Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Humiliation of Me

A few days ago I was at a kid birthday party with a bunch of moms I didn't know and we do what all moms do when trying to think of conversation starters with stranger-moms - talk about kids and motherhood.

It's an instant bond-er.

One mom said, "Having kids is just so...humbling."

And we all groaned in deep resonance.

I may have groaned the loudest.

I used to run at a hundred miles per hour, but now I can barely crawl at 5.

Everything, EVERYTHING, is an ordeal.

Getting out the door requires advanced logistical planning and the patience of Mother Theresa. 
- gotta make sure there are sippy cups, snacks, changes of clothing, backpacks, sunglasses, gum,...and that's not even any of MY own wonder I'm constantly forgetting my wallet at home!
-cajoling, lots of cajoling and countdowns, and gentle to severe prodding, and more cajoling, and sometimes, when I'm really desperate, bribing, of which I am thoroughly not proud
-wrangling socks on feet, jackets on twitchy arms, jumpy feet in shoes...
-and once everyone is out the door, one person announces they have to poop, followed inevitably by the other person's suddenly loosed bowels.

So yeah, it takes about 30 minutes to do what I used to do in literally 30 seconds.

Eating is an ordeal. Snacking is an ordeal. Getting in and out of the car is an ordeal. Going anywhere more than 15 minutes away is an ordeal. And bedtimes. Bedtimes are probably the worst ordeal of all.

Not pictured: the ridiculous amount of wrangling and hair-pulling it took to get this picture.

But the hardest hit area of my life is professional. I had a pedal to the metal, be-all-you-can-be attitude toward academic and professional achievement. It was the cultural norm and I more or less enjoyed it.

And now? Reluctant stay-at-home mom.

I've come to terms with the end of my career as I've known it.

I've let go of all career options that would require more than 30 hours of week of work for the next 15 years.

I've accepted the role as the primary caregiver, which means being relegated to jobs that allow me to pick up my kids at 2:30 pm every day and at noon on a random handful of days.

I could outsource it, but that comes with its own set of problems and pain. Ultimately, I choose to be with them more often than not. And in order to be with them, I have to slow down. In every single aspect of my life.

And not just slow down, it's more like slowwwwwww wayyyyyyyyyy the heck down.

I remember when Judah first started to walk around. I thought it would be great to take a stroll through our neighborhood. It turned out to be one of the most frustrating experiences of my life.

I had not yet realized that for a one year old, walking means meandering in concentric circles, picking up leaves and sticks every 30 seconds, and trying to touch dog poop as much as possible. On our 10 minute walk, we maybe covered 3 feet of path.

But that's what I have to do if I want to be with them. 

Condescend. Lower. Abase. Be humbled.

And it is the most unexpected gift.


Kindra said...

My favorite illustration of this from my own life actually has to do with my siblings. I have three younger brothers -- the youngest is about 13 years younger than I am. All four of us were spaced out with several years in between us. Growing up, I helped get them ready for church on Sunday mornings.

My first Sunday as a freshman in college, I was dumbfounded to realize that I was ready to go a half-hour early. For a few minutes, I couldn't even figure out how the time anomaly had occurred.

Alice in Wonderland said...

Ha! I love it! I think I'll feel like that when my kids leave the house...what am I gonna do with ALL THIS TIME ON MY HANDS?!