Tuesday, 02 October 2012
Life is pressure. It starts when you're young: pressure to make good grades, to be the smartest, or the fastest on the playground, or the best at sports. To have perfect hair, clothing, make-up. To be cool and admired. To be the most technically advanced dancer/ballplayer/artist/musician.
Then you get married and the pressure mounts: To still have perfect hair, clothing, make-up. To have a well paying career. To maintain a perfectly clean house. To provide three healthy, delicious, appealing meals. To maintain a creative hobby.
Then you have children and you are expected to: Still have perfect hair, clothing, make-up. To still maintain a perfectly clean house. To still have a well paying career. To still provide three healthy, delicious, appealing meals. To maintain a creative hobby. To raise children who are the smartest/best/most advanced.....
And do it all with a smile on your face and loving words from your mouth.
During the course of my married life and time as a mother, I've learned a few things. I cannot please everyone and it's an unnecessary burden to try. I was called a failure for dropping out of college and quitting my job to take care of our children. I was called selfish, greedy, and lazy because I wasn't working and that put the financial burden for our family solely on my husband. Then I was called a bad mother because I didn't put my children into preschool/daycare. I was keeping them from obtaining the best education I could and denying them social interaction by my desire to homeschool. Conversely, I have been called a bad mom because I now have to put them into public school and am letting someone else do the teaching. Apparently, in order to please everyone else I need to work at home, homeschool my kids, volunteer any free moment to any and every organization possible, clean tirelessly, cook constantly, and look like a movie star all at the same time. So when does that leave time to LIVE life? To just take a moment and enjoy taking a moment without feeling guilty that something is going uncompleted? Or maybe that's what anti-depressants and happy pills are for?
So here is what I'm going to do, and I'm pretty sure it's going to help me to be a happier person. I'm not going to listen to the rest of the world. I'm going to do what makes us happy, as a family. There will be sacrifices, I know. But I'm also okay with that. If you come over to my house, there will be dirty dishes in the sink, overflowing laundry hampers, and toys all over the floor. I might just serve you breakfast for dinner or have dessert first. You'll probably hear me yell at my kids or see them get swatted on the butt. We just might all be in our pajamas still. But I can guarantee that you'll have a good time. You'll be able to relax and not have to worry that your kids are making a mess somewhere. And if we decide on the spur of the moment to go to the creek or on a picnic or just go for a drive, you'll be welcome to join us.
To me, life is about enjoyment. I'm not talking about living only in the present: blowing your money, living the "high" life, or seeking pleasure where it shouldn't be sought. We do have responsibilities and need to prepare for our futures. But I'm talking about finding enjoyment in the mundane, enjoying whatever moment we're in, even if it's not an ideal one or one that we would have chosen. And being thankful that we have that moment to spend with those we love and care about. We only have one life to live and we couldn't live it perfectly even if we tried. So, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed or that your life isn't perfect, take a moment for yourself. Ask yourself what your basis for comparison is: are you trying to live your own life or someone else's? Let the dishes sit, leave the laundry. Gather the kids and your favorite book or some paper and a pencil. Head on down to the creek and just enjoy being in that moment. You don't have to be perfect. You just have to be you.
What is the last thing you did to enjoy being in the moment?