Being a mother means you are confronted with choices almost every minute of your life. Notwithstanding all the normal day-to-day ones, most of the time, its a choice between yourself and everything else.
On the rare day that I get a whole day without the kids and I am at home with all the luxury of time to do whatever I want, these choices bubble up to the surface faster than you can blink.
A whole day to yourself. You can rest. you can pamper yourself. you can do whatever your heart desires. And yet.
You walk into the kitchen to make yourself an adult breakfast that you for once, will not have to share, that you can eat while still fresh, that you won’t have to gobble down. One that you can eat in peace without getting up from the table a million times because your kid needs a tissue, or more water, or whatever else they always seem to be needing. You fix yourself breakfast. But you’re in the kitchen, you notice the fridge could use cleaning. The floor could use a good wash. The pantry could use some arranging. Counters can be wiped down. And was that smell coming from the microwave? Maybe a little scrubbing would clear that. You notice all these things because you have the time and space of mind to notice them, and now comes the choice part. Eat breakfast in peace, savouring each bite, or eat quickly because the kitchen needs some TLC?
Okay maybe just a quick wipedown and throwing out everything expired in the fridge. Yeah. That’s a good compromise, right? Good. now lets just relax and watch some Netflix! Great idea. You walk to the bathroom to freshen up and pass the laundry basket. It’s 3/4 full. Nope. Ignore it, you tell yourself. It’s Netflix time. but that small part of your brain says, just pop it in the wash, you can Netflix while it’s running! Okay fine.
But now you have to decide whether you are gonna fold that pile of laundry that’s been in the basket for 2 weeks, because when else are you gonna have the free time, the hands free from carrying babies or toys or everything else, the house free from toddlers running around and knocking your folded laundry pile into the ground because he’s pretending to be a roaring dinosaur
Quick lunch break and you’re feeling tired from all that decision making, but here comes another choice. You could take a nap you so desperately crave, but there are toys randomly wedged in between the couch. Bits of cereal left under the table from God knows when. The front cabinet is strewn with receipts and old bills and random bits of pocket fluff. The sheets haven’t been changed in a while – they are starting to get musty. What about that plan you had of sorting out the kids clothes that they outgrew? Or filtering your closet to sell/donate the clothes you rarely ever wear? And while you’re at it, all that baby equipment you’ve been keeping in storage which you said you wanted to photograph and put up on those preloved pages? What about everything on your home to-do list that you put on the back burner, parked in the sidelines, or just completely stuffed in the deepest part of your closet because you haven’t had the time and energy and freedom to properly give them attention?
Well you have time now, right?
But what about time for yourself? Time to recharge? To rest? To NOT think about the million and one things that need doing, because that list just keeps getting longer and longer.
Nap, or tidy up the house?
Read a book, or start dinner prep?
Write, or do something more productive?
Obviously these choice have to be made by everyone, all the time. But somehow, as a mom, the urgency is more and you have much more at stake (i.e, your sanity) Maybe some moms/wives manage to find time to do it all, but me? Not one of those superwomen. What do you do when both choices bring you satisfaction? Choose yourself, or choose everything else?