Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Time to Call the Whaaaaaaambulance

ZHere's a shocking little tidbit most of you may not know about me. In fact, I bet you never even suspected this. At all. (Hey, let a girl dream).

I'm spoiled.

Like, really, really spoiled. And lazy. Given the opportunity, I would have zero problem loafing around the house all day, playing The Sims, watching Real Housewives of New Jersey (or, if I managed to reach my threshold for trashy reality TV, an equally addicting but slightly more redeeming show such as Breaking Bad), goofing off on Pinterest, giving myself a much-needed manicure and pedicure...you get the idea. As much satisfaction I derive from family time and a spotlessly clean house, there are many days when my general attitude towards life is just "meh." It's very easy for me to get sucked into the mentality of, "hey, I vacuumed the living room rug and dusted the furniture, and I unloaded the dishwasher! Wow, look at me go! I deserve a break! Just a few minutes to browse the net..." and before I know it, a few hours have gone by, and it's 6:00 at night and Tony wants dinner. (That kid. Why does he want dinner EVERY night??). So, that's how I'm lazy. I'm spoiled in that I have a wonderful husband who helps me out in every way possible. I was up most of the night nursing a fussy, teething baby? He gets up early every morning with the kiddos and lets me sleep in. I'm stressed out and frustrated after a long day with toddler antics and a baby who screams like a banshee if I dare to set her down so I can run to the bathroom? He takes the kids to the park for a few hours so I can have some time to myself. My back pain is acting up and it hurts too much to walk from one end of the house to the other, let alone make dinner? No problem. We'll just order out, and by the way, Will always insists that I choose.

I'll be honest; being a mom, whether you stay at home with your kids or go to work every morning, is exhausting. The work is never done, there's no such thing as paying too much attention to your kids, and you frequently have to take on the role of chef, nurse, chauffeur, educator, accountant, nutritionist, housekeeper, and in some cases, breadwinner. I fully acknowledge that everyone needs a break, a some point or another. Here's my problem-I tend to give myself too much of a break. If I got up early every morning, put on actual adult business clothes, did my hair and makeup, and drove off to a paying job, would I be able to goof around online for every hour of legitimate work that I did? (Hmm. Best not to answer that question. When I think of some of my jobs in the past, when my employers said, "hey, if the work's done, you're done!"....okay, moving on. You get my point). Shortly before Will and I got married, I was having a discussion with our priest about Will and I, and our new life together. Our hopes, expectations, what have you. He brought up a very interesting point, which is that we as Catholics are each called to a vocation. Whether your vocation is married life, single life, religious life, it is our duty to embrace the vocation we've chosen with all our hearts. Now, that's not to say that in order for me to fully embrace my vocation, I have to morph into an Italian June Cleaver and cook a 5-course meal for my family every night. Or have the house spotless and shining 24/7, and never dream of bumming around the joint in my sweatpants. Of course not. What it does mean is that every act of service, whether it's unloading the dishwasher, reading with my children, doing laundry, or cooking dinner, is for the betterment of my family. THAT is fulfilling your vocation. Being a full-time mother and wife does not mean I have to be perfect, but that I should have a servant's heart. I should find joy and contentment from putting my desire to drink wine and watch Netflix for hours on end on hold, and instead keep the house livable tidy, play with my children, and care for the family that I was so blessed with. And you know what...I do.

When I take an hour for myself when Tony and Alessandra are napping, I feel refreshed, and ready to take on the rest of the day. When I take more than an hour for myself, I feel guilty. Restless. Irritable. By the time the end of the day rolls around, I feel frustrated for not having accomplished anything, and I desperately want a do-over. It took me a while to find that balance between recharging my body and soul, vs. slumming it for an entire day, but I finally feel like I'm in a good place, and truly living out my vocation. There's nothing that can beat the satisfaction at the end of the day when my house is straightened up, the laundry is under control, the kids are happy, and dinner is ready. Mother Teresa said, "In this life, we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love." A running joke in many Italian families is that your grandmother or your mother shows her love for you by all the delicious food she makes. I show my family that I love and care for them by living out my vocation as a mother and wife to the absolute best of my capabilities. I often fall short, and rather than beat myself up over my many failings day after day, I've had to learn to dust myself off and give it my best shot the next day.
If you were to ask Will, I'm pretty sure he would describe his vocation as "happy wife, happy life!"
So. I will have you know that just as I was about to hit "publish," the dog threw up all over the floor. See? What a fantastic opportunity to rock out my vocation. Small things with great love, small things with great love, small things with great love...

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