Growing up, I knew when I reached adulthood, I wanted nothing more than to have my own family. I wanted to have that average 2.5 children with my husband and to own a dog and to live in a beautiful house with a white picket fence and sip coffee or tea on our covered wrap-around porch. Uh-huh. In reality, though, I really wanted four children. Really did. I didn’t have a preference on the boy to girl ratio. Wade had wanted as many as I could and would give him. Something close to a baseball team would have fit him fine. Wade and I got married and, after a year, we began trying to start that family we both wanted. I got pregnant, but miscarried in the second trimester. We tried again for three years before having our oldest son, Ben. I lost a baby between Ben and our youngest son, Franklin. Then after Franklin, I had three more miscarriages. In the years of waiting and trying for our first child, though, I remember thinking that maybe my priorities needed adjusted or that I wasn’t focused on the proper things and that is why I lost the first baby and couldn’t seem to get a shot at a second. I remember talking to my doctor through tears of frustration and saying that maybe we needed to own our own home and have no more car payments and have all our “ducks in a row” before we would be ready to have a baby. He wisely told me that if you wait until your life is “just right” you’ll never have kids. He was right. We relaxed a little. We stopped trying so hard. Not long after that conversation with my doctor, my sister gave birth to her son and I remember thinking that I would be okay if I only got to be an aunt. Eight months later, Ben was born almost five weeks early. But that idea of having all my ducks in a row stuck with me.
Entering motherhood, I tried to have all things lined up and planned out just as I would if I were starting any new job. I had read the “manuals” (some pregnancy and childbirth and child rearing books) and had researched what pacifiers and formulas and baby foods were the best options. Wade and I started attending church again with more fervor than before; after all, God was entrusting a tiny soul to us and we recognized we were in need of some strong, Divine guidance. But, I quickly realized that no matter how hard I tried, my ducks were entities of their own and never fully complied the way I thought they should in my mind. What ducks are we talking about? Oh, there are so many! Finances, relationships of every sort, family, friends, pets, homes, cars, and our physical, mental and spiritual health. Then there are the small tasks that reverberate throughout the day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Feeding and watering the children. And the husband. Laundry, dishes, paying bills, incorporating play time, incorporating social time with other children, reading, church life, social life, work, and on and on. It always seemed as though I was failing at one, or many, of these things at any given time. Parties and playdates needed planned. And they never went according to Hoyle. Never. There were always more people showing up than you had anticipated, or something that went drastically wrong during each event. I would see these other mothers with their clean-clothes-wearing toddlers, with their neatly combed hair, and not a stain on the mother’s clothes anywhere to be found. There were days when I thought as long as I didn’t end up wearing the same tank top under my clothes that I had slept in the night before, I was winning. I never felt that I gave our oldest child the time and attention he needed. And then we added in a second baby! What were we thinking? At one point, I KNOW I was thinking that I would have never survived four kids!
Then something else happens, these kids start growing and becoming more independent. Some of the ducks that you had tried to keep congregated in the pond go away on their own and never return. But, there are a ton of other ducks that come in and take their place. And guess what? These new ducks are more feisty and attention-grabbing than the earlier ducks you once cursed at. These ducks come in the form of homework, and best friends, and other friends and health-conscious snacks, and the right amounts of activity, and the APPROPRIATE activities for that child. And you know what? We manage. We are able to help our preschooler cut all the pictures out of the magazine that start with the letter “P” and get them glued to his sheet of notebook paper to turn in on Friday. And we get his snacks for his class prepared and remember to send those snacks with our child on his day. And we read to them for 20 minutes (which was always way more in my house) every day as required for preschool class. We help with ALL the things.
Then, in another stage of growing up, they move on to other things and we are left with those same ducks and now add to them even more. Enter cell phones and computers and internet usage, video games, and more competitive sports or activities. Oh, and “romantic relationships” . . . AKA in our house: girls. Let’s not forget that. Goodness, how could we EVER forget that. And with all those added things comes talk about good sportsmanship, and sex and sexting, and too much gaming time, and not enough personal development time. And they ask hard questions. Really hard questions. And sometimes, through no fault of anyone in particular, those ducks get neglected. Sometimes, you put off the laundry or the dishes or something because there is another, more pressing duck that is quacking. And then, one of the children will ask if you happened to wash this or that as it’s needed for the next day. And from there, it’s right back to those other ducks . . .
Then there are OTHER peoples’ ducks. We don’t have control over them. We shouldn’t want control over them. And at some point, we have to realize that not all the problems in the world are OUR problems. Now, that’s not to say they don’t affect us. And definitely not to say that if it’s a problem that belongs to someone we love and they need us, we won’t temporarily adopt a duck. I have used a phrase for a long time, though, that fits this narrative . . . “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” Truer words were never spoken.
And then, my friends, we have OUR ducks. We are so busy worrying about everyone else’s ducks that we don’t feed and water and correct our own ducks. That is a HUGE part of motherhood and a big part of just being a good wife, employee, friend, family member and citizen of planet earth. Everything gets tended to except us. We are exhausted and worn out. Mentally and physically. Emotionally and spiritually. WORN THE HECK OUT. When we accept our role as mother, we put aside so many things that we want and may even need. We don’t tend to us very well, do we? I spend a great deal of time telling myself that as long as my family is taken care of, nothing else matters. I am here to tell you, that’s wrong. We matter just as much. And finding ways to take care of the ducks in our life is mighty important. It has been said that we can’t pour from an empty cup. Spot on! We need to find out how to fill ourselves so we can better take care of those around us. Our health is important. Our well-being is important.
I feel like I split my time pretty evenly between three places on the scale of proper duck management. Sometimes, I appropriately acknowledge my ducks and try very hard to get them in their proverbial row. Other times, I try too hard to adopt other people’s ducks as my own and solve for “X”. And then there are times I say, outloud, “Ducks? What ducks? I didn’t even know I HAD any ducks!” For me, finding the proper balance between all these places is the key. If anyone reading this has mastered it, please sit me down and talk to me and show me how it’s done. If you are willing to adopt one of my ducks, know that I am always willing to learn.
#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou