The poet Elizabeth Bishop famously wrote in her poem “One Art” that “The art of losing isn’t hard to master.” This can be especially true with parenting. It hasn’t taken long for me to become a master at losing the following:
Insanity is sometimes defined as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If that's true, then parenting equals insanity. After all, how many times can I plead with my kids to put their shoes where they belong and still be surprised when we're running late and they can’t find them? I’m starting to relate to the crazy old woman who lived in the shoe. Maybe she moved into the shoe because she got so tired of her children never being able to find theirs!
My patience, my shit
This tends to happen right about bedtime. I'm a pretty easygoing mom but after a long day at home with my three boys, I hit that parenting wall. I try to keep it together all day (which may or may not happen) but now all I want is for them to go to bed already. I’ve got leftover pad thai and "Project Runway" on the DVR waiting for me.
Maybe I wouldn’t be losing my mind or my patience if I was getting more sleep. I never had any real concept of sleep deprivation until I became a mom to a colicky baby. I now understand how it can be used as a form of torture. And when I actually do sleep, it’s never soundly.
I'll keep giving my kids my all, because that which I lose will never compare to all I have gained in being a mom.
It’s easy to get caught up in motherhood and forget the woman you were before. As a stay-at-home mom, my days are rewarding but can also feel very isolating and lonely at times. There also aren’t many accolades for a job well done. I have found it takes effort for me to remember to take breaks and make time for my hobbies and the work I want to accomplish outside of being a caretaker.
Motherhood has taught me to let go and accept that right now my house will always be cluttered with toys, and there are times when the wet clothes in the washer may be washed more than once before making it to the dryer. I don’t have beautifully staged pictures to show off on Facebook and Pinterest has never held my interest. Letting go of these expectations takes the pressure off.
I'll keep to giving my kids my all, because that which I lose will never compare to all I have gained in being a mom. While I will always miss my sleep, I won’t miss waking up to my children’s smiles in the morning.
Losing my patience has taught me humility because if I can’t say “I’m sorry” to my children how will they ever learn to say it?
Losing myself, and my mind on occasion, has taught me to find balance.
Losing the expectations of the mother I “should” be has taught me what really matters—and that's something I never want to lose.