out some of my large house projects, all while writing a novel in my spare time. And it took me no time at all to realize that was not just unlikely, it was impossible. 

In those early days of being a stay-at-home mom, Steve would come home and ask — foolishly, as all husbands have done — “what did you do all day?” And I would glare at him, annoyed at my own filth from not having showered, of the kids’ filth, of the house’s filth. I would agonize over all the things I didn’t get checked off my list – of each week that passed that I couldn’t turn the page in my task book because I was still stuck on last week’s task list.

But a year and a half have passed and although it still bothers me that there isn’t the time in the day for all I want to accomplish, I have learned anything that I do accomplish is progress. It didn’t take me long to be proud of a day when all three of us were bathed as a productive day. Although my plans could be to clean the entire house one day, a more realistic goal would be to clean the fridge. Or sometimes just eat the leftovers out of the fridge. Baby steps.

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