For 13 years now much of my day has been consumed with domestic duties, because that is how old my first child is.
For this long it has been at forefront of my mind that everyone needs clean clothes, that the dishes won’t get washed by themselves and that the people I love need me.
Wanting the people I love to feel loved has become so ingrained in my being that keeping the household organized is generally my first priority each day.
“Have you waxed your skis for the hill tomorrow?” I ask my son over and over again.
“Do you want to do your reading log now or later?” My daughter gets asked every day after school.
“Want me to pack your lunch?” I ask my partner.
Every day, these are the words that come out of my mouth as I fold another load of laundry, knowing full well that these clean clothes will be on the floor of everyone’s rooms faster than I can start the next load.
Yesterday I bit my son’s head off when he mentioned his skis needed some special adjustment.
“Why do I have to keep it all organized for everyone?” I barked. “I have my own stuff to do. I can’t keep everyone’s plans and needs in my head all the time and get all my own work done. You take care of it.”
He got very quiet.
At dinner I helped him and his dad make a plan for how they would get the skis ready in time.
Because I love them.
And I am so fortunate to have people to love.
Sometimes I dream of my next incarnation.
I dream of being a single man. A singly, wealthy man, to be exact, with a fancy penthouse and my choice of sexual partners and gourmet restaurants at my fingertips.
Nobody waking me up at five a.m. to tell me their nose is stuffed up.
No bake sales to be prepared for, no plugged up toilets to plunge.
But then I have to ask myself, why am I here? Here on earth.
And there is really only one answer: To create good karma.
And if that is my goal, then there is no better way then being a mom.
Being a mother is such a fortunate opportunity.
We get to give and give and give. We get to love as much as we possibly can and then love some more, doing our best to make other people’s lives great. (This is not to be confused with being a martyr.)
The only way we can truly help others is to be healthy ourselves.
So, of course, I delegate.
“Everyone, time to help out. Who is emptying the dishwasher and who is on laundry?” I call out to my family after dinner to catch everyone before they turn on their computers.
Teaching my family responsibility and the joy of helping out themselves is part of loving them.
But in the end, I hold the big picture.
I know where everyone needs to be next Tuesday, and I know what dinner will make them smile, and I always have time to listen when it is the end of a crummy day and a hug and “that sounds like it sucked” is needed.
And sometimes I wish there weren’t so much. So much scheduling to keep track of and so much pressure to make sure I get it all right, because the people I love the most are depending on me.
However, it is that bit of pressure that keeps me striving—to love more, to help out as much as I can.
It is so important to remember that it doesn’t always have to “feel” good to be “good.”
Sometimes being a mom feels gut-wrenchingly terrible. It feels like our hearts are going to break, and we fall into bed exhausted, fantasizing that Julie Andrews will miraculously arrive and take care of it all for us.
Then we wake up the next day, and we make the lunches and clean up the breakfast dishes. And we can be assured that our fortunate karmic opportunity of being a mom in this lifetime is not being squandered.
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Lubomir Simek/Flickr