The Illogical Mathematics of Motherhood

The Illogical Mathematics of Motherhood March 24, 2012

I  just had the “Band-Aid pulled off” here in my little Army apartment in Germany. We have a newborn baby and my mother left (after nearly two months of helping out) on Monday, my Dad on Wednesday and then my husband on Thursday for a two-week stint in Afghanistan. And I have four children.. alone.. and meal delivery has ceased. Horror of horrors. Defrost meat, what is that?  Furthermore, I am not a natural at this household management deal. I don’t have systems. I don’t have checklists. I need both, but I think I have failed to create them for fear of disappointing myself.

The approach that is saving me thus far is to take things one day at a time. Not revolutionary, but it is working.

Today, I savored a “moment” with each of my four children. I define a “moment” as a really intense, poignant feeling of elation at the little human’s mere existence brought on by an experience we share. For example, I painted a seven-year-old-girl’s nails four different colors, I laid between shirtless brothers in a trundle bed who asked me to read book after book before the two-year-old would nap. And of course, the pink-velour-clad-4-week-old-daughter was easy. Her moment was laying on my chest, belly downward, careening her strong neck upward to see me and making earnest cooing sounds with a wrinkled old man forehead. These moments are the stuff of soul-infusion for me.

How blessed I am that motherhood is not a mathematical ratio. Seriously, if I had to record a pain-pleasure ratio of minutes of apparent frustration or drudgery to the “moment” minutes, it would be dismal. The fraction of “moment minutes” out of the 1440 in a day would be staggeringly low. But that ain’t it man! The moments are not mathematically sound. They are gorillas on the time clock, they stomp all the diapers and fights and dishes to the back of my mind and I am able to appreciate my moment in life.

My husband is in this phase right now where he is devouring non-fiction books and documentaries about mountain climbers. You know, Mt. Everest, K2, whatever. I have been rather underwhelmed by it all, chiding him that these are just over-privileged dudes (and ladies) creating intense experiences at great cost for their own sake. Yet, today, as I savored my moments, I realized that I share a great deal with these climbers. Really, the climb is arduous and takes weeks, yet we do it all for the summit. And they only get to summit once, I get multiple glimpses of magnificence in a day.

PS – someone please resend this to me in a week when I am totally spent!

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