Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This is my house, and I am the Mommy.

I want to talk about Little Mommies.

You know the book... "This is my house, and I am the Mommy.  My children are Annabelle, Betsy, and Bonnie."

A little girl has three dear little dollies and is their mommy in the little Golden storybook.  My mom had it when she was little, and my Nana sent it to Tulah when she was tiny tiny.  It's memorized in my head and probably Tulah's too.  It's been packed away or hidden under other books for some time, and we just read it at nap time a few minutes ago.  A few pages are missing, but since it's committed to memory that's no big deal.  The Little Mommy cares for her little ones probably just how her mommy cares for her.  She wakes up and they say goodbye to the breadwinner of the family... She feeds the babes, they play while she sweeps and does dishes.  She bakes, has a neighbor over for tea, goes for a little peaceful stroll.  Her home is neat and tidy, and she even hand-washes the laundry. When Betsy falls ill, Mommy makes a call to the doctor who comes immediately for a house call.  It's an idyllic and precious little story.  I am jealous of the mother of that Little Mommy for giving her such great lessons on how to keep house and order and patience. 

Funny how you read an innocent little story, especially one you know well, and all of a sudden it's not a story- it's an OMEN.  Reading about a sweet little "perfect" mama at a time when you have been thinking about your home, your 'job' as a mom, your patience and your example.  My thoughts lately travel and wander and sojourn to places of resolution, resolution to be better.  Resolution to well, resolve, that it's okay to not be better sometimes and to figure out how to truly start fresh tomorrow.  Well I think every parent tries to be better, daily, or at least has the desire to try to be better.  I am a, uh, a  good mom, and I've always known I was born for this role.  But what does "good" really mean?  One thing that's hard for me is knowing if I snapped, or settled, or didn't discipline, or got jack-squat done one day, I find myself saying, "Yeah but I DID do this, that, and that."  Great.  Usually those things that did get done are of no importance to a four and two year old. 

What Little Mommy has that I don't have is simplicity.  She has one automobile that Padre took to work that day.  She has a buggy, a broom, and a doctor on speed dial call.  She has no Pandora streaming to set the mood.  No texts coming in, and she certainly hasn't received 5 phone calls from student loan collectors by lunch time the way that I have.  No errands to run on that particular day.  She did not post pictures on facebook the night before and is not curious if anyone 'liked' any of them.  She uses a cookbook to make her famous ginger cake and does not require Pinterest or Epicurious to bake a tasty treat.  After all, checking Pinterest for a recipe just inevitably leads to just peeking at your email quickly since the computer's open, which leads to checking out this crazy online coupon in your inbox which leads to remembering you better place your order NOW if you want it to arrive by Christmas, which means you have to read the reviews and compare websites to make sure you get the most bang for your few dollars... And oh yeah, what was I about to bake again?  Wait, I have children to tend to??

I had big big dreams of being the sweet Little Mommy I always thought I had inside of me.  Instead I find that some days, I'm fitting the kids into a very long list of Most Important Tasks.  Even this house... This house was supposed to be a sweet and mellow beginning for our new chapter.  I really thought that the rut I was in was because my role as Mom Of Two began so stressfully and not quite balanced.  Nick having that job out of town for 2 and a half years and having a VERY CHALLENGING newborn (and beyond) baby boy was something I never ever ever want to repeat.  Adjusting to living together has been not great too, if we're being honest.  We were probably fools to purchase such a rough house while we were just getting back into the groove, but this rough house also represents the future to us.  It's the almost-homestead we've always wanted... At least it will be eventually.  As I try to remind myself why we're here and not in our finished and lovely yellow house, I try to also remember that we will be here for decades and decades and that it's okay to pump the brakes on the projects.  While the projects do define us, the kids do MORE (usually... ;) and I don't want to get distracted.

