Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chasing supermom

So, for those of you thinking that the radio silence since my last post meant that Baby Julia has arrived...sorry.  I won't get in to the disappointment of the number of false labor episodes I've had (including one particularly convincing one that resulted in a hospital trip).  Aside from these periods of "labor" I've physically felt pretty well (in fact, probably better than I did a few weeks ago), but the mental game with the baby who cried wolf is making me a little bit weary.  Either way, I try to remember that she has to come eventually, and try to focus on the fact that both of us are very healthy and very blessed.

So, no Julia.  But guess who is here?  Mumsie!  (aka, my fabulous mom & Anna's favorite person in the world).

Not a current picture because the camera is still in the trunk of the car after the hospital dry-run.

My mom has been described (by both me and others) as a combination Martha Stewart - Mother Teresa - Energizer Bunny, so it's safe to say that we're all in good hands.  The house is spotless and completely ready for baby (and beyond).  Anna and Mumsie are attached at the hip, so I've gotten more rest than I have in months.  And we're all eating really well.

As I've watched my mom with Anna and operating in our house this week, it reminded me of my Success & Modern Motherhod post and my desires to do a really good job as a mother and as a housewife.  I've come to realize that the reason I so want to do well, and the reason I so adamantly believe that being excellent in this vocation is possible is because I have a supermom.

She'll laugh and shrug that off and say that there's nothing special, and that she's just doing her job.  Which, I guess is true - she has no extraordinary super powers, she just does her job extraordinarily well.  When I think back to my childhood, I picture a competent and loving mother, not the disheveled* and overwhelmed status quo for the modern stereotypical mom (including sometimes myself).

*While always pulled together, those '90's sweatsuits might have left a little to be desired, ma ;)

We always had a warm and homecooked meal, a snack and a listening ear after school.  Our clothes were neatly put away in drawers and our white socks were always white on the bottom (someday when I can reach this state of both home cleanliness and laundry prowess, I will have really made it).  We still had time to spend leisurely summer mornings listening to stacks of library books read aloud on the back porch.

Ultimately, this "unreachable" state of home operation, relative calm, and truly of comfort seems within reach for me because I've seen it.

Even before she arrived last week, I had this post in my drafts with a list of qualities I've noticed make being "supermom" possible.  Watching my mom this week has just reinforced the idea that sticking to these three simple ideas can get you really far in being super mom, or really in being super anything - and isn't that the goal for any Christian disciple?  To do what we're called to do, and to do it as well as we're able.

And so I give you three keys to success:

1) Use the moments

There is a lot to do in keeping a house running, but it's a lot of little tasks, not anything long and drawn out.  Little things (like emptying the dishwasher or making the bed) can make a big difference - both for the job they accomplish on their own, but also for the other tasks they facilitate.  When the clean dishes sit in the dishwasher, it's so easy for the next meal's dishes to pile up on the counter and make a much bigger job.  When the bed is not made, it's easier to just drop the basket of folded laundry in the already messy room, rather than quickly put it away.

But really, emptying the dishwasher is not a huge job!  The other day, Anna had started on dinner and I was finishing up some broccoli in the microwave.  I put it on for 2 minutes, and thought "hey, I'm going to see how much of this I can put away before the timer beeps."  The whole top rack.  Check the broccoli - needs 2 more minutes.  Bottom rack done.  Veggies still aren't quite tender.  One more minute - dish drainer emptied too.  Broccoli is ready, and kitchen is cleaned.  5 minutes total.

I manage to put off simple little tasks until they snowball into big ones.  But keeping up with 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there gets things done - and is realistic, even with a toddler.

2) Stick to routine

I use "routine" here loosely, not in the "we eat at 6 o'clock on the dot" sense, but in the "we clean up our toys before bed" sense.  I do have a general sense of the things that need to be done and when they need to happen to keep our heads above water in terms of organization, meals, laundry, and cleaning.  But, you know, there's plenty of times when starting dinner doesn't sound that appealing, or leaving the basket of clothes until tomorrow seems easier after a long day.  But the next day is never magically easier, and the sun never rises to a exponentially longer day.  I'm still busy, Anna is still active, there are new things that need done, and those that were leftover suddenly make everything else unmanageable.

There is no better example to this than the fact that I just came upstairs to write this post, walked through our living area and ignored the two minutes of tidying Anna's toys and the disheveled couch pillows so that I could get into the office and write.  My mom came up a few minutes ago after walking the dog with Justin, and I told her I'd finish the blog post later so we could spend time together.  "Oh, just finish up," she said.  "I'm just going to pick up out here really quickly."

And now she's sitting on the couch reading a magazine in a peaceful environment, and I'm scolding myself for the inability to put my money where my mouth is.

3) Love until it hurts

It's not always convenient or easy or fun to take care of a newborn or a toddler or really for anyone who needs anything besides sitting next to you on the couch.  We all have to fight an intrinsic laziness that makes us want to put off the chores, makes us want to give up rather than clean the toilet for the 50th time, makes us want to pull our hair out when the baby just.won't.nap.  But we're called to keep going.  Called to keep giving.  Called to die to self.  Called to love until it hurts.  Called to follow Him.

For some excellent writing on this subject, check out Mama Needs Coffee: Up All Night, which ranks as one of my favorite posts of all time.

I don't think they're necessarily "easy" steps to being supermom (or super anything!) - but they're simple steps.  Ones that I'm going to remind myself again and again and again, until I'm closer to the mother I want to be.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know about you, but those are SO much harder to accomplish right now lol. My body doesn't like me doing anything without a mad response of Braxton Hicks...or real contractions on some days that never turn into anything.