“I don’t want to be a mother” she announces quite decisively while standing in the doorway of the laundry room. Yes, she nods to 9 year old self, she seems quite certain.
“Why” I ask, as I shove dirty undies, stinky socks and crusty jeans into the washing machine.
“Because I don’t want to do all those horrible jobs you have to do everyday.”
Yes, she does have a point I admit. Let’s see, there are the obvious horrible jobs, such as cleaning mold from showers, taxiing kids from once side of town to the other, scrubbing unidentifiable patches you hope are mud from the family room carpet.
But let’s not forget the lesser known jobs, such as chasing the runaway toddler through a parking lot leaving your full shopping cart to ram into a passing car. Or trying to fake like you have a clue regarding your 8th graders geometry question. And then there are all the times when you have to eventually say “no” after a million “maybes” just won’t cut it anymore. Or the agonizing wait for that scary temperature to come back down as your child lies limp in your lap. And then there’s the job of having to choose whether or not to run a forgotten homework folder to school -Yes, as any mother will agree, there are plenty of horrible jobs.
So my mind turns to how I must respond to my daughter in this moment Ahhhh, I think to myself, how on earth do I play this one out? I could go in various directions, my mind begins to spin as I feel the weight of my response –this being the crucial life altering conversation it surely is! A loaded answer could mean the difference between me bouncing a grandchild on my knee or having to save another rescue dog.
So I consider my following options:
Option 1. “Oh darling it’s a true pleasure looking after my family! I love being a mother and taking care of each and every one of your needs. I live to serve you.”
Option 2. “Yes, I hate it! Every part of my being wants to scream in rebellion and run to the hills.”
Option 3. “Well maybe your kids will actually clean up after themselves once-in-a-while”
But upon further consideration I decide to choose a fourth option that went something like this:
“Yep, there sure is some horrible stuff in my day – no denying it” Deep breath.
“And yes, I could certainly do with a lot less of it.’
“But after careful consideration I would have to say that when I do eventually clamber my way to the top of it all, the view ‘aint bad!”
She shrugs disbelievingly, eyes her brother’s boxers in my hand, and mumbles something about how the view had better be amazing! I stop what I’m doing and look at my free spirited daughter. In that moment I feel rather happy that I have truthfully navigated my way toward such a beautiful view.