The various pressures of twentieth-century living have made it almost impossible for the young mother with pre-school children to have any solitude. During the long drag of years before our child went to school, my love for family and my need to write were in acute conflict. The problem was really that I put two things first. My husband and children came first. So did my writing.I honestly wish at times that I had a true heart for the calling of motherhood. Yes, I enjoy my children, I feel privileged to stay at home and be their primary caretaker, and I do think that I'm a good enough mother, but I do crave that solitude. I find that I am often putting two things first--my needs alongside those of my children and husband. In reading A Circle of Quiet I was confirmed even more in my belief that we are each wired differently, and that is okay. If I felt the strong primary calling to motherhood, I might not be able to minister in the ways that I have enjoyed (usefully) such as leading ladies' Bible studies, being a good friend, and teaching children in BSF.
--Madeleine L'Engle in A Circle of Quiet (page 19)
I think that I have figured out the secret to obtaining the Panera Experience that I blogged about a while ago.
- Go early (when it's not crowded)
- Go alone (where Kyle isn't distracted and I don't have to add being a bad role model to my worries about general acceptable public behavior).
- If it's working, take advantage of it, and if it's not, then end things early and move on.
I alluded to my selfish use of time in the introductory post of the Read to Me mission, but I will say that simply making this commitment and putting in writing that it is important and valuable to both me and the kids has helped me in my choice of how I spend my time. What has surprised me is that since the time is set aside already, how much I am enjoying each experience. I am thankful that my mission is bringing about change here at the Snapshot house, and I hope that you are experiencing the same thing. Keep it up, and don't forget to post a summary sometime the week of March 19 and link back up here. I can't wait to read about books you've enjoyed and if permanent changes are being made.
One day last week Kyle went into the bathroom and said, "Take a bath." Now, this may be too much information, but I will tell the truth and admit that bathtime around here is not a daily occurrence. It's winter (so he's not getting dirty per se), I wash his face and hands several times a day with a wash cloth, and I'm just not a routine person. Since he hadn't a bath the night before, so I seized the opportunity and let him play in the bath a while. I'm not sure what caused him to ask, but I was happy to say yes.
I opened with a quote, and so I will close with a few lines from the CD that is constantly playing in my car. The kids like it, and I love it. I can not be in a grouchy mood while listening to this CD. And, as you'll see from the quote, it starts the wheels of my brain turning as well. As it turns out, I could have subtitled this "The Selfish Mother," but I won't. I'll let things stand as they--no guilt, no condemnation, just the reality of this Step in Time:
Childhood is a step in time,
Parenthood's the same.
Never miss a chance to get it right.
Don't it seem a perfect crime,
Don't it seem a shame,
When the steps aren't going as smoothly as they might.
**This is from the Original Cast Recording of the Broadway Show. The lyrics are expanded from the movie soundtrack, such as in the case of this song. I wrote about the comparison of the three Mary Poppins in this post, but I have so many thoughts in relation to this theme, that I might have to do a series of posts in the near future, or at least create a Mary Poppins label!
Speaking of labels, I know that some might think that Parenting and Motherhood would be the same thing. Can anyone guess how I differentiate between the two?