Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Defining moms as ordinary.


What do you think about when you hear the word ordinary. Do words such as----usual, normal, standard, routine, expected and common come to mind? If you look up the definition of ordinary, it will tell you just that; exactly what you would expect to read.  
"With no special or distinct features; Normal."  
I hear this word a lot when referred to mothers. I hear people talk about motherhood like it's just an ordinary thing and that what mothers do is what is expected, typical, and pretty darn normal. I've read quite a few articles on women just "settling" for ordinary by having a family. As if they are some sort of disappointment to the world because they decided to just be a standard woman in our society and not use their skills and talents to "make a difference." In fact, others may even look down on women who even choose to leave a career, successful or not, to now work toward a different sort of career, one that never ends, and one that may not provide any sort of monetary gain. Certainly, no medal or award of achievement either.

As I read the definition of ordinary, I looked down at my typing hands and noticed my nails. I noticed my cracked, orange stained {thank you clementines} nails. They were chipping. They were brittle. And they haven't seen sight of a manicure in over 3 years. Certainly I cannot complain that I haven't had the time as we all make time for things that are important to us. Unfortunately, getting my nails done has not been one of them. I've never been much into manicures anyway. Call me strange.

I look down at my clothes that showed signs of a typical day in our house; A little ketchup on the right arm of my shirt from when my three year old must have grabbed hold of me as I was helping her down from her chair after lunch. Some dark brown stains on my right pant leg from when I looked up to find my one year old standing on the table ready to take the leap of faith to the ground and I had to nearly throw my cup of coffee {that I finally had the chance to drink} in order to catch him from falling.

Man, you're right. I look pretty darn ordinary here. In fact, I'd go as far as to say... I'm a hot mess.

I thought a little longer about this word. It's resonating a lot with me today, and I really want to make sense of it all. And so I thought about what we had done so far today.

We woke up. We brushed our teeth, we got ready, and we had breakfast. I made a couple beds and threw a couple loads of laundry into the washer. They also made it in the dryer, but please don't ask me if they've been folded---the answer is no. We did our flashcards, we learned about our animals, we did our shapes, and colors, and ran around in between. I tried to sneak away to wash a few dishes, but these days the baby always notices when I leave the room and in no time I feel someone grabbing hold of my leg---and holding on for dear life.

I think I ate a meal myself, but I couldn't tell you for certain---most likely it was leftovers from what the kids didn't eat. I know that I changed a couple diapers. I nursed a baby. And I played pilot in the helicopter game in which both kids happened to want to go at the same time. Before you know it, it was lunch time and we did the routine all over again. Prepare. Set up. Clean up. And wash.

I can also tell you how the rest of my evening will go. The kids will wake up from their nap soon, we'll probably go on a walk, make a little dinner, and wait for our beloved papa to come home so that we can eat a meal as a family and then start the preparation for bedtime. No rocket science there either--- Bath. Books. Pajamas. And bedtime kisses.

Close your eyes, and wake up to a new day.

Sure, not every day is the same. We try to mix up our meals, mix up our learning, and certainly mix up what we do throughout the day. Come warm weather time {please hurry}, our days will be filled with new, fun, and exciting activities. Exciting for us that is.

But the general idea behind motherhood? Of what moms do all day? Yup, pretty much the same.

Every mom out there does the same thing. We feed. We clean. We nurture, love, hug, kiss, and hold. We get upset and frustrated. We may cry from time to time. We may even complain about a certain stage, age, or day altogether. We all sound the same. We may look the same---pushing a stroller, carrying a baby, and holding our toddler's hand as we walk in to Target for our adventure of the day. And we live, what appears to be, the same life.

If, you look at it that way.... then yes, being a mom is pretty darn ordinary.

However, I want to tell you how it's not ordinary. You see, I truly don't believe anything about motherhood is normal. I think that it far exceeds any kind of normal that I ever knew prior to having children, and I'll tell you why.

Ordinary to me means being able to leave the house as soon as someone says.. "lets go." There's no thinking about what you need to take with you. There's no thinking about whether everyone is dressed appropriately. There's no thinking about time and making sure that you start the process thirty minutes before you actually need to leave. There's no thinking involved at all. Because it's normal to just go.

