Enjoy the Ride (or Stop Gritting Your Teeth Until It's Over)
Several years ago a car company (Nissan?) started using the phrase, "Enjoy the Ride," with their marketing campaign. You know...don't just get in your car and speed off to your destination with your foot on the pedal and hand on the horn. Sit back and enjoy the journey there. Great sentiment. One I totally disregard as I'm pinning kids down in their carseats in the morning and racing (in a totally non-illegal manner) to school at 7:42 a.m. However, still nice.
Anyway, this slogan came to me last year as I had one of those God-revelations through a Bible study we were doing in our ladies group (that Beth Moore gets me every time). And this time, I attached that thought on my role as mother.
Okay, confession time. I have always liked kids. After all, they are cute, little version of people. They say funny things. I was an established babysitter at age 13. However, I did enjoy collecting my money at the end of the night and leaving those "angels" at home with their parents. And, yes, I did graduate to a time that I stopped babysitting because I had a real job and didn't need the money (read extra aggravation and responsibility).
When I pictured myself as a "grown up," it was always married with a couple of kids...probably two. After all, I was one of two. However, when I married Rylie, I was intrigued by the idea of having yet another sibling (even more fun and more nieces and nephews!) So, I expanded my mind to having three kids. After I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant with #4, well, I graduated to Earth Momma status in my mind. I'm no Mrs. Duggar with her 19 kids, I know. But, I'm a long way from 2.1 kids too. I started to feel the pressure to make my own laundry detergent and speak in a constant hushed whisper...you know the one that those mothers can do who have "always wanted to be a mother" and seem to always be serene and unflustered by flying toys and bad behavior in public. You are blinded by the glint off of their halo and the sparkling diamond ring on their folded hands.
But I found that impossible and frustrating. Number #1, I'm not the whispering kind. Number #2, I've figured out that I'm a "why reinvent the wheel if it works" kind of person. Buying the dye-free, fragrance-free, "green" laundry detergent at Costco works for me. And I realized that I wasn't very happy throughout my day. It was more of a "grit my teeth and bear it" type of attitude. Like...wake me when it's 2 years from now and I have my body to myself, diapers are a thing of the past, and sleep and I are good friends again.
But, that's no way to live in the day to day, I found. Yes, it's tough waking up early to get dressed and the kids up and dressed and make breakfast and brush hair and take 4 kids to school at 7:45 to drop off two and come home with two and then start on laundry for six, dishes dirtied by six -- punctuated by the needs of a non-weaned-crawling-into-everything-9-month-old and starting-to-be-defiant-2-year-old. And then adding back in the opinionated-4-year-old and then later, the I-need-a-snack-NOW-7-year-old. But, this is where I am. This is where God has placed me.
We all know that time goes so quickly. I would hate to miss the little moments of joy that parenthasee (my word) all of those caretaker and household duties. I would ramrod right over my older son taking the time to crawl around on the floor with his delighted brother. I would shush my younger daughter's attempt to tell me that she wants to snuggle me because I'm tired of her constant grievances against said brothers.
It's not easy. I still find my fists clenched often by my side when I hear the tell-tale thud, followed by yowl of injustice and stampeding feet my direction ready to tattle. But I don't wish as much for "Calgon to take me away". Maybe it's because I don't expect as much anymore. I have pared down our schedule to the basics. If I don't get all the laundry done in a day, I try again the next one. If I get too overwhelmed, I call in the reinforcements. Don't get me wrong, I don't have it all figured out.
But I feel that sensation...you know...contentment. The "it's all going to be alright" feeling. Maybe not now, but eventually and probably soon.
Enjoy the Ride. So, I may not enjoy the carsickness, or the flat tires, but I can sit back and enjoy the scenery, the music that's playing and not fast-forward in my mind to the final destination.