Every day is like a new blank document. This of course is a reference to Word when it gives you the option to create a new file. Would you like to open a new blank document? Why yes. Yes I would.
I sit in front of each day, coffee cup in hand, waiting to write my life across the page. But the truth is, I as a mom don’t often feel like I am starting from scratch each day. I usually feel like I’m putting back on the old tennis shoes strewn by my bed from the night before and hitting the ground running. Routine trumps inventiveness most of the time. And that’s really a-OK with me for a season. I just have to be content with knowing my routines do not define me.
Speaking of being un-defined by routine, Monday was all willy-nilly because of Drew’s a.m. doctor’s appointment. He usually still naps at 9, but since his appointment was at 9…well, you know the rest. This pushed my grocery store shopping up by approximately 4 hours (10 a.m. instead of 1 p.m. on Mondays) and Drew’s nap to the weird noon hour. I’m not used to him sleeping smack dab in the middle of the day. What am I supposed to do now? Is this when people watch Ellen?
The sunlight was weird that day because I was seeing it at hours I’m not used to. I am usually blogging or working from 9-11 a.m. while Drew naps, so I’m not outdoors to get bit by the frosty morning air or see the new sun as it begins its morning trudge to the top of the sky. Instead, Drew slept from 12-2 when we are usually out of the house and in the world. So I blogged and worked from 12-2 and noticed the sunlight in my house was different. It was noon-light—efficient, clean, unsentimental— a time of day I don’t usually spend inside. Later at 2 p.m. when Drew woke up, I took him to the park. We usually don’t go until 4 when the sun is thinking about closing up shop and the shadows begin to get cold. But at 2 the sun is still steadfast and warm. I felt reintroduced to the world…this was another possible universe in which I could raise a child.
I usually feel agitated when my mom-routines get thrown off, but Monday brought a rare kind of nimbleness and flexibility. Instead of a rigid tightrope walker, I felt more like a trapeze artist, flowing with the centrifugal force of the day and trying to make it look graceful. It was a little terrifying. But I felt like I was writing very purposefully on the new blank document before me, and it felt very much like…creative writing. Instead of the technical writing I so often necessarily perform day-to-day.
You might be huffing sanctimoniously at this (and rightly so!) because you are no doubt a more flexible, progressive mama who is less type A and neurotic and more able to dance the dance of motherhood with greater improvisation and flair. But don’t let your spontaneity define you either. You are more than your non-schedule. You could keep a schedule, if you had to. Just like I can improvise when I have to. We all do what we have to; what we feel is necessary at any particular time and place for our kids. And maybe that motivation itself, and not the method that puts hands and feet to it, should come closer to defining us than anything else. (Though I’m not advocating our motherhood define us ultimately!) I’m just saying we are the writers of our page each day, and whether we are routine maniacs or loosey-goosey mamas or somewhere in between, the important thing to remember is that our new blank documents will different at the end of each day but they will each tell a unique and beautiful story nonetheless. We need to give each other the benefit of the doubt.