Did I do enough today?
Each night after we tuck the boys in bed, the review begins almost immediately. Maybe it’s the stark contrast of the noise and chaos from just moments before, when the gust of pre-bedtime activity blows through the house, compared to the quiet, calm that exists shortly thereafter, but it’s invariably the same nonetheless. The still fresh images of Jack & Jamison during the day replay in my head. They are softer and slower now though, facilitating enough room in my chest to deeply breathe in and breathe out. I can close my eyes and see their long blonde locks of hair combed back off their foreheads after bath time, their jammied up toes hidden in footed pajamas and sometimes, even imagine a trace of lavender from their Johnson & Johnson soap.
This slower pace allows me to turn off my mama autopilot switch and take back the reins to think through some things.
I’m hard on myself initially in these reviews. I lay out the day in my mind, flipping back through the sentences, paragraphs and pages that made up that day. I highlight the high points. I underline the low points. Then, the tiny editor in my brain asks the same questions each night. She’s relentless that editor of mine. And so I listen to her questions and I recount. Did I do enough today? Did I make the day count? Did I walk the walk of how to be patient and kind, not just talk the talk? Did I truly take in one more day of what makes Jack Jack & what makes Jamison Jamison? Between the peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, the sandbox toys, and the runny noses, did I hear them? Did I see them? Did they feel loved and important?
The thing about the tiny editor in my head is that she really is more like one of those snotty restaurant reviewers who doesn’t feel like she’s doing her job unless she’s seeking out things to criticize. So without intending to, I sometimes give more weight and more credence to the low points I underlined, instead of the high points I highlighted. Even if I wanted to change something I did or said during the day (and often, I do), there is no going back and editing any of my daily transcript. I just have to log it all in the resource section of my brain called experience and hope I remember where I catalogued that particular lesson the next time I need it.
I’m working on refocusing this tiny editor in my brain. Maybe I could make her more of a historian or librarian. Maybe she could do more recording and suggesting, less hammering and criticizing. Plus, I prefer to visualize my inner ego as Donna Reed from her librarian glimpse in It’s a wonderful life rather than Anton Ego from Ratatouille.
I’m only 3 1/2 years into this parenting journey, so this particular resource section in my brain has lots and lots of empty shelves waiting for life and time to fill them up. But just as the other areas of my brain that are newly opened and expanding, I’m going to leave room for growth and understanding and try not to criticize too harshly the first volumes entered in the collection. You know, titles like, “Parenting doesn’t get any easier, the difficult parts just keep changing,” or “Don’t spend $5 of OxiClean and 2 days soaking a stained onesie that cost $2.” Okay, so maybe these titles need to be sent back to marketing because they need a little shine and some lipstick, but then again I’m the only one who is going to see them anyway.
On days when I’m feeling frustrated because I didn’t get enough done – I have to remind myself that yes, I did get some things done. One day a good parent or happy child, it does not make. It’s the culmination of days, hopefully more good than bad that shape us. So, with my trusty pink sharpie in hand and a little bit of perspective, here are some of my finding joy moments from last week. The underlined parts have already been catalogued.
One more day of influence, one more day playing outside. We enjoyed picking wildflowers and hunting down grapevine.
Swinging and hearing Jamison squeal with delight, “again, again, again!”
Singing to Jamison at nap time and hearing him giggle during the itsy-bitsy spider. Reading Jack a new book. Following the boys wander around the farm, discover new things and just have fun.
And finally, stumbling across this little guy climbing up our tree.
I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember to keep your pink sharpies held high!