Motherhood has swallowed my life, digested it, and pooped it out. This may not conjure up the best of images, but it is my truth.
I love my son and daughter with my whole soul, and in this process, the other things that make me light up have grown a bit dim. Staying at home this year has been hard — like really, really hard. My days seem to run into each other. I look forward to my husband getting home from work with an intensity that is difficult for me to admit. It pains me to see how easy it seems to be for other women, and comparison is not kind.
In the spring, when the most predictable weather on the High Plains of Colorado is wind, I found it difficult to get out of the house. When the weather is not ideal for walks and playgrounds, there is no indoor space for the kids to play and that makes me stir crazy.
One day, after nap time, around mid-afternoon I needed to go to the store. I was getting around and changing my son’s clothes when he turned to me and said, “Why are we putting clothes on? Where are we going?”
Oh, my. This kid knows that we stay in our pj’s all day unless we are going to be seen by the public. Oh, the mom shame rains down.
I tried to explain to him that we wear clothes even when we don’t have a place to go. He wasn’t buying it. “But where are we goooing?”
“The store,” I admitted.
His face lit up as if I had said a spaceship.
“Can I get a sucker?” he asked.
“Sure,” I smiled.
His whole little life is made by the Dum Dums pop he gets from the cashier at the grocery store. I love his enthusiasm for running errands and how he finds such joy in telling the clerk about every item we purchased as he puts them on the counter.
He shakes my sparkling water and says, “When this opens, it is like a volcano, but there is no smoke.” The cashier looks at him and smiles, surprised by this impromptu science lesson. He then acts out how a volcano erupts with his little 2-year-old body including spewing sounds. She giggles with amusement and eventually hands over the basket for him to pick his sucker flavor. Not surprisingly, he chooses one he has never tried: root beer (not my choice, but to each his own). He is a risk-taker. His simple joy is divine. He also loves to go to the post office and see the letters behind the mailboxes — always so full of questions. He is so curious, so smart, and so full of life.
I often feel as though I need to be doing more to foster his curiosities. The teacher in me says I need to be challenging his mind and exposing him to more. The problem is, my creativity tank is empty in so many ways. I pride myself on being a creative person, and I always thought that, in motherhood, creating and leading adventures would be my strength. It isn’t though — far from it.
After talking it over with my husband, I decided the best way to serve my children’s creativity is by fostering my own. Like the flight attendant instructing parents to first put on their oxygen mask
before helping their children, my spark for life needs to be reignited so I can be a better mom. And hell, even if my spark doesn’t make me a better mom, isn’t my own life worth getting excited
So here is my new motherhood mission statement: I am going to carve out time each week to create and learn, or learn from creating. It might be writing, it might be visual art, it might be interpretive dance… All I know is, I want to be as excited about life as a toddler volcano.