Have you ever heard the term, “live in the tension?” It’s the idea that you sit in the middle of two different thoughts, worlds or realities. And they are both true. Even though they are different, even opposite.
I was laying in bed last night thinking about Mother’s Day. Or really just motherhood in general. And that phrase kept popping up over and over in my mind. It got me thinking about how much of being a mom (or dad) is about that tension. The being stuck between two different truths. Being pushed and pulled between the two. Somedays living farther on one side, while others resting comfortably the other way. Even still, some days, many even, feeling so strong about both sides…at the same time. See? The tension?
For instance, I cannot count how many different “phases” my boys have been in, that I have longed to be over. Desperate to be past. Yet, the other side is the weird clinging to them that we do. Mourning those phases as they pass. It’s such a push and pull, right?
I live in the tension of missing my freedom (and ability to pee alone). The freedom to craft my days and schedule my plans, without thought to these little people. Little people who 100% rely on me to choose them over my freedom. Yet to imagine choosing my “freedom” over them is baffling. To give up what I have gained seems certifiable. But I still miss it. Desperately, ugly cry kind of miss it some days.
Living in the tension of seeing how other moms around me deserve so much grace. How they need to be told that there are no perfect moms, but a million ways to be a good one. And yet, never being willing to extend the same gift to myself.
Living in the tension of thinking of nothing else, but when I can “get away”. Or have a break. Then feeling guilty for being gone too long. Did I damage them? Do I give them enough of me? Not talking about separation anxiety for me personally. Never struggled with leaving them ha! But often have the fear that my need for time away might be wounding them.
Living in the tension of seeing the value and believing I’m “supposed” to stay home with them, but feeling the pull to work or be out of the house. They are both true. I believe and feel both.
Living in the tension of moderation is another one. This list is massive. Screen time so I don’t lose my mind against the fear of excessiveness. Healthy eating and the times when people just need calories. Any calories will do.
The tension. It’s endless.
I feel it with this little holiday. Mother’s Day. I made the mistake once upon a time telling Bret that I didn’t care if he celebrated it. Or me. What the heck. Fool. I’m a fool.
So for the first couple years, we didn’t really celebrate. I’d usually work in some time away from the house. Sometime during those first years, I read a couple articles coming down hard on the idea of Mother’s Day being a time we should get flowers, cards, breakfast in bed, that sort of thing. How selfish it was and how being a mom isn’t about being rewarded and pampered. How we should really be satisfied with a normal day with our families, taking the time to be grateful for these gifts of little people we have been given. That’s what a REAL mother’s day should be.
So needless to say, any desire I had to be recognized on Mother’s Day, got smooshed. Of course, right? Mother’s Day is a created holiday for Hallmark. Lame.
Poor Hallmark. They always get thrown under the bus.
But then I started to feel the tension. The tension of my heart wanting to hear that I’m good at this. Wanting to have a little gift my boys made sent home from school. A card with words from Bret about how beautiful motherhood has made me. Maybe a gift. Flowers. I wouldn’t turn down a massage.
There was this tension of wanting to be seen. Recognized. Lifted up and encouraged a little.
And I felt so bad for that desire. I should be satisfied with a regular day where I spend time reflecting on how grateful I am for this job. It’s so selfish and self-indulgent to want a pedicure and flowers.
So I pretended. I pretended I didn’t want any of that silliness. I can tell you this. I don’t need it. I really don’t. I AM satisfied and grateful with my life. But even though I don’t NEED it, it doesn’t make me a brat to desire it a little bit every once in a while.
So today on fake Hallmark Mother’s Day Eve, I want to tell you that it’s ok whichever side you fall on. Neither are wrong or right. Really. If you are the kind of woman who loves being pampered and cared for and you have made expectations clear and fair (unclear ones always end poorly!) then awesome. You do you. If you are a mom who wants a quiet day with her peeps and has no expectations, that is awesome too. Neither side represents selfishness or humility. It’s also ok if that looks different for you next year and the next.
As for me, I wouldn’t mind a little of both. And I’m cool with that.