Taking Stock

Awhile ago I had a very interesting conversation with my 84 year old Grandma… we were talking about raising little ones and how tough it can be.  In about 2 seconds flat I caught Grammy and I having a little pissing contest about which generation has a harder road when it comes to raising kids….and well, when it came to the actual physical demands… she gets the gold prize – the olympic medal of housewifery – I mean –  Can you imagine? Cloth diapers, outdoor toilets, washing laundry by hand.  I conceded with Grandma that yes, it must have been exhausting but I was quick to assure her that she musn’t worry – us women have managed to put ourselves in an equally exhausting position when it comes to being women and mothers.  Now we exhaust ourselves MENTALLY. 

Now instead of cleaning cloth diapers we beat ourselves up mentally for not using cloth diapers and lay awake at night feeling guilty that we may or may not be effing up our children’s reproductive organs.  Now instead of washing laundry by hand we agonize over laundry detergent choices, torture ourselves about how disorganized our laundry room and closets are, and judge ourselves mercilessly about every little nugget of our lives.  The more things change the more they stay the same… 55 years ago a woman worked herself into states of exhaustion…hmmm… see any difference?

 Here’s the kicker – it can be different – 55 years or more ago Grandma didn’t have many choices and now our choices are endless – and that’s what we torture ourselves with – whether or not we are making the right choice – and instead we just try to do it all. 

 That’s what my summer has been about.  I started from scratch, from ground zero.  I have simplified my life down to simply taking excellent care of my children, of myself, focusing on my marriage and healing our broken hearts.  Now, I am going to slowly add whatever feels right.

 So, how did this experiment work out? Some days – some days I can’t wipe the smile from my face at my dumb luck that with a little adjustment of priorities I CAN do this.  YOU can do this.  Other days I see what all of the rushing was about – for me – it was about avoiding the pain of Rowan’s diagnosis – and I’m having some rough patches here and there.  Now, I focus on the rough patch.  If I need to take a second, an hour, a day… I do – except now it’s not filled with sadness – it’s just filled with self-love and self-care.  it’s filled with counting my blessings and baking cookies and stealing as many smooches as I can.

 From time to time I have faced a few remarks about how people simply couldn’t afford to stop working as I  have done… but sacrifices have been made… I drive a 1999 Grand Prix and haven’t had my hair professionally coloured in over 6 months! 

 I’m not saying that everyone MUST do this… but I do implore you to take a little stock and determine if in all the rushing around you’re kind of missing the point.  If you are trying to make this big beautiful life for your FUTURE  – make sure you don’t do it at the expense of your PRESENT.  I have learned this summer that what you need will come to you if you let it – that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard – but you also have to show up for “right now” and open your heart to that.

 So…  Now I am returning to work and I am extremely excited about the opportunities I see here…  I am so relieved that I can continue to stay at home with my kids…  I am a little nervous, scared I will fall into old habits and go from zero to crazy.  I am being mindful of that.  More importantly, I am so excited about this next phase of our lives and the amazing things I know are going to happen!

10 thoughts on “Taking Stock

  1. Love this post! So true, life happens in the present.

    Being present and showing up is important as if we are always focused on future, we miss the beauty of what is around us each minute. My mantra I created for me in 2012 is “Life is full of moments… make your moments matter.” that’s my little reminder to be present and to enjoy the moments as they unfold.. Thanks for reminding and sharing your grandmother with us.
    Charmaine Hammond
    best selling author

    • It’s a hard lesson to learn – but so important – I’m very grateful that I am learning it while my kids are little… That wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg about Grandma… there may be more to come 😉

  2. Beautifully written Kelly. An important part of my family therapy practice is supporting mothers to take time for self care. I would guess that 80% of the mothers I work with are experiencing burn out. Most don’t have any idea what self care means to them. They just keep pushing themselves, belittling themselves for not being able to fully function on an empty tank. It is amazing how much more they are able to accomplish when they take time everyday to recharge their battery. Truly, the best gift we can give our children, our spouse, our friends, etc… is to take care of ourself. A fully recharged person is a happier, more peaceful and more enjoyable. This is a wonderful reminder for us all to slow down and examine our priorities. If you are at the bottom of your never-ending-list-of-priorities, then its time to do some serious reorganization. Namaste

    • I know, it’s so frustrating! I think sometimes, deep down, we feel so inadequate that if we see an opportunity to “maybe” appear a little superior we jump all over it like savage beasts! I really try to catch myself to stop doing that!

  3. I personally am sooo DONE having, as Tanya says “pissing” contents! It’s so life-sucking. I find myself at moments hustling around this house and just saying to myself…”does it really matter if the floor is clean right now?” When I have a perfect opportunity to sit down on the floor and play…I try to do that. Just be in the moment and PLAY. The giggles and smiles and contentment in the faces of my little boy’s is so much more fulfilling than a clean floor, or a neverending list of crossed off “to-do’s”. Thanks for helping to enrich the lives of other mama’s and let them see that it’s okay to slow down and “not care”!

  4. I adore you Kelly! I crave the paired down experience so very much right now. And you are absolutely right! I can’t recall if I wrote about it or blogged about it – but the notion that our grandmothers and mothers worked so hard so we could HAVE choice has somehow not transpired properly. We HAVE all the choices now. But the problem is we haven’t learned to take choices — we have taken it ALL on and like you say, if we God forbid do actually make a choice, our guilt related to what we’ve given up is unbearable at times. Perspective is a brilliant thing. And remember life is long and good – there is time for everything we need and want, just not all at once.

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