Ordinary to me means having the option to sleep---however long you wish. It means that you have no obligation to wake up when your newborn wakes up for the 5th time that night. It means that you have no worries of when your toddler may wake up screaming because of a night terror and you have to calmly talk them through it, no matter how much you'd rather stay in your warm bed. It means that you don't have to work all day on just a couple of hours of sleep---only to turn around and do it all over again. There's absolutely nothing ordinary about sleepless nights.

Ordinary to me means that you can walk into the store, pay, and walk out.  It's that easy. There is no getting kids out of car seats. There's no taking coats on and off every time you get into the car. There's no bribing, no whining, and certainly no screeching screams heard which instantly have all eyes turned on you. And might I add there is absolutely nothing ordinary about finding a book on how to get a man when you are unpacking your groceries. Nothing ordinary about that at all.

There's nothing ordinary about growing a human being inside of you.
There's nothing ordinary about your newborn needing you to thrive, to grow, and to develop.
There's nothing ordinary about all those wonderful firsts that you get to experience with your children.
There's nothing ordinary about your child wrapping their arms around you and saying "I love you mama." Completely out of nowhere.
There's nothing ordinary about seeing bits and pieces of yourself in your children. From the way they look to they way they talk. 
There's nothing ordinary about watching your children apply the things that you taught them, to help others, to be kind, caring, and giving.
There's nothing ordinary about having this fear of not doing things right, of losing something you love so much, of failing as a parent.
There's nothing ordinary about the pride and joy that you feel about your child's accomplishments.
There's nothing ordinary about having a title that never goes away.

I can go on. But I sit here and wonder why? Why try to describe something that is impossible to understand unless you've gone through it. I cannot describe to you how absolutely not ordinary motherhood really is. How not normal it really is. How it's far greater, far better, far more rewarding, and definitely far more challenging than anything else I have ever done or would have done with my life. 

Sure, on the outside looking in, it appears that all moms do the same old thing each and every day--- they clean, feed, entertain, and repeat. The ordinary.  But what about the in between. How about all the struggles, all the sacrifices, and all the challenges that they have faced and continue to face. How have we reached a time in our lives where we look at mothers as just that---normal. That what they do is what is expected, standard, and routine. And worst of all, that they have lowered themselves to be just ordinary in this world.

There's nothing ordinary about wanting to raise children that will change the world. Wanting to raise children that will bring more hope and happiness into a world that is full of hate and sadness.

We live in that world now. As mothers, we want a better future for our children. And that better future starts at home.

It starts with the ordinary---clean, feed, and love.

And leads to the extraordinary--- the person that pulled over during a car accident and did CPR on your sister; the neighbor that made that anonymous donation that helped you pay for your electricity and running water that moth; the doctor that discovered the medicine that was needed to cure your son; the stranger that opened the door for you and told you that you were doing a great job---right when you needed to hear it the most; the teacher that took the time to see that you were struggling and teach you in a way that you would understand; the preacher who's powerful words helped to save your marriage; the patient that held your hand and reminded you that tomorrow is not guaranteed; and the many other people in your life that made you wonder where they came from and why your paths crossed.

So, Ordinary.

Standard. Normal. Usual. Common. Everyday. Regular. Yes, moms do things that are day-to-day and normal. But so do doctors. And so do teachers. And so do engineers. And so does every other human out there---They wake up. They eat. They clean. They go to work. And they repeat. If you look at it that way, then we are all just ordinary human beings.

But, if being a mom makes me "ordinary," then ordinary I am and accept with open arms.

Because, to be honest with you---I'd take ordinary over anything else any day of the week.

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  1. This was so beautiful and touching! Motherhood is far from ordinary!! I loved your view and regardless of whether a mom is at home or working she is extraordinary!!

  2. Wow, that is a remarkable post. I'm not a mother and it still touched me in such a beautiful way. Since I became an adult, I've thanked my mom a million times, because she is extraordinary and it's much easier to see now!

  3. Amazing...you are such a talented writer ...always make so much sense and great perspective

  4. This is my first time i visit here and I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially it's discussion, thank you.The real marriage killer


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