In keeping with my general theme of authentic at all costs, I really had better clarify that yesterday’s post did not come out of a place of Sweetness.
Isn’t it always easier to find words for what you want to be, when you are in fact straying farthest from the path?
To be truthful, I have been having quite a time lately. Not exactly open-to-the-public blog material. Something along the lines of a mid-mama-life crisis. It’s been fairly dire. And yesterday after my pretty post about Sweetness, I spent the rest of the day decidedly turning away from it.
What I need to know is this. How do we strike the balance between putting our kiddos first, setting aside our selfish desires for Me-ness, but not becoming the bitchy martyr mama? Or worse, the empty black hole mama who has nothing left of her own to offer up anymore?
This is where I am stuck. I truly do not understand how to navigate this. I er on the bitchy martyr side, and I don’t like it one bit. As Joan Baez said, “A martyr’s a nuisance to live with at home.” Not to mention it feels icky to be.
I mean, really, as far as mama-hood goes, I am so lucky. I get a little time every day, and at least a few hours alone on the weekends. My Man is supportive and loving, and adores our kiddlets.
But I want more. More. It’s just never enough.
All the things that I did before, all the things that were important to me, are now relegated to just hobbies. A word that horrifies me. Now the central core of our life consists of just two things. Kids and money. I do the kids, My Man does the money. The things that I had wanted my life purposed towards, the things I had intended to blog about, are peripheral at best.
But then I am smacked down by my own hideous three headed hydra of guilt. Not even guilt exactly, but ….. remorse. I don’t want to be the kind of mama who is always trying to get away from my babies, who resents them for standing between me and The Things I Wanted To Do.
I am trying. But bear in mind, voicing does not mean doing. I will have to leave “turning towards” for more hopeful times. Today I will be glad just to remember that I do have some sweetness. Somewhere in my tangled ball, there is a strand or two of mama who loves being mama, who is grateful and humbled by the opportunity to do such heady work. Who is joyful even.
And where does the playdough fit in, you might ask?
There are tools in mama’s apron. Things that, though seemingly mundane, can make a difference. Homemade playdough is one. It’s one little control you can turn over to your daughter, therefore empowering her to become her own soul in the world and lessening her need to exert her budding control elsewhere. Go ahead. Mix all the colors into rainbow sherbet, followed closely by brown. No big deal, there’s plenty more.
Note: There are some not-so-great homemade playdough recipes floating around our world. This one is not among them. It’s really good.
Playdough No One Has To Be Afraid Of
- 6 cups flour
- 3 cups salt
- 3 Tablespoons cream of tartar
- 6 cups water
- 6 Tablespoons oil
- food coloring
Bring water to a full rolling boil. Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients in a very big bowl, or stand mixer if you have one. When the water is boiling, stir it in slowly along with the oil (kids need to seriously back off for this part as the boiling water can be sloshy at first). This is hard to do with a wooden spoon, but you can do it– give it the strong arm! It’s easy in a stand mixer. When you can’t stir anymore turn out onto the counter and knead like bread dough until all the flour is incorporated (yes it will be hot, but not so hot to injure anyone at this point).
Divide into three or four pieces and knead in the colors, either by hand or with your mixer. I let the Toddler squeeze in the colors, which meant that looking away for a second resulted in an ever so indulgent red.
Buy the big sized bottles of food coloring, and big bags of cheap flour and salt. You’ll be making lots of playdough from now on.
Don’t forget to drop your grown up self just enough to enjoy a little squishy-color-goo too. Might I recommend a garlic press? Makes me laugh every time, no matter how far away my Sweetness seems.