Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tales from the Vault: It's Ok

Tales from the Vault is a feature where I bring back some of my favourite posts from the archived blog. All text from the original posts has been left completely unedited; however, where I think context is required it's been added.



Today is remembrance day, and while reflecting on all the sacrifices our Canadian military has made to keep us safe and free, I am doing my own kind of remembering. This blog post was shared 5 years ago today, on November 11, 2010. I had infant twins who were thick in the throes of therapy already, not to mention their endless appointments care of their prematurity. I was a stay at home mom, newly finished mat leave, trying to work out that this was my new reality. To say I was looking for ways to feel "ok" with life was a pretty big understatement. I love how I captured it here. Seems so simple now.


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Moments when I tell myself "It's ok" rarely happen. I am not good at cutting myself any slack or giving myself the benefit of the doubt. I have a Type A personality and am a perfectionist. If I can't do something right, I don't like to do it at all. All of these things have probably contributed to my successes with my family, my education and my career, but they haven't done me any favours in the self acceptance department.

Now that I am a stay at home mom, nothing is ever good enough. I have fantasies of what my life should look like and I'm having troubles reconciling those fantasies with reality. I should do more crafts with my daughter. I should do more physio with my infant twins. We should all exercise more. I should have a cleaner house. I should stop cleaning my house so much and spend more time with my kids. I should cook more. I should rely on my husband less. And so on and so forth, the list is endless. 

The other night I was alone with the kids while my husband was at work. I was frantically trying to prepare dinner for all three of them when my daughter piped up and said we should have a picnic dinner. I calmly told her that it was too cold and dark outside to have a picnic, and went back to making dinner, only half paying attention to her. "No mommy, a picnic dinner inside. In the living room". I sighed, looked at the clock to see the minutes quickly ticking away, and realized that my dinner was falling apart. And then, just as I was about to tell her no, I thought "Why not? What could it hurt?" 

This burst of spontaneity was so out of character for me. I couldn't believe the words had come out of my own mouth so I moved quickly before I could talk myself out of it. I fed her exhausted brothers and put them to bed - one less distraction. I took our picnic blanket and laid it out on the living room floor. Then, although it was easier to just carry the items in to the living room a few at a time, I decided to use our picnic tray and load everything up, just as I would if we were going to the backyard. 

Our living room picnic dinner was set and my daughter's eyes lit up with excitement. We sat on the floor, exactly where she had instructed us each to sit, eating side by side. The boys were asleep and no chores needed to be immediately attended to so I could focus only on her. For the life of me could not remember when I had last been able to do that. She started rolling around on the floor with food in her mouth so I told her to stop. She looked at me with a sheepish grin and I started to laugh, letting her go. We were having a picnic after all, what was the harm in letting her roll around?

After dinner I was in no hurry to clean up. We sat on the floor for almost two hours playing games and doing puzzles before finally I had to cut the party short and get her ready for bed. I think I was sadder than she was that it was over. 

As I was putting her to sleep we talked about our favourite part of the day, as we do every night. On some nights I am really grasping because it seems like we haven't done anything fun. One time I told her my favourite part of the day was when she helped me fold laundry. How pathetic is that? But tonight, I couldn't come up with just one, I had many to choose from - our picnic, our walk home from preschool, baking muffins. It was a good day, a really good day. I may not be a perfect mom, but today my daughter thought I was a pretty great one.

For once, if only for a fleeting moment, I thought "It's ok".

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