Today was the day. The day to rake the leaves. My husband has this theory that you should wait for all of the leaves to fall off the trees before raking. I think that’s his sneaky way to get out of raking. So, of course, there comes a point where I don’t want to wade through leaves anymore, and the dogs are pooping in the leaves, which acts as perfect camouflage for those nasty bombs. Little Daisy Doo, my mini dog, starts to not like the way the leaves stick to her feet, so she stares at me from the back step like I must be a lunatic if I think she’s going out there. And so I rake. There’s a reason people don’t wait until all the leaves are off the trees to rake. Which, incidentally, all the leaves are not off the trees yet. We should have started raking weeks ago. Now raking is akin to shoveling two feet of snow. Luckily we got a rain free day and an astronomically high 75 for late Chicago October. This of course is what motivated me in the first place.
The beauty of manual labor, if there is one 🙂 Is that you can think. Well I thought. I started to think about how hard it is for me to function when things are not “just right”. I thought about a post I started, then abandoned. The post was going to be about how all the momma blogs say, leave the house, leave the mess for later, spend time with your kids, take time for yourself, your house doesn’t have to be perfect. The post was gonna say, I’m not one of those moms. I can’t. I can’t think when there is laundry all over the floor, when the counters are covered with junk. I can’t go to bed if my desk is a mess, or the bathroom rugs are all disheveled. I can’t even have a good friend over if my laundry room, the friend entrance, is not swept and the rugs aren’t washed, without at least apologizing ten times. And I can’t function when the leaves are knee-high. Me not functioning often takes the form of crabbiness, distractedness, and maybe even some meanness directed towards the Husband. None of these personality traits are acceptable to me, yet I struggle to let them go. And as a homeschooling momma, well, being distracted and crabby are completely counter-productive.
Then the universe decided to tell me some stories. They came in the form of two of my favorite blogs. One I read a few days back, from Kate at Picklebums, this post made me take a deep breath and try to cool it. It worked, her post White Whine. She has 6 people living in make-shift 4 rooms as they renovate their house. Her complaints sounded so much like my own, that her conclusion about it fit the bill. Remember, even when it seems so hard, someone has it harder.
Then yesterday I read another one of my favorite blogs, I admire this momma so much. I struggle with one, she has seven! I get bent out of shape with the mess that one child and one husband make. And did I mention she has seven?! I wallow, she supports. As I was raking today, I thought about her, I thought about her Dear Mom letters, this one was Dear Mom Who Feels Like She Doesn’t Measure Up. Ironically, I don’t worry about measuring up to other mom’s standards, I feel like I don’t measure up to my own. But as Rachel, mom of seven, said “Enough”. Enough being mad about the dishes in the sink that could as easily be put into the empty dishwasher, enough of caring about the pile of mail that belongs in the Husband’s office, not on the counter. Enough of caring that there is construction paper, and homeschooling books all over. Enough.
And so….I raked. And as I raked I thought about these things. I thought about how blessed I am to get to be at home with my son. Who, watched me rake as he ate Oreos and drank apple cider. At least when I asked he brought me some water 🙂 Yet just getting to be with him, outside in the fresh air was glorious. And he learned something too. Working hard is good, working hard can be fun, and the results, well we all know how that made me feel! I thought about how blessed I am to have a husband who is willing to work two jobs so I can home school my son. How I have a roof over my head, and a wonderful loving family. And I stopped being mad. And I started to enjoy. To enjoy the feeling of my muscles working, to enjoy the warm breeze blowing through my mommy ponytail, and to enjoy the “Hellos” of the neighbors, jogging, walking and biking by. And as the train rolled down the tracks (we live across the street from the train tracks) I felt a song coming on. I began to sing one of our favorite Johnny Cash songs, “Folsom Prison Blues”. Johnny had it right “when they free me from this prison” cause you know what? That need to be perfect is nothing but a prison. And so….here are the photos that would have been deleted the minute they were taken. I will share them with you and release myself from the need for perfection.
So, this isn’t the worst it’s been, it certainly is not the best. But it is where I am now. Truth be told, I did shove some junk into the cubbies in my desk, just so I could write this post. And I may have mopped the laundry room and put the dog crate away, but I will be one of those moms who takes it a day at a time. I will be present for my child, and I will try not to bite my Husband’s head off when I look in the sink 🙂