Yesterday was a day of Mom-frustration and I felt invisible. I wondered, did I actually speak those words or did I just think them? Because if I did say them out loud, they made no difference . The regular expectations we’ve had in our family for years didn’t matter, they went ignored. And really, how many times can I be expected to repeat something calmly before there’s action, or screaming? I felt completely invisible.
Years ago I read a poem called I’m Invisible and boy did it resonate with me, I printed it and have it saved in a book I keep of special quotes and notes. Our job as Moms, by nature, cannot be appreciated or valued by our children. Not until they have children of their own, that’s when we may get some recognition for having done well. We don’t become Moms, though, for recognition or acknowledgement, we do it for the relationships we build with our children. We do it from a place of selfless, boundless love.
I love the expression that with young children, the days are long but the years are short, it’s just so true. However, within those long days, within a Mother’s love, there lies annoyance, aggravation and sheer head-pounding frustration. It’s the reality of raising children.
I feel invisible when the floor I just vacuumed has a grass trail from the kid who forgot to take off their shoes. I feel invisible when I have to remind a child over and over and over to do a task, then when they’re in bed for the night, I notice it still wasn’t done. I feel invisible cleaning toothpaste from the sink daily, picking up dirty socks from the hallway (just a short distance to the hamper), or when I find clean, folded clothes back in the laundry. It can feel like the care I put into our home is disregarded and meaningless.
I feel invisible picking up the millionth shoe to put into the basket 2 inches from where the shoe was left, or putting the wrapper from the counter top to the garbage below, or reaching for the scissors to discover them missing – again!
And really, how hard is it to pick up a towel after a shower? You shower everyday, it’s been the same expectation for years, there’s a hook available to you, Pick Up The Towel!
I feels sometimes that it has made no difference that I have interrupted them repeatedly to have them put their shoes away or hang up a towel. I figured, enough inconveniences for them, they’d learn and finally pick it up before I have to call them back. We’re still working on that, and still expecting it. I know it can’t be futile, there is definitely pay off from the tiresome repetition of things when they were younger, but some days it all sure seems like it’s for naught.
On a bright note, when I pick a few things to focus on and add them to their written job list (we go over the list at dinner time and they earn stones), we do see some changes. This spotlight does help to improve results and aims to form a new, positive habit, then we can shift attention to another task.
On the days I have felt invisible, I have cried, reflected on what I can do differently, prayed, complained and laughed. Yes, sometimes, I can adjust my perspective and see things from high above me. When I try, I can see life as a sitcom and I remind myself how lucky and blessed I am and how unimportant these little details are.
I remember the words of Lou Holtz, famed Notre Dame coach, who uses the acronym W.I.N : “What’s Important Now?” Asking myself that helps me reframe the annoyance of the moment and realize that life is good. My kids are healthy, they’re near me, I really have nothing to complain about and I try to consciously return to a place of gratitude. I’m not saying this is easy, but it’s a strategy that helps me, and the next day, I wake up and we start fresh.
The best antidote to feeling like an invisible Mom is when one of my babies comes up to me, gives me a hug and says, “I love you, Mom.” Maybe I’m not invisible after all.