Friday, December 2, 2011

12/1 Challenging Smallenging

For a little while now, I've been wanting to incorporate a bit of personal journaling into this blog, some of which has little or no relation to motherhood.  The original idea behind starting Tales of Grace was to keep a modern day baby book of Grace's childhood and my adventures in mothering.  It just so happens that a majority of my life, thoughts, and opinions relate directly to motherhood, but for those that do not - I'd like to have a place to jot those down too.  

As it were, I stumbled upon a sort of "journaling challenge".  Throughout the month of December, there are daily topics to help foster the type of creative journalism I'm looking to incorporate.   Without further ado, I present to you Radvent!  Hope you'll follow along!

Challenge numero uno: 

What is challenging me most?  What isn't challenging me, would be a better question.  Motherhood.  Being a stay at home mother.  Being a twenty five year old mother.  Money.  Love.  Responsiblity.  You name it - I'm challenged.  

I've never been overly eager to grow up.  I was alright with lack of direction and shiftlessness.  I excelled at irresponsibility and napping.  Two years ago, within a few days of today's date, I found out I was pregnant - and most or less, shit my pants. (excuse my ladylike profanity)

While my friends were out at the bar meeting new people and nursing heavy hangovers, I was at home lathering myself with cocoa butter and praying that the stretch mark gods would spare me.  I knew I always liked the idea of Motherhood but wasn't sold on the commitment.  In my twenty three year old brain, I always figured that the selfless maturity that Motherhood demanded would come with time.  Ten months later on August 23rd, Grace Violet was born, and so was a Mother.

Motherhood isn't a cake walk, and those who think it is deserve a kick in the pants. I remember being very critical of other parents before I was a mother myself.  After getting punched in the leg by a rabid toddler one day in Meijer, I swore I'd never be that kind of parent.  The child's mother looked exhausted and unapologetic.  She simply stood there, hands on hips, looking me right in the eye as if to say "What the hell am I supposed to do about it?"

I'd be the perfect parent.  My children would be well behaved, polite, and brilliant.  I would be crafty and engaging, devoting every fiber of my being to their entertainment and education.  Meals would be homemade daily and our home would run like a well oil machine.  And I would most certainly, beyond the shadow of a doubt, be a stay at home mother - and  I'd LOVE it.

Tonight, with a kitchen full of dishes and laundry up to my eyebrows and the daunting tasking of midnight Krogering ahead of me, I'd like nothing more than to slap that  idyllic maternal image right in the mouth.

Today, I do my best.  Dishes are always in the sink, Grace doesn't get a bath daily, and I'm lucky if by bedtime, I can make to my bed without having to burrow my way through a day's worth of laundry.  I miss my freedom and the lack of responsibility.  Sometimes when Grace has a breakdown in the supermarket, refusing to be pacified by food, drink, or jest - I have to try really freaking hard not to run out of the store, while screaming "I HATE MY LIFE" at the top of my lungs and jump kicking every person and display that gets in my way.

Staying home is a pain.  Sometimes I long for human interaction that doesn't involve poopy diapers and Johnson's hair detangler.  Facebook often suffices, keeping me just within reach of my peers freedom and a daily sprinkle of drama.  I miss waitressing (that statement actually just gave me a heartburn) . I miss the feeling of making money and making friends.  I miss the independence and I long to fulfill expectation.  Sometimes, the thought of rolling 205 sets of silverware sounds like a vacation.

But sometimes, things are just right.  My daughter is smiling, the dishes are done, our bellies are full and I'm watching Grace dance around the living room to yet another episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.  Ryan and I are happy and I feel completely fulfilled.

It isn't often that I feel like I've done something as well as a I possible could of.  I am terminally self critical and have been known to have a weekly breakdown or twelve on just how sucky of a job I'm doing at life.  Accepting my new role as a Mother has been challenging to say the least, but has given me an overwhelming sense of accomplishment as well. 

Two years ago, I was a totally different person, blindsided by one of life's surprises.  I look back at the past few years and am shocked at how I've prevailed.  Nine long months, twenty five hours of labor, and our first 16 months as a family, has fulfilled my life in ways I never knew I actually wanted.  Today I am a Mother, striving to be the best possible version of myself while raising a beautiful little girl. And I'm doing a pretty damn good job!

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