"If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!"
I like Kipling, although I personally have never kippled. I often repeat that "unforgiving minute" bit as a mantra when I feel the burden of my Mom-ness. I guess we all have those times when parenting seems to be a chore. But I got a nice "nudge" this morning that has inspired me to re-think my perspective.
Nestled between offers of riches from some Nigerian dignitary and a mass of newsletters from government officials who never read MY letters but add me to their emailing list, I noticed "Parenting Tips" in this morning's junk-o-rama.
I consider myself to be a pretty good mom. I haven't duct-taped anyone to the wall in years. But I also know that being a "good" parent is not a destination but a journey (yuck!), so I decided to take a peek.
The suggestions were the usual, "take time for yourself" variety (yeah, right!), but the gist of the piece was to find the JOY in parenting. The JOY. Hmmmmm.
Yesterday, I dropped my daughter at school at seven, returned at eight for her awards ceremony, made it back home and worked on a couple of math lessons and some geography with my son, washed two loads of laundry, played two games of Go-Fish with my five-year-old, checked my award-winner out for her doctor's appointment, took the broken elbow to his doctor's appointment, fielded several phone calls from my older son and my husband, brought the girls home, whisked the elbow and the boy to acting class, slipped back to the house and prepared dinner, attended a brief training session for this blog, retrieved the young thespian, conceded to his pleas for doughnuts, secured everyone's prescriptions and made it home by 8:30. (So much for that "stay at home mom" thing!)
Okay, so where was the JOY in all of that?
(Author's Note: My friend read this and said, "You can't tell how many kids you have!" Well, exactly!! Feel my pain? I have four: a 19 year old son in college, a 15 year old daughter in high school, a 13 year old son I homeschool and a five year old daughter who will enter Kindergarten in the fall.)
Our schedules, worries, "to-do" lists are always going to be there unless we get lucky and fall into a coma or something (laugh if you must, but I got pregnant the last time just so I could get a nap in the hospital!)
Finding JOY amidst the drudgery can be as simple as being thankful for your kids. Relishing a hug or their delight over a doughnut or giggling in the doctor's office can provide sixty-seconds' worth of JOY to fuel those other unforgiving minutes. Maybe it sounds corny, but it sure does help to lighten the load.
I am going to go wash some laundry now, and be JOYFUL because it means that the people I love are close to me. Even if they wear too many clothes. . .
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