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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

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Life

Motherhood Mundanity and Monotony

Again, lots of wispy strands of thought that seem to belong to a common thread but I have trouble pinning them down. I think that’s why I blog (or write) as often as I do. It’s one of the quickest ways to ground myself.

I’m talking about the day-to-day of motherhood. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing stay-at-home mum or go-to-work mum or work-from-home mum… It is all too easy to fall into a pattern of things. Weeks pass into months, which string into years. Traditions get formed, the annual calendar gets that little more rigid with each passing year and somehow, we hum along.

It takes awareness and, at times, tremendous effort to conscientiously resist the ordinary.

I am torn between fighting the usual and embracing the constant. I wonder which of the two reflects the more contented heart without slipping into treacherous complacency or hooking onto selfish ambition. At heart, as much as I love my lists and my systems, I’m still a woman who adores surprises and thrives on spontaneity. But is that the most loving expectation to heap onto others around me?

I’m thinking of all these things because Boy Blob’s Birth is imminent. And with all of that preciousness comes the spit-ups and the cleaning and the washing and the napping. The training and the cooking and the diapering and the playing. And yes, we can plan holidays and yes, we can try and break things up. The odd family outing on a school night. The long weekend away. At some point late next year, it might be nice to fly back to Singapore to introduce Boy Blob to friends and family. And if I’m perfectly honest, I’d LOVE for once to go on a proper overseas holiday that was just about us and not about visiting friends and family.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

But for the most part – and especially with Arddun now entering Big School – our calendar seems carved out for us. And with it, predictability and sameness.

Parents on the other side of life’s spectrum are known to urge younger parents to treasure the moments while we have them. Because it really can feel like you’ve blinked and missed it. It’s one of the key reasons I started this blog – because it’s the quickest way for me to document the Now, to scrapbook our moments, to freeze-frame our life and times.

But in the thick of things, in the throes of mundanity… When you’re vacuuming the same floor for the hundred thousandth time, and repeating yourself about Manners to your toddler. When you have to talk to the banks before they close, but your daughter wants to start painting her masterpiece — and only with you by her side cheering her on. When there’s a nappy blow-out. When there’s foot-stamping tempers. When dinners refused to be eaten.

When chronos drags on, boring as heck at times, and the kairos can be hard to recognise.

It is enough, some days, to make me seriously question why I didn’t opt for a more high-octane, extraordinary life. Were all those years of book-learning and God-given talent-honing meant to culminate to this suburban tedium?

Have I copped out? Am I not fulfilling my potential?

These are almost sacrilegious thoughts when you are a mother, but they exist. At least for me.

And then I found this quote on Through a Glass:

“But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.”

Motherhood, life. Seemingly an endless chain of ever-changing routines. You get good at one stage and settle into sameness, and then it changes and you scramble for homeostasis. Rinse, repeat. But the truth is, as much as I may secretly wonder about the value of this ordinary life, I also yearn for equilibrium and tranquility. Because within all of that, there can be so much joy and wonder and growth and opportunity.

Another great quote from another great blog:

I remember that my goal in life is not to be happy. Or organized. Or on time. It is to be holy. To that end, God has orchestrated every circumstance of every day for my own good, to draw me nearer to Himself and to change me into His likeness. Every circumstance has my refinement in mind, even motherhood. Especially motherhood.

Because it is in motherhood that I have the opportunity not only to be like Christ, but to demonstrate Christ to my children. Day after day, under this roof with these children, I have the opportunity to be Jesus passing out the leftovers, Jesus holding babies and breaking up arguments, Jesus washing stinky feet, Jesus who is never too busy to be touched, never too busy to be needed. I even have the opportunity to be Jesus, filled with power and overcoming this world of spilled milk and spaghetti stains, if I let him.

The slow, plodding things aren’t the obstacles to my happiness. Missing the Shiny for what it is, is the greater tragedy. And I have it real good.

I want to exult in monotony.

B1 staring at kiwi fruits
What do I see? (a) Kitchen bench-top clutter to clear, or (b) B1 grinning stupidly at a plastic cage of kiwi fruits.
Arddun grinning with stickers on face
The face that upended my prior ambitions

TTT- Cheer, Choice, Chocolate

1. Girly nights

Rosine hosting Hepburn quiz
Rosine hosting a Hepburn quiz. I knew none of the answers. Zip.

Had an Audrey Hepburn do last Friday evening that involved dressing up. Which, in Mother of Baby land, meant throwing on anything black I could find and still wear in my pre-baby wardrobe, and then silently thanking Big Fat for hosting a major dress-up dinner 3 years ago that involved long silk gloves and fake cigarette holders. I was trying to channel Breakfast at Tiffany’s… but only succeeded in looking like a Funny Face.

Still! Good fun to be had, and a loooot of food. I do not have any incriminating photos of myself, but there were some taken. Promise.

2.    Choices
Choices are tough sometimes. But I’ve been in situations where I’ve had too much choice, and then I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to love it or lump it. Both require lots of wisdom and courage. Tonight, our family’s received some news that requires lots of thinking and planning. We’ve got lots of tough choices to make, but I’m trying to be thankful that I have choices to begin with. Because it means we’re blessed and able.

3. Chocolate

chocolate
Dark and brooding, like my mood

I’m having a pret-ty heavy night tonight. Lots of brain-hurting thoughts, hopes and prayers starting from last night, and that’s when I broke out the chocolate. I’ve been eating it since. I think it shows amazing self-control that I’ve managed to hold off the second half till tonight. But since tonight’s a heavy night, I’m polishing the rest of this bad boy off. So there.

Lindt’s Passion Fruit Intense? Dark chocolate with hints of tangy passion fruit and tiny crunchy bits of almonds. Hamana hamana hamana . It’s okay. I’m seeing the dentist on Monday.

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