There are a lot of hyphens in this post. Brace yourselves.
I have a bit of a problem with clutter. I’m not a hoarder, and no one is calling the health inspector, but I have a lot of might-be-useful-I-plan-to-do-SOMETHING- with-that stuff. Given that on any different day I might be my writer-self, my Mombie-self, my Chair-of-the-Association-for-the-Arts-self, my book-keeping-self, my director-self, etc, I have a lot of different equipment for a lot of different roles. A lot of this stuff has to stay because I really will need it – the ‘if you haven’t used it in six months…’ rule doesn’t work for me at all.
And I am comfortable with having a lot of gear around, most of the time. In fact, if I had some more shelves (which I will soon – thanks to my BIL SuperDan) I wouldn’t even notice most of it.
The stuff that gives me trouble, the heart-jerking, brain-bending stuff, is the gear for the person I meant to be at different times in my life. The person who would put photos into albums, the person whose books were organized, the person who wrote in different journals for different topics, and, -this one is the hardest – the superactive, totally engaged mom who was doing regular enriching activities.
I can live with not having turned into most of the people on that list, but that last one just kills me. Now, I know your knee-jerk reaction is to say ‘Nooooo, you’re a good mom! Think of the things you do, not the things you don’t.’ And that is true, I am a good mom. I’m an excellent listener, I help them sort emotions like I was born doing it, I help them keep perspective, I teach them to be optimistic, and I can be pretty fun.
What I don’t manage is consistent activity, and that drives me batty. * We have all manner of cool things, games, activities, and plans that I picture us doing, but then I will hit a bad day, or they will, or the effort to get it set up is so great that I run out of energy for the activity itself. Then they end up playing video games too long, or they watch tv, and I spiral into a combination of irritation and frustration at myself.
The point of this is that we have more toys and games and activities that we will ever use, because the mother I meant to be all along had great plans for them. Take, for example, the Easy Bake Oven I mention in the title.
My sister came over today to help me get rid of some stuff in my kitchen (Do plastic containers replicate? It’s the only explanation), and she asked about the Easy Bake Oven in my cupboard. Santa brought it when The Boy was 3 or 4, and I had visions of he and I using it when TLG was asleep. I can remember using my Easy Bake type oven when I was a kid and it was sooooo cool, and I thought I would give him the same memories.
I think we used it once. TLG was a lousy napper, making the little recipes was annoying, and, overall, it just seemed easier to bake something in the real oven.** But I’ve kept that Easy Bake in my cupboard for at least 6 years now*** because I intended to turn into that patient mom who will give her sons that experience.
The Easy Bake Oven has been plaguing me all day. It’s on the landing waiting to be donated somewhere, and thoughts of different cool ways to use it have been popping into my head, and I’ve been thinking of how fun TLG would find it.
The reality is, of course, that the two of them would argue over who got to do what part, the cake would be too small, and we’d probably all end up annoyed.
What I’m hoping is that when I ditch the Easy Bake, it will open the door to me being able to ditch all sorts of mothers I might have been, and give me the space to be the mother I could be. Perhaps when there are fewer ‘might-have-beens’ in the way, it will be easier to just be.
I’m also hoping that 30 days of writing and yoga practice can teach me a lot about easing past the rough spots in setting up routines and being consistent in other areas of my life too. I’ll let you know how it goes.
*But to be fair to myself, I have trouble with that for myself on all levels, and that’s part of what I am working on this month.
**Which we do on a semi-regular basis. One point for me!
***When I write 6 years, I have to say, it really seems like a no-brainer to ditch it.