Friday, July 15, 2011

My Fairy Tale Life

Yesterday I was scrubbing gummy, dried out cereal mush off of the floor on my hands and knees, under the dining room table.  I was still in my pj's; a tank top and comfy black capri-sweatpants, and although it was already 3:30 in the afternoon, I felt like I hadn't stopped moving since waking up.  Actually, I felt remarkably like Cinderella, scrubbing the floor with soap bubbles flying all around; over-worked and unappreciated for my finer qualities; only, I didn't have chubby, little singing mice and sweetly chirping birds to ease my work load.

Other days, I can compare myself to Hansel and Gretal as I chase the trail of Rice Crispies that scatter on the floor, falling from 3 year old's pockets and chubby hands as he skips away from the breakfast table in search of adventure.  With my eyes on the ground, I follow the tiny cereal bits all around the house - over the couch, up the stairs, into the bathroom; until the culprit is found, nibbling away at his contraband snack, under a blanket fort in his big sister's room.

It seems that we often desire a fairy tale life for ourselves.  Only mine has somehow become twisted and far more boorish than the ideals I daydreamed about as a little girl.  When I was 11, picking out my perfect children's names:  Christopher, Charlotte, Daisy and Stuart, and dreaming of my tall, dark and handsome knight in shining armor, I never would have imagined the predicaments I would be dealing with "in real life".

I was supposed to have grown into a lovely lady, poised and gentle, with long, flowing locks that were never tangled or (heaven forbid) in a ponytail.  My children would play happily together, showing utmost concern for eachother's well being; always speaking considerately to one another.  We would lay on a perfect (mosquito and bug-free) grassy knoll, on one of those perfectly quaint patchwork quilts, reading Tennyson and discussing music.

Instead... my fairy tale looks a whole lot more like the Shrek versions of the classics.  Loud, obnoxious bodily noises are extolled and praised by my perfect little ladies and gentlemen.  Nearly every day on the trampoline, a shoving match ensues as the children endeavor to bend my rule about rough play, instead insisting that they are merely having "tickling matches" which inevitably end in a child or two crying and yelling "Mommmy!!!"

Another startling reality:  You know those vintage cookbooks, from the 70's that I inherited from my mother, that show a serene housewife in a perfectly pressed apron and cute flowery dress, holding out a tray of hors d'oeurvres to her pipe-smoking husband as he reads the newspaper in a lazy-boy with his feet up...?  Well, all the claims of those cookbooks and promises that "your husband will adore you when you serve him this easy- to- make Croque Monsouir" are highly overrated and unattainable!   The audacious idea that I would be both dressed in clean clothes and have my hair and make-up done, along with having the house in order (and the children quiet), while making a gourmet three-course-dinner for my husband is a far cry from the stacks of pots and pans, finger-painted pictures drying on every available flat surface and me, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, with a pony-tail and the only decorative accessory to be found is a 1 1/2 year old that is hanging off my hip!

'Gee Whiz... Now I've burned the pot roast and my husband will think I'm such a square!'

All this brings me to the following conclusion.  My life is not meant to be a fairy tale, and frankly it will never look like a fairy tale.  Therefore, my expectations need an adjustment if I am to accept and enjoy my existence.  Guess what?  The biggest enemy that I have in regards to contentment and joyfully embracing life is: ME!

My husband doesn't care about seeing a perfectly made-up wife, with the house all in order, the children clean and pressed and mini meatballs with little umbrellas decorating them prepared for his pre-dinner appetizer. (Although, I'm sure he would appreciate some sort of delicious snack awaiting him when he steps in the door!)  Anyway... this is NOT likely to happen in this complicated, messy life of mine - as long as I have small children in the house.  What does my husband care about?  A big smile!  A warm greeting as he opens the door.  He wants a haven of peace and acceptance in our home that can't be found anywhere else.  Accomplish this; and I'll be well on my way to living a fairy tale marriage.

Furthermore, and I've discussed this idea numerous times in my blog: what do my children crave and need from me?  Not more toys, activities, the 'latest styles' of clothing and the most recently released Wii game.   They just want ME!  Freely dispersing hugs and kisses, snuggling in bed and listening to my children's corny jokes and peculiar stories is what makes for a fairy tale childhood.

So as I adjust my mindset, and once again remind myself of what makes a successful family and marriage (not more stuff and NOT looking perfect all the time), I am left wondering what would hold me back from being content with my lot in life.  Once again, the answer is: "me".  So instead of comparing and complaining and convincing myself that I don't do enough, I must take an honest look around me at the wonderful gifts I've attained.

I have a husband who loves me, even when I'm grumpy, messy and frustrated.

I have six children who depend on me, love and adore me; even when I don't mop the floor and I feed them PB & Jelly for the third time in a week.

If we're counting the things that really matter... I'd say my childhood prediction of "happily ever after" was correct.  It just ended up a whole lot louder and messier than I had counted on!

1 comment:

RICK said...

Well I can say that yous have done a pretty great job so far,im a fair bit older than you and I can say I have never been around a family your size,where one can say its a pleasure being around 6 small children, and I can honestley say that about yours,they are loving and kind and make every one feel loved and special,and I Belive that anyone that has been around your family would agree.You not only do a great job of raising 6 children,I Know you guys sow in to so many other peoples lives, I dont know how you do it.I think you can count on, one day when you stand in front of the mighty one,he will say well done my good and faith full servants. Truly what more reward can life give us, than that!!!