Sunday, February 8, 2009

Spilling Syrup

When I was in college, I was a hostess at a Shoney’s Restaurant. I loved it. Greet the customer, seat the customer, ring up the customer. Then do it all again. It wasn’t the most mentally stimulating job ever, but I got paid for smiling and it was fun.

Then, I thought I would try my hand at serving. Looked easy enough. Take the order, deliver the food. How hard could it be? Well, let’s just say multi-tasking took on a whole new meaning.

I started slow, with only a few tables. I think about four or five. Suddenly, taking orders, remembering drinks, delivering food (hot), cleaning up the plates, going back to check in. It was all VERY overwhelming. And while I could get a couple things done rather well, I didn’t seem to be able to handle it well with ALL the tables. I may have been able to take the orders just fine, but going back to check on drinks or other needs would fall by the wayside. Or maybe I was able to check in, but had a problem remembering where the food was supposed to go. And then there was the whole issue of balance. I quickly learned that spilling hot pancake syrup on a suede jacket doesn’t add up to a happy boss.

It was tough. I just couldn’t get it all right. Some of it – yes. But not all of it; not all the time.

I have had many days as a mom when I feel like I am back at Shoney’s trying to learn how to be a server. With 5 children, sometimes (more often than not) things fall by the wayside. I may be doing awesome at feeding them breakfast in the morning, but their backpacks sit untouched by maternal hands for weeks. I might get matching shoes on their feet, but socks are another matter. Most of the time they are mismatched. Or I might do well at giving hugs, but stink at following through with discipline.

So often, I feel like multitasking is not my forte. How am I supposed to get child A to finish an assignment, child C to pass off stuff in cub scouts, make dinner, do laundry, patch a scraped elbow, help child B with a friend problem, teach child D to ride his bike, make my bed and get all their teeth brushed at night?

AND (this is key) stay sane through it all?

That is tough for me. I have to accept that not everything is going to be done right all the time. There are going to be times when I spill syrup on a suede jacket – or completely flop as a mom. There are going to be times when I overlook one thing to accomplish another. How do I maintain the balance? How do I push myself to do better and give myself a break at the same time?

So, at the end of a week when I have been too sick to accomplish anything, I find myself battling these little demons of discouragement. All I really want to do is raise happy healthy children, who don’t end up in therapy because of me. Hopefully, they know how much I do love them and see beyond my inability to multitask.


S'mee said...

"All I really want to do is raise happy healthy children, who don’t end up in therapy because of me."

If you can accomplish that, you've done more than 98% of the moms out there. Knowing they are safe in your presence, loved sincerely, and that you love their dad...well that's the best thing ever.

CJ, the Purple Diva said...

Ditto what S'mee said.
I raised 5 kids. While I think most of them are okay-the jury's still out on one of them-it is the hardest work I've ever done-but the most fulfilling and amazing job I've ever had.
Hang in there mom. There guidance and help from above.

That Girl in Brazil said...

That is my prayer. Every day.

Because we CAN'T do it all - yet we still try.


Tink said...

I "hear" ya! And I served once too and hated it. But it gave me insight into what it's like to be a server and I have compassion on those who serve me! Being a mom is harder and by the sounds of reading your blog, you're doing an awesome job!