I patiently hold it as I nudge Lucas through the door. Right as I have him safely cleared Jacob rushes past me and vaults up the step-stool screaming “I need to wash my hands. Dare Durrtee, Momma.” Ok. Patience. Breath. Just a minute. Quickly, I scrub in to join the handwashing procedure, hoping that assisting will shorten the time. Before he turns the faucet off, his favorite part of course, I have the towel in hand and I’m drying him off (head to toe) frantically. Right. He’s out the door. I’m alone. I may now sit and do what I need to do in peace. At least I think. In comes Selah who proudly makes my business public with her ‘defecation proclamation’. Oh the shame. This is worse than when she would fake puke into public toilets when I was pregnant with Jacob. That’s what they were for, right?
It’s not often that mom’s get privacy. A few stolen moments in the bathroom. A trip to the mailbox or, if you’re lucky, the grocery store. A brief reprieve at naptime. It doesn’t add up to much time to, well, be. On one hand, I find it frustrating to hear a list of things we deserve as moms. A list that sounds like a ‘To Do’s’ for the pampered princess who feels entitled to whatever she wants. On the other hand I’m apt to ignore the needs of my body and psyche for regeneration, pushing myself to the edge of sanity and back again several times each day. I know no rest.
So, like everything else, I find the need to examine my ‘momstincts’. Where’s the happy medium between selfish entitlement and grinding ourselves to nothing. Where do I fall on the scale between two extremes?
Now, I can find justification for just about anything I decide I ‘feel’ at the moment. Can’t you? When I have a pity party I find the friend that will always poor baby me. When I’m pissed, validation of my angst is only a call away. When I need that little ‘Oh, don’t worry. You DESERVE it.’ another friend can be found at the click of a mouse. Basically what I’m saying is that we can find support for whatever we want to. But is that the right thing?
I think this one comes down to self awareness. I know the difference between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation is shaming. It’s unjust pressure and fear. Conviction is what comes when the truth hurts. When enlightenment is knocking at the door to push us into deeper knowledge of truth. Conviction is the reminder that you’re potential is so much greater than what you just did.
So, which is it? Do I feel condemnation for harboring thoughts of time alone? Is the reality that the thoughts are healthy and I should be working towards carving out a few moments to exhale? Or is it a conviction that I really have the time and I’m using it unwisely and complaining too much. That if I had more patience with my kids and kept the house clean on a more regular basis I wouldn’t feel the urge to escape from it.
These are the things I’ve pondered today. A day when I haven’t been to the bathroom once alone. And I’ve picked up toys with my kids over and over, yet didn’t play with them as much as I could have because the phone stole my attention. I avoided the dishes because I’m just sick of standing at that sink.
So the answer to THE question? Is my heart condemned or convicted? The honest truth is that the questions are the same but the answer changes daily. Hourly, even. And today it’s a little bit of both. So I’m releasing the condemnation. It’s useless and shaming. The conviction? I think we’ll play more tomorrow. I need it as much as they do.