Monday, October 4, 2010

Making airplanes

Today I:

-Woke up (at 6:07 am!) with one sleeping child's feet in my face (Elaine) and the other child three inches from the other side of my face saying, "Mom, I'm hungry. Get up."
-Made breakfast (actually that's not true, I just remembered Superman got them started on breakfast when he came home. Thanks, Superdad!)
-Wiped hands and faces
-Cleaned up breakfast
-Settled disputes
-Made two phone calls to determine where we'd get the most for our money for chiropractic care
-Changed a diaper
-Combed hair
-Dressed two little people
-Put the kids in the car and drove to an appointment with the chiropractor
-Sang silly songs to distract from the meltdowns I knew were coming
-Entertained them appropriately while with the doctor, using almost every last ounce of creative energy I had so that the doctor and I could have an uninterrupted conversation.
-Dealt with more disputes on the drive home (I don't think ANY of us woke up on the right side of the bed today.)
-Explained 'why' and 'why not'
-Enforced time-out
-Started laundry
-Supervised sandbox play and settled the resulting disputes
-Made lunch
-Oversaw the eventual consumption of said lunch (and settled even MORE disputes)
-Read books
-Changed a diaper
-Washed hands and faces
-Had a conversation with an imaginary elephant
-Put them down for naps (at 11:30 am! It's one of those days!)
-And put them BACK down for naps.
-Aaaaaaaaand put them BACK DOWN FOR NAPS.

It's now just past noon. I have lots to do while they're asleep so that I can try and scrape together some semblance of a happy day before it's already over.

But first, I'd like to share a story that has helped me tremendously.

I get no paycheck and certainly very little praise and appreciation from the little people I so relentlessly give myself to. Some women feel they were born to be mothers and gladly fill their days with childcare and all the mind-numbing (and often unpleasant!) repetitive tasks that go with it. I am not always such a person. (Yes, there are happy moments, to be sure, but for some reason mine don't come as often as I would prefer!)

Just how am I to be motivated, then? I've tried lots of methods with varying degrees of success. Sure, "a job well done is its own reward" but, uh, is my job ever done? I most-emphatically vote NO. I think I just get new and different jobs with time.

Here's a story I read in a book called, are you ready for this? "The Power of Patience" by M.J. Ryan. It has changed my perspective of the tedious drudgery that so much of parenting really would be... were it not for a big picture perspective.

Mother Teresa was visiting a factory in India when she happened to notice a man in the corner, happily humming and assembling screws.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Making airplanes," he replied.
"Airplanes?" she inquired.
"Yes," he said, "because without these tiny screws the plane cannot fly."

There it is. I'm building airplanes, one screw at a time.
I'm building well-adapted, healthy, balanced future members of society (and hopefully with as few screws LOOSE as possible!)

What about you? Can you relate to the parenting analogy? Or what kind of different masterpiece is in your future, provided you don't go stark raving mad with all the screws you're dealing with at present?


  1. I'm reminded of the Martha prayer:Lord of all pots and pans and things,Since I've no time to beA saint by doing lovely things orWatching late with thee,Or dreaming in the twilight orStorming heaven's gates.Make me a saint by getting meals orWashing up the plates.Although I must have Martha's hands,I have a Mary mind, and,When I black the boots and shoes Thy sandals, Lord, I find. I think of how they trod the earth What time I scrub the floor, Accept this meditation, Lord, I haven't time for more.Warm all the kitchen with thy love, And light it with thy peace, Forgive me all my worrying And make all grumbling cease. Thou who didst love to give men food In room or by the sea Accept this service that I do I do it unto thee.

  2. I got about halfway through your list and thought "well, that sounds a lot more productive than my day!" Then I realized that was just your MORNING.

  3. LOVE the analogy, LOVE the story.