Saturday, April 28, 2012

requiescence - ebb and flow

Some days, I think I can - or should - be supermom.  Up at the crack of dawn, a flurry of laundry-washing, house-cleaning, dog-walking, kid-dressing, family-feeding, course-prepping, work-going, Halloween-costume-sewing, playdate-organizing, Daisy-leading, school-volunteering, paper-grading insanity.  If I can manage more than an amazing 4 days in a row of supermomdom, I typically fall hard into overslept, crabby, rushed, snappish, disorganized, lazy, laundry-ignoring, mess-of-a-mom for a day or two.  The anti-supermom.  It's like I'm my own nemesis.  By the by, did you know that there are 2,030,000 image results on google for "supermom"?  Did you know that "Supermom" is also a Nintendo DS game?
I'm pretty sure that part of the problem is my (almost) subconscious working mom's guilt (which is perpetually fostered and fluffed by women's magazines and websites).  I overhear other moms talking about the 10 daycamps and 4 extracurriculars they're lining up for June.  I read Family Fun in the bathroom like it's a dirty magazine, and walk out feeling inadequate yet determined to be more ... more.  Like because my daughters have less of my time than if I didn't have a career, I should Make Every Moment Count -- by DOING THINGS.  So I make grandiose plans and obligate myself into big, busy weekends that serve best to land me at Sunday night feeling headspun and winded, wondering where the relaxation went.
When I was a camp counselor the summer I turned 19, my cabin had a tradition called "low point high point".  We passed around a flashlight in our pajamas, and everyone said the best and worst parts of their day.  It was a way of reflecting on our activities and feelings, and a non-threatening way to air out some otherwise festering disappointments or resentments.  A few years ago, I started to do that with my daughters at bedtime.  They love sharing their peaks and valleys, and surprisingly love even more to hear about my own.

Most surprising, though, is what we all end up saying.  Yesterday my high point was watching 5 kids from the neighborhood in my backyard looking at bugs, dirt and leaves, while snacking from our salad garden (who wouldn't love hearing 3 4yr olds & 2 7yr olds saying, "would you like some more spinach?").  After a 7hr crazy Daisy excursion today, C's high point was cuddling and watching E.T. this evening with her sister and daddy ... "WITH POPCORN IN BED!"  My mad push of time commitment, planning, organizing, coaxing, braiding, managing ... was appreciated and fun, but didn't match up to unexpected popcorn and 80's family movies.  It's good, sometimes, to have this reminder that the ebb and flow of my supermomdom vibe isn't actually the driving force behind the low points and high points of my daughters' days.  So maybe I can start working on convincing that guilty subconscious that I can linger a bit on the ebb and that lazy at-home weekends aren't blank spots in my children's life experiences.  Someday I may even approach requiescence,  or at least a bit more balanced sense of life.  Or maybe just die trying.

requiescence - retiring into silence or naturalness and ease; ebb


  1. Love! It does, however, underscore the danger in writing the first post about parenting highs and lows. Namely: You'll confess to calling your child a butthead, and your friend will confess to eating popcorn in bed. :)
    In all sincerity, it's another lovely and thoughtful post. And I think we should bring the word "requiescence" into more common use.

  2. *laughing* No way, man, I'm confessing to being a pushy, busy, snappish, disorganized, lazy, inconstant mom at least 1/3 of every week. :D