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December 6, 2019

Conundrum of Mothering – Woulds, Shoulds, and Coulds

We have family coming in tomorrow. They were *maybe* going to be here tonight, but good ol’ Minnesota weather delayed their trip by a day. Honestly, I am thankful. It gives me (or I thought it would give me) more time to scrub the house and bake the banana bread.

You know, the extra cleaning that happens when you have overnight guests. As I sit here and look at the living room filled with play – meaning toys and art supplies on the floor from the day, together with the unplaced Holiday decorations – I feel the anxiety rising; all the woulds, shoulds, and coulds cycling through my mind as my list is unchecked.

The 3-year-old SHOULD NOT be on the tablet (as I find a moment of peace writing this). I read all the studies about how screen time for the little ones impact them for the rest of their life. I really suck at mothering.

I SHOULD NOT have bought that extra ornament last weekend, because hello, clutter and mindless consumerism. But, the little snowman with the Santa hat, made by the child at the craft show was really hard to pass up.

I really SHOULD scrub the microfiber couch because the dog seems to find her way on our laps as we unwind from the day and the tan color is more of a spotted brown. Gulp.

Instead of spending those 10 minutes reading my book, I COULD have washed the table and moved the papers to where they belong; oh, and unloaded/loaded the dishwasher.

I WOULD really like to paint my nails, brush my hair, and get my clothes ready for work tonight. Ohh, I SHOULD get dinner started for my family tonight.

I WOULD really like to go through the outgrown clothes and find a family in need – especially this time of year. That mindless consumerism resulted in bins of outgrown clothes sitting in our basement. Really, my word, get it together.

I really SHOULD make that call to have the tow truck come get the car that is smashed in the front. Why, you ask, is it smashed? Well, the deer(s) decided that playing Frogger on Tuesday night on the way to piano – with the daughters in the car – in rush hour – was a great freaking idea.

As I look at all those anxieties listed above, what I really SHOULD be doing is pausing. And removing those woulds, shoulds, and coulds and leaning into those I AM ENOUGH ideas and the “life happens” ideas.

I loved and nurtured my 3-year-old last night as her nose is stuffed and she had trouble sleeping all night. That was enough.

I woke up with her early to sit in a steam shower to clear the passages. I then had her help me with making muffins and eggs for breakfast. That was love.

Then Noel, our Elf on the Shelf, snuck in and made a “snow’ angel in the kinetic sand. On the table. The magic of seeing the girls discover Noel’s antics are worth the clean-up and coordinating. This is love.

I helped my oldest set up for success for her day this morning. Water bottle filled and packed in the backpack. Snowpants, boots, hat, and gloves in the bag for her recess time. Snack packed in the second pocket of her backpack. A dollar inserted into her binder and her Pokemon hat placed on her head for the “Hat Day Fundraiser” today. Sensible clothes picked out. The shoes found. Reminders of how amazing and beautiful she is – filling that cup up before she steps out into the (sometimes) vicious world. This is enough.

Then, I had to get the 3-year-old bundled to bring big sister to the bus stop. Had to find all the things. And the dog seems to think that she needs to greet us at the door with something in her mouth. It is usually our shoes or strewn winter gear.

In this case, of finding the things, we were missing a boot and a glove. Insert the anxiety of the bus coming in 3 minutes, Mya walking the ½ block by herself to the bus stop, and the missing gear. Ahh, where is it??

Of course, why wouldn’t I look on our bed, downstairs, under the blankets. Sensible place to keep the boot and glove. Damn dog (insert absolute love and adoration for the mutt as I write this…). And Ciana’s giggles solidified the love for the damn dog. Silly Roxxie, with a loving pat and smooch on the head. Mama, don’t be mad at the puppy. Puppy is silly. Hahaha. It was enough to laugh instead of scold. Value the dog’s feelings and the girls’ over the frustration.

And then the BIG one. Being absolutely grateful and appreciative that we are all okay after our accident Tuesday. Leaning into the gratitude for the angels surrounding us. For our health, home, and each other. The enoughness and miracle of being alive.

You see it wasn’t a simple collision… Another car hit the first deer, and that deer bonked us. And then that car bonked us. And I hit another deer – it was a herd of deer. I don’t know what constitutes a herd, but there were 4 deer playing Frogger that night.

And the car behind us almost rear-ended us. Then, the 6 cars that passed us had to swerve to not cause a pileup. What a mess and really sad. My girls were devastated for the deer in the road and the suffering. Their 8 and 3-year-old hearts couldn’t stand the grief of hurting animal.

We were able to safely exit the busy highway onto a side street and wait for our heroes. The sheriffs and Daddy. We breathed into the moment. Talked about the importance that we were safe (except a sore shoulder on Mya) and the appreciation for seatbelts. And angels. I couldn’t bear telling Mya, through her sobs and destroyed heart, that the deer was in Heaven. So, I lied and said that it went with its family and that it could survive with 3 legs. This was enough.

When we get tied up in the uncompleted tasks of life, we become overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. The spiral with not doing or being enough is exhausting. As mothers and caregivers, our task list will never be completed. Anchor into the okayness of not ever finishing it all.

Just for today, lean into your enoughness. What you have accomplished. The love and comfort you provided today. Know that you are amazing. Lean into your breath. Quiet the ego. Stand in your soul. Release the woulds, shoulds, and coulds. Life is a little freer and more beautiful on this side – and a bit messier.







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