I often wonder how pioneer mothers got anything done.
‘Ma! Junior is looking out my side of the wagon!’
‘Am not! Ma — she’s touching me with her rag doll!’
‘Can I have a bread and jam snack? Can I cut a piece of smoked ham? Can I open a jar of pickles? Can I have a cookie? Can I eat that pie?”
‘But I don’t want to milk the cow….I’m thirsty NOW!’
Am I the only modern mother/wife that rarely has two minutes alone in her head before some sort of chaos erupts — or I’m needed yet again?
Before children, my free mornings allowed me time to journal, plan my day and do some writing. I’d get a work out of some type in several times a week. Yes, I worked. But in my free time, I read voraciously. Tinkered with writing. Planned for the future. Looked forward to life.
Enjoyed some solitude. (I no longer know what that word means — and just for the record, it’s taken me a week to write this due to continual interruptions!)
Now — if I’m lucky — I migh have a half hour to myself in the mornings before someone realizes Mom is sitting down, quietly enjoying the peace and a cup of coffee.
And needs me.
Some mornings might be relatively quiet with the youngest (and I can usually tell within a few minutes of her rising what kind of day it will be). Interruptions might only be at 5-10 minute intervals. (Can I have breakfast? Would you pour me another glass of milk? I want a different breakfast. I need the TV channel changed. Can I make a craft?)
Then, there are the days where I envision life bearing down on me like the giant, rolling rock in Indana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Where any plans I made can be chucked, because no one is going to allow me to get them done.
Many of the distractions are due to sibling rivalry, made more difficult with my youngest’s special needs and her refusal to care if she loses privileges. (She’s touching me. She’s on my side of the couch. She’s in my way. She won’t leave me alone. She’s playing with my toy. But i WANT that toy! She’s stupid! She’s hitting me!!….well, you get the idea.)
But the mental distractions are also overwheming. After all, I have girls. Girls that need to talk. And talk. And talk. Constantly.
A few days ago, I was outside picking dandelions to make syrup, and my oldest decided to weed the nearby fruit bed. The dialogue with herself, the weeds, me (at intervals) and a passing butterfly were almost comedic. Except that she couldn’t stop talking. For even a few seconds. I’m not even sure she was taking the time to breathe.
We only get a few hours (on good days) with the youngest before moodiness and difficulty move in. She can’t leave her sister alone. She needs to argue with me over simple things (wear a jacket — it’s cold. Put your shoes on. Don’t leave the fridge open.) She makes messes and refuses to clean them up. She tells me what she wants for lunch, and then refuses to eat it because something is off half an inch on her plate.
And if I’m honest, the interruptions are not just limited to the children in my life.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and profess my selfish desires. I don’t need jewelry, cars or expensive vacations to make me happy, people!
I just want to know what it’s like to get up for periods of time — perhaps once a month — and not be everyone’s go-to person for the day.
To be allowed to move at my pace. To think about what I’d like to do that day, and not take anyone else into consideration.
To not talk to anyone, except myself and God (who is probably tired of my complaining!).
To have hours of time to sit and write. To find that creative place inside of myself that has been interrupted into hiding out of sheer survival.
To not be responsible for another human being’s meals, clothing, lessons, entertainment, happiness and safety.
To just be me. Alone in my head.
But for now, I’ll — oh, never mind. Duty calls…..