Best of Momma: Shiny, happy YOU
During these first 2 weeks in August, I will be attending BlogHer ’11 in San Diego and taking a well-deserved vacation before & after! While I’m away, I have selected a few of my personal favorite posts I’ve written over the last year & a half for your reading enjoyment.
Today’s best-of was originally posted last August after I had started singing at church for the first time in over a decade. I am happy to report — one year later, even though I’m still rustier than I’d like to admit, I’m still cantoring at church, and the hubs has joined me in a once-a-month Saturday choir too. It’s been a fantastic escape because the hubs & I use this as our date-night. It’s been incredible for our relationship. If you don’t have a once-a-month kid-free date-night set up with your partner, make it a priority. No, it’s not cheap. Find a sitter you love & trust. Invest in your relationship.
When you become a Momma, whether you work in or outside of the home, have 1 or 6 kids, making time for YOU and only YOU is important. Yes, balancing work, the kids, the hubs, cooking, cleaning, etc ETC is a challenge, but once you’ve balanced what you can and accepted the never ending dishes in the sink & the black hole of laundry and manage to escape the home you rarely leave without your pint-size appendages, what do you do for your well-deserved ALONE time?
Now, when I say alone-time, I don’t mean running errands without your kids. That is a part of the Momma-job-title. Leaving the children with the hubs while you grocery shop is not alone-time, that is conflict & time-management. Yet, some husbands believe that if you get to leave the house alone, it’s special time. Sure, it’s nice to do errands alone once in awhile, but it’s not time I’d consider special, because I don’t arrive home feeling refreshed afterward.
Before I had children, I had endless amounts of alone time that I completely took for granted. Can I please have some of that time I wasted back?? I mean, seriously?! But then my children arrived, and most of my stuff got put on the back burner. My family came first. It’s a natural step in becoming a parent, letting go of the past. But how much of the past should you let go? How much can you still embrace? I addressed this issue here a couple months back, but I recently discovered something: taking pride in yourself teaches your children to take pride in themselves. You are their hero, they look up to you – at least for this brief moment in time!
It’s not like that’s a new concept, but I never truly understood the depth of it. Some people take pride in their work or careers, but if your work isn’t something your kids would see or understand (the hubs is an Electrical Engineer, I barely understand what he does; all pops & buzzers to me. The kids just know daddy works on his computer… a LOT). You can show your children where you work, and then what: “this is where my Momma works, whatever that means” I worked outside of the home prior to having kids, but none of my jobs were careers like I feel Motherhood is. So, working outside of the home likely wouldn’t fulfill my desire to do something I could be proud of, giving my children a reason to look up to me.
Some parents find shining moments in volunteering, running a marathon, coaching a little-league team… me? I’m a performer. The hubs & I met doing community theatre, and lately, I’ve been getting the itch to sing somewhere other than my car or living room. My daughter auditioned for Annie this spring, and if she made it, my audition would’ve happened a week later. She didn’t make it, so I didn’t audition. Knowing how much time & energy goes into a musical, I knew I wouldn’t see the hubs for about 6-8 weeks, and it would’ve put a huge strain on our family. I knew I wouldn’t have been able to turn down a role though, so I made the tough decision not to audition; not worth it. I ended up getting mono a few weeks before rehearsals started anyways; everything really does happen for a reason, doesn’t it?
Once I recovered from the dreadful 3-months of mono, I decided to find some sort of outlet to make time for myself again. I started singing at church when I was a kid, and was cantoring (leading the congregation in song) at age 12. By the time I was in high school, I was the music teacher for the elementary Catechism classes. Just something that came naturally to me. But since we’ve had children, going to church on a weekly basis, let alone making a commitment to doing any volunteer work, such as cantoring was a little intimidating. Until now.
A few weeks back I cantored for the first time at church. I wasn’t crazy about the music I had to sing, but I sucked it up, practiced as much as I could and sang as best as I could through the cobwebs in my voice. I was more nervous than I’ve been in years, but that was probably a good thing because I am pretty rusty. Nerves help me focus. The best part was the look on my kids faces. Ok, so my 2 yr old is usually happy, yet squirmy at church and she lived up to her history. But my 5 yr old looked at me with delight and waved at me every time we made eye contact. I don’t know if she has ever felt authentic pride for someone or something before, but I definitely saw that in her eyes that day. She saw me practice, and saw how it paid off. When my family saw me after Mass, they ran up to give me a big, excited hug afterward, and my 5yo told me I sounded really pretty when I sang. I’m tearing up a little just thinking about her sweet little face with those big, sincere eyes.
I didn’t get that growing up. My mother would show up with notes after my performances, telling me what I did wrong instead of ignoring the tiny flub-ups like most normal parents wouldn’t see or mention. Thing is, despite growing up with a mother who demanded perfection, I learned quite a bit from that experience. I produced two children who I DON’T expect perfection from, and who look at me like my mother never did – with pride. Sure, I’m a little rusty, but seeing my children’s delight, knowing they are learning something watching their own Momma share her gift with our church, well, that’s the best reward to me right now. I’ll shine for my kids, and I’m so happy & fulfilled because of it.
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