I read somewhere that being a homemaker is like stringing beads and forgetting to knot the end. How true that can be. And being a mother is just about the same scenario. The laundry is never finished. Just when I empty the last basket, the baby spits up. After the sink drains of warm, soapy, water, I find a cup under the couch and have no idea what was drunk out of it…or when. The everyday chores are just that, every day! The kids are bathed and smell great until they eat their next meal. The fresh scent of baby powder is quickly replaced with dirty diaper odor. An entire box of cereal gets dumped within minutes of running the vacuum. When my husband comes home from work and innocently asks, “What did you do today?” I could cry. He can’t see what I’ve accomplished since none of the tasks stay done. I haven’t sat down all day and still don’t feel I can because things are not yet in order.
Before I had children, I was a person who thrived on accomplishments and finishing tasks. At the office, when I finished a form and filed it away, there was a true sense of completion. With my new job, Motherhood, I haven’t had that feeling and I know that my job as a mother is just beginning. Three-and-a -half years into this new career I recognize that my need to complete a task is as important as ever. I feel so pleased with myself when I get to the last page of a book – even if it is a book on sibling rivalry. I now try to sit down and cross-stitch or write every day just so that I can see something I did was not undone in the same day. I realize that my personality requires that I take some time daily to accomplish something concrete. My job of nurturing my children and my daily tasks are important, but so is my sense of accomplishment. For now, I will try to complete something small for myself every day, while continuing to do all the other tasks of a homemaker and mother. Then, when my children are grown, and the knot is tied at the end of this string of beads, I will really know what it feels like to be rewarded with a completed project. I hope that it will be a project well done because I also took the time to care for myself.
NOTE: The above was written and published in May of 1994. You would think that my kids have grown and that I am now able to accomplish all sorts of things. The truth is, however, that I had….drumroll please….more kids! I have three children who are grown and I couldn’t be more pleased with those completed projects. I have two left in the nest and it is my prayer that I still value the sames things I did over 20 years ago and that as I complete those mundane tasks, I still attempt to complete something for myself. Sometimes it’s reading, sometimes writing and sometimes simply going out to lunch with a friend. Which, by the way, sounds really good to me, so give me a call if you are available!