Step into my house at 10am, and you will see a picture of domestic bliss. The house will be reasonably tidy. My children will be laughing and playing. I will be the world’s best mother. There might even be a baked good for your consumption.
Step into the same scene at 4 in the afternoon and the view would be vastly different. Toys strewn everywhere. Dishes piled in the sink. Someone will be crying and its a one in three chance that someone could be me.
I am not good at being of service all day, every day. Stumbling down the stairs in the morning to cries of “I’m hungry”, then to be followed by endless cycles of nappy changes, feedings, meal and snack preparation, play, laundry, groceries, errands…I find it very tiring, very long and exceedingly dull.
In my family, rightly or wrongly, I am the one that provides the flexibility. I slot into all of the jobs and situations that no one else wants to or can do. I am the fluid one, who helps fill the cracks of everyone else. Not to say, I don’t get taken care of in other ways, but my job at the minute is to be of service in the variety of ways my family needs.
Kevin comes home and a baby is thrust in his arms. I may not be good at the relentlessness of caring for small children, but I am GREAT at sulking. I stomp upstairs, throw myself down on my bed and glower at no one in particular.
And here is the thing…I can see it coming. It happens most days – be it at home, at work, with my family. I am an introvert. I need time to be quiet and do as I wish. As my friend, Rebecca, wrote so eloquently, “I’m just someone who needs time and space in my house and in my brain, quiet and freedom to move as I wish,…depending on the day.” I can fit into someone else’s groove for only so long, before I must bust out.
After my small toddler-like tantrum, I can hear giggles wafting up the stairs. A cup of tea is thrust forward as a peace offering by a 3 year old messenger. He is scooped up into bed with me and we laugh and talk and I am back in my role and happy.
Sometimes, its just a moment I need to recharge…sometimes its more. Ideally, I wouldn’t get hit those low levels in the first place and of course, some days I don’t. One of the thoughts that I come back to time and again, is that women being left alone with small children all day is a recent phenomenon. We used to have family or other women around to share the enormous responsibility.
I wish I could make it all look effortless…No, I actually wish it could be effortless. But its not. We are a wildly happy, chaotic, crazy and sometimes ever so slightly destructive family with a wildly happy, chaotic, crazy, sometimes ever so slightly destructive mother.
So probably perfectly normal then.
I wrote this post and then say that Day 5’s prompt for Creativity Boot Camp is Fluid. How very very apt.