I realize that most of the women of that time, the Little Mommy time, were brought up to become mothers and homemakers.  One thing I always think about is Nick's grandma, Pat.  Our yellow house was hers and was the first and only home that Nick's grandparents ever had as a family.  Yes, we sold it, and the regret is so huge sometimes I can hardly stand it.  Anyway, that special house held a lot of lessons, but one I always remember is how Pat was not allowed to paint.  At least that's how we understand it.  Grandma Pat was a FABULOUSLY talented painter.  I will post some pictures of the paintings we ended up with of hers.  Prized and adored possessions.  She had a skill that is hard to find.  Well, Robert The Man Of The House thought that her painting was a waste of time.  So she just plain didn't do it, really.  And if you look at the dates of the paintings we know of, a lot of them are from after the kids were grown and after Robert passed away.  What a funny thing anymore to not be allowed to do your passion, and be a mother, and make the home.  What a funny thing to just... Cook.  And grocery shop.  And feed faces and mend and iron clothing.  Boy I would be "mending" clothing every day!!  Those clothes would have some pretty far-out and fancy mend-age if I were the Mom.  Hubby would be all, "You're mending clothes again???  Why do my dinner rolls have notes tucked in them?  Why are all my socks embroidered with teal flowers and red polkadots??"

What did Grandma Pat feel like she was born to do?  Did she ONLY want to be a mother and a wife?  Is that what a Little Mommy was?  Did she want to find the balance between her family/home and her skills and passions?  How did she feel when she wasn't allowed to do her art?  I set out to Colorado 8 or so years ago to get my dream degree, be a crazy and super successful product designer until my late 20's, at which point I would proceed to have 3 or 4 lovely children and stay home with them, freelancing my way around for some balance and extra money.  I would have been so wildly successful that my loans would have been paid off in 6 years- nothing to worry about.  Well I didn't finish that degree, I had a precious baby girl instead.  I have no way of paying for day care, so I stay home (LUCKY ME!!  Truly!!).  But that creative road was truncated before I was really ready.  I am always fighting the urge to just spend a day MAKING STUFF and feeling successful... Networking and finding treasures and conversing with adults and accomplishing things I'm GREAT at.  Sometimes this just takes over and I find myself yearning for it, as opposed to embracing my true role as homemaker.  And I feel so guilty for wanting it so badly!!  Sometimes I lie my head down at night, wondering how many times I told my kids, "Hang on just another minute guys, Mommy needs to wrap up just one more thing" that day.  I know it's not like that every day... But...  But how does a mother find balance and simplicity in today's world full of a zillion different definitions of success?  I have everything I've ever wanted so why would I want MORE. 

This house has been alive and connecting for me and the kiddos.  While it is busy, I find myself at a place where most times I am able to include them much much more than before in my tasks.  I have a little Tulah helper when it comes to dishes and baking and laundry and totally worth the 50 cents I pay her :)  I started this journal to keep you up to date on the progress, but actually it's been really nice to see how I'm doing as a mom too.  I go through a day and I think, "If I wouldn't want in in my journal, then we're staying away from it."  I won't be able to be one of those writers that make everything look like sunshine and rainbows, because that's not life and I don't trust people who won't allow themselves to be real, and vulnerable, and relate-able. I'll never make you feel like you're the only one with problems, I promise.  I probably don't always say when we've had just a super-cranky awful day, which is probably due to the fact that I do not write every day.  But sometimes I do and after all, this journal is a celebration of what IS working.

I have some new goals I'm hoping to accomplish in my ever-continuing list of GinnImprovements.  Maybe instead of listing them, I'll discuss them as I succeed.  Less pressure :)  I think I'm almost the mom I want to be so what's a little more fine-tuning right??  I want the simplicity of the little "homestead" we wanted to create here to happen and I think it is, in its own time.

It's not MORE that I want, I've realized.  It's ME I'm after.  My best me.  Truly celebrating where and who I am, and giving my greatest to my home and my sweets. 

This is my house, and I am the {improving} mommy.


  1. My Beautiful Girl, My dream was to be Little Mommy, too, to the point that it was my preferred hairstyle: called "Like Little Mommy's".
    You are the sweetest little mommy I've ever known. I am ever surprised, ever delighted with your tales of parenthood, pictures of the most beautiful grandchildren-EVER, and what a gorgeous woman you are on the inside. I am so proud of you. It's all worth it, as you know.

    1. Thanks Mom :)
      Thanks for always celebrating with me, even though you are raising your own young'un right now too!
      Also, come visit. Loveyousomuch.