"Thank heaven there is tomorrow. Because there is tomorrow, all our yesterdays have meaning and all our dreams have hope."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Giving Up That Perfection

I sat in my rocking chair this morning holding a sleeping baby when my sweet husband kissed the top of my head and as he left for work he said, "I love you and I appreciate all you do." All I do? I sat and thought about that for awhile.

For those of you who know me and have read my blog for awhile, you know that I cherish motherhood above all else. There is NOTHING I would rather do than be a mother to my sweet boys. However, those of you who really know me know that I tend to be hard on myself. You would know how inadequate I feel and how I set unrealistic expectations for myself. Perhaps you could call me the "Clark Griswold" of motherhood.

See, I grew up with the Bionic Woman as my mother. I have watched her tow cars, install toilets, mow the lawn, and scrub her house. I have then watched her graciously attend black tie events, travel the world, serve in church callings and care for her parents, children and neighbors. Really, there is nothing my mother can't do. In fact, if I do something particularly amazing Jason will often say, "Wow! That was Cindy-status!" It is the supreme compliment to me.

Today as Jason told me how he appreciates me, I couldn't help but think about how I can't meet up to my own expectations. I know all women feel this way at times . . . so I think many of you may understand. I hope . . .

When I was pregnant with Gavin I had a vision of how I expected things to be. Well, that didn't go the way I anticipated AT ALL and so when I found out I was pregnant with Jack, I revamped my thoughts on motherhood. Hopefully they were more concrete and meaningful. Still with all the appreciation and gratitude in my heart for Jack, I still had expectations for myself that I can't seem to meet.

I expected that I would have a sparkling clean home, dinner on the table every night and showered in the morning. I thought that I could make it to the gym every day and play tennis with my mother once a week. I thought I would be able to catch up on my scrapbook and organize my home videos. I thought we would go out with friends every Saturday night and that our baby would be so good he could just come along. I thought I would spend hours in the rocking chair with at baby who loved to cuddle as much as I wanted to cuddle him. It just hasn't gone that way . . .

Please don't misunderstand my criticism on myself as being ungrateful. Grateful doesn't even seem to fit the way I feel - it's more like supreme gratitude. I have a healthy baby who has made it here to stay with us. I can't ask for more than that. Now, I just have to accept my feeble attempts of being a mother and wife to my three amazing boys. I may not be the ideal mother and wife, but I am trying hard. I guess I am striving for progress.

6 comments:

Brittanie said...

I feel this way a lot. I'm so beyond grateful for my babies that I have here. And my husband tends to tell me he appreciates all I do on those days that the laundry is unfolded in the washer, the dishes are stacked up in the sink (because clean ones are in the dishwasher), and the front room is strewn with blocks and crayons and I am unshowered. I also have a supermom, so I get that part.

But my former bishop's wife said something I'll never forget: The clothes and dishes can wait. Your baby is making memories now.

You're doing wonderfully. (hugs)

Kevin and Natali McKee said...

I have been feeling quite the failure lately. It seems to happen more when the house gets messy or I get upset with the kids. I think sometimes I eat up what Satan plants there. It is a constant cycle. I am trying to not compare my self with other people and to feel good when I have accomplished one household task for the day, lol.

Teresa, Brandon and Xander said...

There must be something in the air, because you are not alone! I am reading this type of stuff on all of my friends blogs, as well as feeling this way as well. We have it built in as women and it sucks. And seriously, the clothes and dishes can wait....I am so scared of how I will ever be able to divide my attention among two little ones that for the first time in a long time I woke up this morning, didn't shower, didn't vacuum, did nothing, but played board games and trains with my little boy who I am so grateful for....It has been the best day I've had in awhile...and the best part is, my husband or anyone else for that fact probably won't even notice that the house hasn't had it's weekly thursday vacuuming, and it feels so good. Give yourself a break!

Mary and Dean said...

Don't stress. I know exactly how you feel. I too had such a hard time living up to super mom status when my son was born. After months of frustration and diasppointment, I finally gave in and just enjoyed the moments that came. So I didn't feel like a complete failure I made a weekly list of things to do. Somedays I got everything done in one day, other weeks were more difficult, but I set myself goals that were possible and as a result was a much happier momma. Good luck. It gets easier (or we just care less about the little stuff, I'm not sure which!).

Baldwin Fam said...

When you find that way of being able to let it go and just be...let me know how you do it. :) I'd like to learn too.

Heather and Billy said...

Lindsay- You're getting it, you just don't know it yet. You had the blessing of going through an experience early on that taught you the value of every moment. Remember that as you let go of the perfection. It's so easy to feel inadequate and to compare ourselves to the supermoms of the world. But, you know what...to that kid YOU ARE SUPERMOM.

I've got a 6 year old now, an almost 5 year old, a 2 year old and an almost 1 year old- and I'll tell ya...that time has diasappeared. My house is still not always clean. It pretty much never sparkles. I don't always get a shower. Dinner isn't often on the table as soon as my husband walks through the door. In fact, sometimes he even needs to make it. But you know what...I AM a good mom. I feel like I am FINALLY starting to get the hang of this stay at home motherhood thing. A lot of it has been about changing my perspective and ways of doing things. A lot of it is just time. There's a reason I love that Undomestic Goddess book. Even President Monson has made a lot of comments recently about how there is a time and a season for everything- he spoke recently about how there will always be piles of laundry, floors to clean etc...but that the moments with our children are fleeting and will be gone before we know it. You know that all too well. Remember that when you are feeling hard on yourself.