Does Life Get Easier for Moms?

tbq

I remember well the days of pandemonium with two small children and a busy career. I remember those older, wiser people around me patting my hand, “Don’t worry,” they’d say, “it will get easier, I promise.”

It’s only now that my children are in their teens that I realize it’s all a crock. Those same people ten years later tell me now not to worry—pat, pat—things will get easier once the children move out and go away to university. I’m quite sure that once they reach that stage of their lives, my older, wiser friends will then pat my hand once again, “wait until they settle down, then you can relax.”

It’s all a way to trick us moms into thinking that life will get easier, that our worries will subside once our children are grown adults. I believed that once, I think. During my early forties when I’d take mini breaks between play dates, planning birthday parties, taking the kids to swimming lessons, ballet, badminton, school functions, writing report cards, lesson planning, preparing dinner, cleaning the house… oh yes, and being a wife… to breathe, I actually believed that I’d become an expert. After all, they were my children (well, ours of course, my husband being an integral part of all this). But this post is about me, about being a mom, about being a wife, a teacher, a caregiver, a psychologist, a social worker, a chef (well, in my case, I tend to burn everything I cook). It was my career. It was my chaos—and I reveled in it. I loved the craziness. school_too_much_information_736405

Now I’m in my early fifties. I nearly choke as I write those words, mostly because I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean. I still haven’t grown up. I’m silly and immature in a truckload of ways, all the important ways I hope. I love to wrestle with my daughter and dance to One Direction. Yes, they’re cute. As my grandmother used to say, “I’m old dear, not blind.”

But my body aches in ways it never used to. Feels like each day brings a new ailment. I look in the mirror and hardly recognize myself. I see lines that never existed before. Those I don’t mind, but the sagging eyelids, please! Do you know what it’s like to put on eyeliner and have to stretch open your eyes, making sure not to blink until it dries, otherwise a streak of liner marks the lid making you look like an upside down gridiron American football player? I actually have to prop them up with my finger at times just to let the light in. Let’s not even mention the jowls developing. For the first time in my life, I can almost understand why someone would consider plastic surgery. Well, on second thought… What really amazes me for the first time in my life, is how I can exercise regularly and eat like a sparrow, yet not lose a single kilo. That’s just mean.
fit97

The idea of teenage hormones multiplying in a household mixed with a fifty-something woman’s changing hormones. Well, let’s just say it’s not pretty. With a body changing and feeling all about me, me, me, feeling one minute like you want to explode, weep, or laugh for no apparent reason, a failing memory where you can’t remember what you said not two minutes ago and repeat yourself making you sound a hundred years older than you are, struggling to stay awake in the late afternoon because of incessant recent insomnia, and your first real life definition of incontinence haunting you when you break into song or laughter or sneezing fit, it’s no wonder a woman feels like she’s going mad.

No, none of it’s pretty. Let me tell you, teenagers have it easy in comparison!

Still we have to keep it all together. We can’t crumble for our children’s sake, for our husband’s sake, for our own sake. Our older friends are still there patting our hands, assuring us that “this too, will pass”. Well, guess what? It doesn’t help to hear that. I want to scream when I hear that. But I don’t. I smile instead or crinkle my brow hoping they’ll notice my bewilderment, How could you forget so easily? It must be like giving birth. You remember the pain but you tuck it away in your past, in a soft cushioned nook somewhere in your memory where it can’t bite you anymore.

That’s life, I’ve come to realize. It’s not that people don’t care. It’s that people are tangled up in their own lives, dealing with these same issues, the best they can at perhaps a different time than you. All it takes is one phone call or email from a close friend telling you that their life is changed forever because tragedy has struck or because their child is lying in a hospital bed over Christmas. Perspective sets in fast.

All your aches and droopy eyelids and muffin tops and needless worrying over changes in your body, the ones that come with growing old gracefully, evaporate as they rightfully should when that phone rings.

We are mothers.

We are wives.

article-2115112-122b91d9000005dc-222_468x402

We are women who never stop thinking about the people we love and nurture even when we are struggling with something ourselves. But if all we have to worry about is the natural, everyday changes in our lives, and we still have a healthy, happy family, then we must let that soak in and appreciate how lucky we truly are.

I’m not convinced that things will ever get easy. We will always worry about our children, no matter how old they are. I am convinced though, that if we listen more, really listen to what our loved ones are experiencing then we’ll all be in a better place. Count our blessings. Take time to enjoy simply being together.

 

Photo source 1

Photo source 2

Photo source 3

Photo source 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Every Time, Times Twenty

1) Every time I sit down to write a blog post, I wonder what can I write that hasn’t already been written.

2) Every time I wake to a cold house, I feel like I’m living in Little House on the Prairie as I light a fire for warmth. (That’s a good thing.)

