Tuesday, March 06, 2007

This and That--the Motherhood Edition

Again--just a mishmash of thoughts, but grouped by the theme of Motherhood:

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.

--Madeleine L'Engle in A Circle of Quiet (page 19)
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.

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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 have gotten to sit at Panera Bread for an hour twice now after taking Amanda to before-school chorus practice. An hour! As I read and wrote, Kyle played with the trains I brought for him on the deep windowsill, and I was able to have two full cups of coffee.


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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.

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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.

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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?

5 comments:

A Musing Mom said...

I've found a kindred spirit! Thanks for sharing that quote from a Circle of Quiet and your own experience of two things first. That's me completely! It's good to know I'm not alone in my struggle with the need to write and my family's need for care. Somehow in my reading of L'Engle's works I missed A Circle of Quiet. Now I know what to put on my list next!

As for Panera. Sigh! I long for those Panera moments myself. One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was a Panera gift card. So maybe today after errands my three-year-old and I will stop in there for a little bit of "quiet".

Katrina said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post. And I had planned to take Logan to Panera this morning, following your guidelines, but alas, we had a 2-hour delay, so it just didn't happen.

I had to smile at this quote: "During the long drag of years before our child went to school..." That would be so "politically UNcorrect" to say these days in certain circles. But the truth is, those days can indeed be hard and can certainly drag.

Oh - and we're not a daily bath family here, either. Our pediatrician told us from day one that too many baths dried out kids' skin, so we took that to heart. :) We make sure they're clean, but we don't overdo it. Ha!

As for your distinction... I'm going to have to ponder that. Or you could just tell us and save me the agony of trying to figure it out. :)

Carrie said...

One of my friends recently told me that in order to be a good mother she NEEDED time alone to pursue her thing. I had to agree -- albeit reluctantly. I'm not one of those mothers that enjoy every single waking moment with her kid(s). I need breaks to "do my thing" and I think I'm a better mom for it.

I DO intend to home school and pretty much be around my kids 24/7. Reading is my peaceful escape and thankfully I have a husband who understands and let's me escape the house and do whatever (whether its sit in Starbucks with a book or wander grocery store aisles) and I function well with that freedom. Every mom needs "her" time. I'm convinced! Time to write -- time to read -- time to THINK and to breathe.

Jennifer said...

Well--about the labels--I figured out that I write a lot about myself (imagine that, on MY blog), and my role as a mother. Parenting is more about things that a parent must do--discipline, rearing, etc.

org junkie said...

Hey Jennifer, I'm a bit behind as you can see. I totally know from experience how important it is to have some time to myself. I find blogging is my escape these days although I seem to be getting less and less time for it these days.

I'm just getting back into the whole Panera scene. I thought I was done with that but now I'm back to having a little one in the house and my 16 month old will not sit still for longer than 5 minutes and I get completely exhausted chasing him, then I start sweating and well it just isn't pretty...lol.

Laura