December 3, 2009

Yes. This is really my dining room table (well, it WAS my dining room table!).

Today I spoke with two different friends dealing with a similar problem. One friend is full time mom to two kids under 5, the owner of a budding art venture and a part time student. The other friend is full time mom to two kiddos under 3, serves actively in her community and plays a big role in her husband's career by skillfully playing hostess and diplomat. Each feels overwhelmed by housework, a busy schedule and a baby who won't stop crying - nevermind the older kid who needs attention.

Boy, do I relate to how they feel! This week, I woke to a house that seemed to have been hit by a tornado - in every room. What happened? Two days ago, it looked great. I attacked the piles as quickly as I could but was stopped short by - a baby who wouldn't stop crying unless I held her. She's teething and in pain. I lay down with her to help her nap and just as I put her in the playpen to sleep, my three year old woke her - completely - for the second day in a row! Grrrrrr... I'm not sure I should describe the emotion I felt at that moment. My verbal response to her was not admirable.

It's real life to have an unending list of things to do when you're a mom. Most of us expect it and tackle it with gusto. But, even the most patient of mothers feels her edges unraveling if her baby wails, or whines, or screams all day. That last sentence is merely theoretical of course, because I am NOT the most patient of mothers. So, I can't actually speak to that definitively.

But what's the answer for normal moms like my friends and me? Let the baby cry and continue to work or pick her up to give her the message I trust her internal sense of what she needs? While I chose number two today, the third option is the one my friend chose when the crying threatened to send her over the edge. Put the baby in the crib and take a few moments to calm down. A wise choice made by a wise woman.

Breaks, no matter how small, give us not only the strength we need to finish the task, they also allow us to connect with that inner wisdom so necessary to our being the mothers, wives, friends, sisters - WOMEN - we need and want to be. They also allow us to come back ready and able to deal with the grumpy baby and the never-ending list.

This is, of course, the promised reminder...especially as the holidays approach - to Take a Break. Don’t wait for the schedule to ease – it won’t. Be the best version of you today for yourself and for your family. Take the time to be quiet, be alone (or with friends), to laugh, to write, to scrapbook, to do whatever you enjoy that will refresh you and make life worth living now, TODAY. I promise to take one too.

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