my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

August 27, 2015

sackcloth and ashes

so all my kids are in school full time. and i am happy. my house is quiet, it gives me time to think. i know i have my mornings to finish all the things i didn't get done the night before, which has helped to ease the bedtime routine. i have flipped chores around, instead of washing the dinner dishes, i leave them to soak in the sink for the morning, which leaves me more time to focus on the kids and making sure is done and books are read and showers are taken and hair is brushed. there is enough to do at night without worrying about getting my house to tip top shape.

and i am developing a morning routine that i like and works for me. we get up and get breakfast. while they eat i make fish's lunch (the boys pack for themselves), and then it's getting dressed and ready and getting out the door on time. i walk my dear fish, which i totally count as my daily exercise, and then i come home and clean the house. it still leaves me with most of the day to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.

the problem is that i am getting many comments about how people think i must feel, which is making me wonder if how i really feel is wrong. everyone i've talked to was surprised that i wasn't in tears on the first day all the kids were in school. that i don't miss them terribly and am all sorts of upset and wonder what to do with myself all day.

does not being upset make me a bad mother? does it mean that i love them less then those that are inconsolable? is there a standard level of grief that i am not reaching, a socially acceptable amount of tears that i should have shed by now?

because i like to think that i do love my kids, in my own quiet way. i provide for them and encourage them and help ready them for the outside world. i feel like going to school is just the next logical step on their journey to independence. if this is the normal and expected direction they are to be going in and growing in, why should i be upset? i feel like i should count the lack of tears on all our faces as a victory in preparing them to face the challenges of the world at large.

and yet some of what i have read on facebook during this back to school time has made me feel like less of a mother, like i didn't reach some predetermined standard of grief. because i didn't hit that level of sadness, my love for my children must not be as real or as true or as much.

i am me, and when it comes to feelings about things outside myself, i know that for me, the highs are never as high and the lows are never as low as i have seen expressed by others. but that doesn't mean that i don't feel anything at all, it just means that i don't express it. i had to learn not to show emotions, unless i wanted those emotions used against me. i am careful, i am cautious, but i also know that my children know how much and how deeply i love them. i am tired of the social media competitions, i refuse to wear sackcloth and ashes. it's not my style, but that's ok. those who matter know the truth.

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