Thursday, October 21, 2010

The task-oriented mother - do her children feel loved?


It's a beautiful word....a beautiful state of being, isn't it?  Such a privilege.

Much of the intensity is over in eighteen to twenty short years.  That's really short, when you consider that most people survive well into their seventies. The majority of our earthly years do not include having children under our roof.

That fact should make me feel an ounce of relief, given the current state of:

- my living room (four loads of clothes to fold)  

- my kitchen (baked chicken/mashed sweet potato dinner dishes to do, and double chocolate chip baking paraphernalia to clean. I baked for the church children's director's family).

- my dining room floor (grass/mud tracked in from back door today, crumbs from about five meals, sticky unknown substances under the table from the last two meals)

- my bathrooms (both floors need moping, mirrors need windexing)

- the playroom (massive amount of large Legos were dumped before bed, train track pieces and books are also all over, courtesy of my sweet toddler.)

Too, I should feel relief at the thought of having leisure time for reading--something from which I derive much pleasure.  And leisure time for creating a beautiful, soothing flower garden.

But somehow the thought of these future pleasures--reading, gardening, gourmet cooking, having a clean house--give me no relief.  Not even an ounce.

Nothing will ever be as special--or as pleasurable--as what I'm doing right now.  Mothering.  These are the best years, months, days, hours, and moments, of my life.

When you're pregnant with your first child, or about to adopt your first, no one tells you about:

- the joy of having a sleepy little person come down the hall at 7:00 a.m., ready for some good-morning lovin'

- the joy of having a squeaky-clean little one in your lap for night time stories

- the joy of having a toddler/preschooler talk your ear off during potty time

- the joy of seeing your big-little boy settle down with a beloved book several times a day

- the joy of hearing giggles in the playroom while you cook, squeals and laughter in the yard while you hang clothes, friendly sibling whispers in the bedroom after tuck in

- the joy of watching your beloved husband hug your little toddler, his eyes tearing up

- the joy of being the absolute favorite person of four little people

- the joy of nourishing a sweet baby/toddler at your breast

I can make this list much longer, but the words still won't adequately express the heart-joy that is motherhood.

I want so much to convey to my children, every day, how much I love being their mommy.  How much they color my world happy, meaningful, growth-rich.

And yet.

Oh, yes, there is a painful yet.

I am, by nature, task-oriented.  Understand, I don't want to be.  I don't choose it.

Do you know someone like that--someone task oriented?  They give you the busy-bee impression, without meaning to. You can feel it as you stand next to them or talk with them on the phone.  They rush through life, moving from task to task, crossing off their to-do list.

I have one aunt here in Ohio with whom I can sit on the couch, feeling as though she has all the time in the world to spend with me...with my family.   She's completely engaged, in tune with the people--always the people.

I have another aunt here who is just as nice, but when I sit on the couch with her, I have the impression she's about to get up to attend to something. She's completely preoccupied, although she's still polite enough to make eye contact.

Both are lovely, genuinely nice ladies.

But guess which one I want to be like?  Which one do you want to be like?

In order to convey to our children that we love being their convey that everything they think, feel, and do is important to us, we have to fight our first nature--that task-oriented nature.  (If you don't have a task-oriented nature, you're a fortunate mommy!)  I don't mean we have to follow our children around all day, hanging on their every word and forgetting all housekeeping.  But we do have to give the impression of the first aunt I described--the people-oriented one.

For most of us with more than one child, that means learning to live with a disheveled house.  A less than clean one.  Forget about what that neighbor thinks, the one who happened to see it at its worst.  Does her opinion count?  And why should it?  Is she part of our legacy?  Is the shape of our house part of our legacy, really?

Years from now, it won't matter that we merely felt our children were our greatest joy.

We have to convey it, too.


Evenspor said...

Well said. I know just what you mean. My children are teaching me to live in the moment, but I still say far too often, "I have work to do," or, "Mama's busy."

Re: sink dyeing - I would only dye in a stainless steel sink. White sinks are supposed to be washable, but I wouldn't trust to that. When your fabric is done dyeing, you need to rinse it out really well - until the water is clear. Wring it out and either hang it to dry in the sun or stick it in the dryer. Then soak your sink with water and bleach. I find it's a good excuse to do a super sink shining.

You may find it even easier and more contained, though, to dye in the washing machine, especially with something as big as couch coushins. There will be directions on the dye package. When it's done, see if the color looks like what you want, then throw it in the dryer. Run an empty cycle in the wash with some bleach in it, and it should clean up nicely. That's how they always dyed fabric at the costume company I worked at - in the washer. And the bosses sometimes brought their laundry in and did it in the same washer (they were a little nutty; I liked them).

Oh, but if the upholstery is a synthetic, it will be pointless to try to dye it, because it will not hold the dye at all. Synthetic/natural blends might absorb a little color, but not much. (I've tried both before.) Dyeing really only works well on 100% natural fibers - wool, cotton or silk. I think for leather there's a special kind of dye, and it's a different process. (not sure on that, though)

Christine said...

Thank you, Evenspor! I really appreciate your help! The covers are made of jean fabric, so I'm certain they're cotton.