After a morning of mothering and making sure the house was semi-decent (oh toddlers), this is what I came up with…
This semester, I’m taking a creative writing class. It’s a little basic considering I’ve taken reading and writing-intensive classes for the last two years, but I love it. Honestly, I thought it’d just be an easy, review class. Never did I imagine I’d learn how to be a better mom and human within the first two weeks.
My normal routine with school is making a list of everything I need to do for the week. In one class I had to write a detailed discussion about a novel that we already read, another class wanted us talk about the tone of an article, and in creative writing, our topic was about perspective and point-of-view. Obviously, I tackled the short two paragraphs about point-of-view before I did the ‘hard’ assignments.
Choose a place, perhaps your workplace, dorm, or room, and two separate paragraphs, describe it from two different physical and psychological vantage points.
Well, that seemed simple enough. I can write about anything in the world, I just needed to do it from two vantage points… easy. That is until you realize how vast the world is and writing about anything seems a little daunting. My ‘easy’ assignment turned into something a little overwhelming, so I decided to do some chores around the house.
That’s when it hit me, I could write about what I live every day. All I’d have to do is see it through my daughter, Mila’s, eyes. I let the day go on for a little while and planned to write when she napped.
After a morning of mothering and making sure the house was semi-decent (oh toddlers), this is what I came up with.
With the slam of the dryer drawer, I’m finally done with laundry for the week. After five days of work and prioritizing everything else before my least favorite chore, being done feels like such a relief. I can’t wait to close the laundry room door and snuggle up with my daughter. Then, to my horror, I hear clothes being thrown around. The clothes I just spent the last two hours washing, drying, and folding. My daughter has taken the liberty to destroy them all. I feel like crying and maybe I do a little bit. A hundred things I want to scream rushes through my mind as her smiles turns to a frown. Instead of acting on my anger, I playfully start throwing the already unfolded clothes back at her. This makes her laugh. My dreaded chore will be waiting here later in this messy room. Her laughter fills the air and I realize the laundry room isn’t the worst place.
My mom’s been gone more than usual and when she’s home, she’s too busy for me. There’s a lot of things she has to do. I like a lot of snacks and make a lot of messes, but she’s there to help me. She’s in the laundry room again and I hear the dryer drawer shut. Yes! That means she’s almost done and it’s time to play. The door to the laundry room is wide open and the pile of my clothes is right there. Quietly, I walk, missing the creak in the floor, and grab to handfuls of clothes. My mom’s still doing something at the dryer, so I start throwing. The laundry room is the best place to play because there’s so much to play with. There’s a huge pile of clothes, so I keep throwing, until my mom turns around. Her face is so sad. I’m scared I did something wrong. In the big room, I stand still until my mom starts throwing clothes back at me. It’s finally time to play! The laundry room is my favorite place to play with my mom.
It’s all about perspective.
When I went about my day, I tried to do what I normally would. Although I did that, I found myself watching Mila’s expressions more than usual. She’s only two and can’t explain everything that’s going on inside her head, but her expressions say a lot.
Moms know laundry is just one example of this type of moment. I can think of a hundred of these moments where I just want it to be easy for one second. Like when Mila pour chips all over the floor or splashes bath water outside of the tub. It’s hard to constantly be on as a mom. Since the point-of-view assignment, I’ve been trying to think like Mila.
Instead of messes, I’m trying to see memories and expressive play. Whenever it feels like she wants help for the entire day, I think that she just wants to be close. At mealtimes, when she eats all of my food and none of hers (hello it’s the same food, Mila!), I’m remembering she wants to be just like me.
It might have been a small assignment, but it’s making me a better mom and person in general. I keep repeating a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt…
“Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.”
Anytime I get a little frustrated with my daughter, I remember this and how these years are going to pass so quickly. I get to revisit childhood from her perspective and not being an adult for a few moments of the day.
Don’t mind me if you see me with dirt all over my face or my house a disaster. We’re just making memories, it’s all about perspective.