In Response to “How Do You Measure Your Life?”

It’s late and I should be in bed. The dishwasher is humming and there is still a faint smell of lemon lingering throughout the kitchen from cleaning the sinks and countertops. I wasn’t planning on posting anything tonight actually but then a blog I was reading really cut to the bone. Her question was: How Do You Measure Your Life? (A Romp Through Mommyhood)

It’s been a normal week. I worked on two big projects – selling advertising and designing a gymnastics meet program for my second grader’s gym (let’s just call her The Hare. She could seriously give the Energizer Bunny a run for his money!) and coordinating multiple sites for a non-profit international girls organization that works with the local schools teaching leadership skills and train young girls (grades 3-8) for a 5k event. Aside from that, I’ve taken care of the normal household needs like grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, changing sheets and towels. I even made time to help out some friends and managed to not totally lose my mind while my husband was away on business most of this week. By 4pm Friday, I had pretty much measured my life by all that I achieved this week, and I was still smiling…and hadn’t even opened a bottle of wine yet. However, The Hare had a friend over after school. She stayed through dinner and into the evening to watch a movie. I had just finished picking up empty chocolate pudding containers and refilling water bottles when The Friend said, “You know, my mom has twice as many kids and twice as many pets as you do…so I guess that means she works twice as hard as you. huh? ” I just smiled politely and continued to pick up blankets off the floor and put toys back in the box until The Hare decided to add her two cents, “And her mom even has a REAL job!” Choke, choke, swallow…time to open the whine wine.

I miss measuring my life the way momromp measures her days – by milestones and accomplishments of her child. I miss being able to look at that tiny amazing creature asleep on my chest, belly full, fingers still wrapped around my breast and know that I was a part of creating that peace in her life. True contentment. I miss witnessing huge milestones in my children’s lives – changes that seemed to reveal themselves almost hourly. The changes now are hidden and quiet. Most of the time I feel like I am the reason they are so discontent and everything but peaceful. Especially the 6th grader (We’ll just call her The Tortoise. She only has two speeds – slow and slower.) And apparently it was revealed to me today that The Hare thinks I don’t measure up to her friend’s mom at all. Strangely this week I’ve had many moments with acquaintances and even a friend suggesting that my life is successful because of all of my husband’s hard work and effort. That some how his paycheck is the only measure of my success. I also miss being in school – grades, projects, big oboe solos – they were all great measures. Tangible, tactful ways to say “hey – look what I accomplished!” Sometimes I feel like I need to make a current resume, post it on our kitchen bulletin board, and remind myself of all the ways I matter to this family, to this community, and to myself. It gets harder and harder to know just how to measure your life the older your children get…which I guess by default means it gets harder to measure your life the older WE get. That is when we have to quit looking at the daily accomplishments, but look at our life as a whole.

Ahhhh – and there it is, just as I am finishing this tired tantrum, The Hare’s little voice has floated down the stairs. She has been asleep for at least an hour now. “Mommy…mommy…I need you.”

I’ll measure today by that.

4 thoughts on “In Response to “How Do You Measure Your Life?”

  1. How we measure up….it’s so natural for me to fall into that rut with my children, next to their peers or even sadly to me and who I was at their age. Fortunately, my measurement is far below them! They are wonderful (maybe not star athletes) but smart and kind and generous. (That’s not saying that I don’t have problems at home, we all know that’s not true!) But that’s how I measure me now. That’s why I do what I do. So that I can pass on the love I have for making this world a better place for them, to them.

    They were the mirror that I needed to see who I was. And at the time…it was SCARY!! As they grow I know that my measure will change and I won’t be able to use them the same way. But…it prepared me to be the mother, wife, citizen, advocate, etc…. that I will need to be in the future. I am grateful for that look in the mirror no matter how scary it was.

  2. FABULOUS post! I’m so glad you read my blog and commented because now I’m able to read your stuff and I’m already a fan.

    People do that stuff to me all the time…the “it must be nice to have such an easy life because your husband works so hard” nonsense. My mom-in-law (who is not really my favorite person…I would write about her on my blog but that would cause too much family turmoil) has reminded me who is paying for my old school loans, etc. (answer: my husband, of course!).

    People assume that if you don’t have a “real” job that you’re a “stay-in-bed mom” (a favorite phrase of mine, used in the show, Arrested Development). Um….not quite.

    1. I am very new to blogging, obviously, and ironically the first blog I started reading was yours because it was the day you were listed on the wordpress home page! What are the odds – thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my last entry. My heart goes out to you..we’ll have to exchange some “mom” stories sometime. : )

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