Last Wednesday I had successfully crossed off every single item on my things to do list. I was feeling proud and accomplished by this coup of mom management until I was reading it back to myself and realized something: I am really drowning in the daily humdrum.
My days are filled with laundry and dishes, vacuuming and play dates, toddler woes and muddy dogs. If I change out of my PJ’s and into my yoga pants by 9:00 AM then I know I am off to a fantastic start. If I can navigate around meltdowns and stand-offs for more TV time with my four year-old then I know I am unstoppable and that the house might not look like an asteroid hit it by the time dinner hour crawls into view. Usually, though, I barely make it to the witching hour without wanting to put myself in a timeout.
As I was launching into a lecture style rant about my day to my husband, I had an epiphany. I am bored by the daily exhaustion of motherhood. Time off from my responsibilities is not the answer, although for a long time I thought it was. Every mom needs a break, after all. The answer for my problem has more to do with adjusting my expectations of what motherhood is.
I don’t want to be the Warden around here anymore.
I am rarely apart of the play that is happening because I’m too busy mediating the wants and needs of everyone else. One kid wants to ride the dog like a horse, so I dash to intervene before our 85-pound Boxer bucks him off. Another kid wants to go digging for treasure in the kitchen trash, so I dart to the kitchen in time to sidestep the need for an emergency bath time.
My kids don’t know that I can play the spoons or do cartwheels. They don’t know that I can do a hilariously accurate impression of Miss Piggy from the Muppets. They don’t know that in the summertime I love to let my freeze pops melt so that I can drink the cool sticky juice. They have never heard me tell a ghost story spooky enough to raise the hairs on their necks and make them jump out of their skin.
They just know that I clean stuff and make up rules for everyone to follow.
Thursday morning I was up before the kids for the first time ever. I did not make a list of things to do. I did not put on yoga pants or tie up my hair in a knot. I muttered to myself that things would be different. I was going to be fun. I was going to let messes happen. I wasn’t going to micromanage the day.
I was firing the Warden.
And then I went into the kitchen and made chocolate cupcakes for breakfast.