Easy is as Easy Does
The title of this blog is the theme of the week. I am officially discarding the words easy/hard from my vocab when it comes to raising my kids. Andy is gone. He will be gone a lot. Is it hard? I am sure that it can be interpreted that way. And if I spend long enough thinking about all the ways it is hard I could come up with a lot. But, alternatively, I could list all the ways it is easy.
So often, in order to feel worthy we label what we do as hard. It somehow adds value to our opinion of ourselves. If we succeed in doing something hard that must mean we have more worth or are better in some way. But it is an artificial badge of honor that we reward ourselves. Because what we do is simply what we do, hard or easy. And when we drop the label, the experience becomes the heart of the matter, not how we would characterize it.
Instead of judging my own performance each day, I am trying to simply be the day. If I am tired, I rest. If I am bored I do something. When my kids need my time I give it. When I need time I take it. When Leah wakes up in the night I feed her. When I am angry I say so. When the garbage needs to go out I do it. When I don’t feel like cooking, I don’t. When I don’t feel like cleaning, I won’t. And all of a sudden that “hard” label just falls away. And the days just become what they are. When I stop thinking of it as hard —ooh this will be a hard few weeks—and simply do my day, the hard disappears.
I think hard is simply a question of perspective. So many mothers out there think that being hardworking or tough makes us better mothers. Dinner on the table as a family every night. If you made it with a crying infant on your hip then you are all the tougher. No tv even when you are alone and have no help or have just had a shit day. Clean homes and orderly families and no time to tool around on the internet or just do nothing while a sitter watches your kids….if what we do is hard it is better. If you run a marathon then you are a person who has done something very hard. And therefore, I think in some ways, you can view yourself as more worthy. (NOT true for all, but for some I think this is accurate.) Take the old saying, I walked two hours to school and it was uphill both ways. I am tough, I did hard things, so I am better.
Take, for example, all this pressure to have drug-free births. Some mothers who have had drug-free births wear it like a badge of honor, or believe themselves perhaps more worthy because they suffered more. Their labors were harder and therefore, in the eys of many these days, superior. But I would simply say that their labors were theirs. And that is all. How many times have you heard someone say they had a drug-free birth and responded, “WOW that’s AMAZING GOOD FOR YOU!!!” And meant it? Many, many times. I do think it’s amazing. But it goes hand in hand with a belief that those of us who haven’t, or can’t, aren’t as tough. And we are supposed to be tough. And the way we can be tough is to show how hard what we do is.
Might I say, even with my epidural, right before Leah entered the world, I shook like a leaf from head to toe with love, terror, excitement and anxiety. I had no physical pain. But the fact that I had an epidural, or an “easy” birth in no way detracted from the joy and victory of bringing a new person into the world. My births were simply what they were. No better, no worse. Not hard or easy. They were births. And now my kids are here. My merit is not connected to those things.
This doesn’t have to be hard in order for me to be worthy. It is what it is. And I will do my best.
And truth be told, kids are simple. They want time and love. And the rest doesn’t matter.