3) Every time my husband travels to the far corners of the world, I feel grateful that I miss him even more today than ever before. IMG_8392

4) Every time I doubt myself as a writer, I remind myself how fortunate I am to be published at all.

5) Every time the sun shines here in Sweden, I close my eyes and let it soak into my skin.

6) Every time my friend needs a shoulder, I realize how lucky I am to have my children safe at home and how I wish I could take her pain away for all time.

7) Every time I see my daughter dancing on stage, I cry.

8) Every time I start reading a new book, I rid myself of expectations.

9) Every time I fall in love with a book, I try with every fibre in me, to read it slowly and make it last. FullSizeRender.jpg kate morton

10) Every time I see a person sitting outside the shops with a cup and sign, I feel uncomfortable and angry and ashamed of myself all at once, when I walk right past.

11) Every time I look them in the eye and smile, it feels good.

12) Every time I step out of my comfort zone, I tell myself that if nothing else, this will be a great experience.

13) Every time my teenage children confide in me, I whisper to myself, “Don’t blow it, Susan, just keep quiet and listen.”

14) Every time I keep quiet and listen, I can feel their appreciation.

15) Every time my children tell me a grade from school, I try my hardest to react like my husband does—non-judgmental and proud.

16) Every time I have writer’s block, the frustration is so excruciating, I think I could go mad.

17) Every time I come across one of those melt in your mouth expressions or words, I feel like I’ve gone to writer’s heaven.

18) Every time I think of my sister, I wish she was close enough to drop by for a cup of tea.

19) Every time I see an overweight person jogging, I feel admiration and inspired.

20) Every time a moose visits our garden, nothing else matters. FullSizeRender.jpg moose

If you would like to share your twenty or even ten “times”, I’d enjoy hearing from you.

Get Outside, Go for a Walk, Play, Hangout, Do Something – but get off that smartphone!

Something has been nagging me for quite some time and as a mom it cannot be swept under the rug. In fact, it’s plaguing most moms these days and I would hazard a guess that the culprit lay heavily in those little machines that our children seem to worship – the almighty smartphone. It would be unfair of me to target only our children. We adults are quite addicted ourselves. I read a very good article yesterday on Today.com by Jen Hatmaker, What Would My Mom do? Like hers, my mom would tell me to go outside and play. Now that my own children are apparently too old to “play”, and apparently “hang out” now with friends, I find they are actually “hanging out” via FaceTime and Skype. Unbelievable! Go outside, meet people! This morning, I went for a walk in the neigbourhood, through the forest and over to the paddocks where horses usually graze. Didn’t see any today. The sun was shining, two deer pranced away when they saw me approaching, no children, no smartphones but plenty of birds skittering after each other. It was heavenly. I thought if only my children would get out of bed and enjoy such an early morning walk. If they had, they could have met the interesting character I did this morning. No smartphone can imitate those surroundings, the sounds, the fresh spring air finally seeping into the west coast, and the chance meeting at the fork of two country roads. Interesting indeed! This man looked like something taken straight out of a Tolkien book – a forest-like hermit really. I wasn’t sure whether to run in the opposite direction, but clearly we were both only out to enjoy the gorgeous weather. This man had a no-nonsense dog with him that I could hear panting behind me until he caught up, sniffing my leg curiously. Not the man but the dog! His name was Rambo. Yes! I repeat, Rambo (the dog not the man). Quite unlike Swedes, who generally don’t look at passers-by, this older man was cheery. I’m quite sure the sun put a spring in his step. We began chatting and within two sentences, he said to me that he detected an English dialect. Here we go again, I thought to myself. I replied, “You could hear that directly?” (in Swedish of course) “Ja,” as though I should be surprised. I like to kid myself into believing that if I speak Swedish quickly enough, I will fool the locals with my very natural Göteborgs dialect. Somehow I always fail miserably. Needless-to-say, he was very curious and asked me all sorts of questions about Canada. He had heard that Canada’s landscape was similar to Sweden’s. Yes, that’s true. He even had some relatives living there – in Ontario was all he could remember. Then it was time to part ways when I asked about Rambo. He asked me if I knew where the name Rambo came from. I looked at the beast, no longer wondering if he’d take one of my limbs away with him, and said that of course I knew the film. He proceeded to tell me that the name Rambo comes from the Swedish immigrant Peter Gunnarsson Rambo, who brought apple seeds to the United States in 1637. It’s possible that the Rambo seeds are responsible for the first truly American apples. Now, if I hadn’t gone for that walk this morning, I may never have learned that bit of trivia. So, get off your smartphones kids, get outside and go for a walk. You never know what you’ll see or who you’ll meet, and you will never, ever regret walking away with all limbs in tact!