A Phoenix Burning


Sometimes I get off track and the noise in my head turns all negative. I get frustrated with my messy house, my argumentative kids, and my overworked husband. I get cranky and tired of doing the same menial chores day after day…picking up the Legos, folding the blankets, washing the dishes, wiping the tabletops. It is at these times that I look around my life and feel terribly inadequate because no matter how much I do, it never seems to get me ahead. At these times I imagine I must be the worst Mom, the worst housewife, the worst just about everything. “Everyone” else seems to have it together, so why can’t I?

I look at other mothers. I’m certain they wake up in the morning cheerfully before sunrise to take a shower and do their hair and makeup before the sun is up, humming delightfully in the bathroom as the smell of percolating coffee (set the night before) wafts up the stairs. This mother has time for a healthy breakfast and a cup of coffee at the dining table with her husband before the first patters of feet are heard upstairs. She kisses her husband goodbye at the door as she hands him his lunch (premade the night before and packaged with a love note inside) and then heads up the stairs, opening blinds along the way to let the sunshine stream in. She greets each of her children with a good morning kiss, and leaves them to get dressed for the day in the clothes that were thoughtfully set out the evening before. The children get along as they get ready, enthusiastically sharing the bathroom, and generously helping their little brother with those tricky buttons, so their Mom can go downstairs and prepare their healthy, hot breakfast for them. Hasn’t she taught them well? They all sit together and eat their breakfast, as their Mom reads aloud interesting news stories and shares the evening plans with them. Of course she already knows what’s for dinner and has her calendar updated, forgetting nothing.

This Mom sees her children off to school one by one with a kiss and hug, and the children skip into the building with enthusiasm and joy. She returns home to run that one load of laundry she didn’t get to on Laundry Day, and dusts the table tops, dropping dinner into the crock pot before leaving the house for her morning Yoga class. She returns home with plenty of time to not only scrapbook, but to write a personal note to her great aunt, read her book over tea, and to get ahead on that Christmas project she’s been working on since July. She takes flowers to her sick neighbor on the way to pick up her children at school, and arrives in plenty of time to visit with the other perfect mothers on the playground, discussing the next PTSO meeting and all her great ideas for fundraising. And of course she will volunteer to lead that committee! She was hoping she would be nominated…and she’ll even bring a homemade snack to the first meeting.

The rest of her day flows as easily and predictably wonderful as always…the kids breeze through homework, her husband is home on time, her wholesome dinner is a delightful affair with everyone sharing their day, and every last morsel savored, even by the four year old who isn’t picky in the least. Everyone chips in to clear the table and do the dishes so it’s done quickly, then the entire family can sit together for the evening’s entertainment. Bedtime is smooth, routine, effortless. She even has time to devote to her husband once the children are nestled all snug in their beds.
This woman is unflappable, ever patient, always cheerful, and would never dream of raising her voice or exhibiting frustration. There is never a need anyway, because her world is perfectly smooth and peaceful to the last drop.

That is my fantasy, where every mother has it together, and then there’s me.

Irrational? Of course it is! But I’m willing to bet I’m not the only Mom out there who imagines the same. In the words of Tori Amos, “Why do we…crucify ourselves?”

Thank goodness my kids are fine in spite of me. πŸ™‚


10 responses

  1. You watched too many sitcoms from the 50’s, my dear KD. Ever watch the movie Pleasantville? Rent it on your iPad.

    I think you know your fantasy life would soon become boring though I know all mothers long for it. Life is more than a TV sitcom.

    Spoken a male’s prospective so take this with a grain a salt (an idiom if I am not mistaken).

    October 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    • You’re right…that’s not a life I would want. But a week of sweet peace and cleanliness would be good for my soul! πŸ™‚
      Whenever I start to feel this way, I know it’s time to start vacation planning. πŸ™‚ Usually that starts up in February though. Not a good sign that the itch is already starting…probably a result of the last eight months of slow recovery, and feeling trapped by my body.
      See that? And I didn’t even have to go to therapy to figure that out. πŸ˜‰

      October 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm

  2. I just about to echo what Scott said – but from the “I”m there with you sister!” perspective. Of course no one’s life is that perfect, and we wouldn’t really want it to be. As you may be able to tell from peeking in on last week’s posts, we are far from perfection around here and clutter is pretty much the name of the game. Sometimes you just have to let the clutter win in order to make time for the things that really matter! πŸ™‚

    October 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    • Yes, the clutter wins….a lot!
      Oh, well….someday I’ll miss the clutter and the chaos, I’m sure.

      October 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm

  3. Hey, I just saw your quote from Gerry above your header! That’s a great one!

    October 18, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    • Was wondering if anyone would notice. πŸ™‚ Love that quote!

      October 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm

  4. Ha! Thoroughly enjoyed this post! You are quite the writer!

    What you didn’t write is, in this ‘fantasy’, the mother is on Valium, the kids are on Ridalin and the dad stops by the bar each night picking up callgirls and martinis. Feel better? πŸ˜‰

    Life is soooo chaotic and soooo imperfect. But, without those two, we’d never be surprised by the snippets of perfect moments, right?

    October 19, 2011 at 10:35 am

    • Quite true Tracy….I do feel better now! LOL
      Thanks! πŸ™‚

      October 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm

  5. Kate

    That fantasy wold be nice, but it’s kinda predictable, dontcha think? Don’t know about you, but having occasional chaos thrown into my life keeps me on my toes! ; )

    You are a great writer—saw the whole day of The Perfect Housewife played out in my head, complete with the perfect yoga pants and the yoga body to go with them. Oh, and don’t forget the Starbucks coffee in hand!

    Now , THAT part of this dream I wouldn’t mind being true! : ),

    November 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    • Quite glad you found me over here Kate. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to exploring more of your blog when I have a bit more time. I think we have a few things in common…photography, staying at home , and Starbucks to name a few.
      But not the running part….or the clean house…or the stocked fridge and pantry, or…..hey, wait!! You ARE that woman I was talking about in my post, aren’t you?!?! No wonder you could see it so clearly! lol. πŸ˜‰

      November 9, 2011 at 7:51 am

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