My days always end in the middle.
Every night, there is an email or text message I drafted, but didn’t send. I unloaded the bottom rack of the dishwasher, but not the top. If I do have enough time in the evening to sit down and read, I read for few pages or get through half the new release on Netflix, before falling asleep.
This is what happened when I became a mother. I stopped finishing things.
It has taken me almost eight years to make peace with my incompleteness. As I write this, I look around at the proof —
My almond toast,
my latest poem,
the laundry sitting in the dryer —
All halfway done.
The lunchboxes laying open on the counter, filled only with juice boxes and chips. I haven’t made the sandwiches yet, because my 7-year-old daughter had an emergency, she couldn’t find her superhero mask.
“Mommy, can I have a pony now?” my 5-year-old whines, one hand tugging on my shirt, the other hand waving her Hello Kitty hairband in the air. I’ve brushed half my head, but it can wait. I let go of my hair and grab hold of hers.
In the mornings, I feel like a cocktail waitress at a topless bar — running around half-dressed tending to the spilled juice at the breakfast table and solving the last math problem on the homework page.
Getting dressed all at once? I don’t know what that’s like anymore.
Halfway done, is how I live my life.
There is no completing a task, a project or a book.
Just starting something or anything for that matter, is a feat.
I call it “mission accomplished” when I manage to get everyone to school before the final bell, to realize I only put one earring on.
There are two important lessons I have learned from motherhood.
The first lesson is, as mothers, we must give ourselves permission to leave the frayed edges alone. It is the only way to stay sane. Trying to hem them will drive us crazy, and then we won’t get anything done.
When we allow our lives to be rough around the edges, we grant ourselves the freedom to enjoy our lives. Forget doing it all, just try to do a little bit, that’s more than enough.
The second lesson is more like an exception to the rule (of first lesson). It is a non-negotiable and if I could make it an enforced law for every woman, I would. That is, to make one thing you love to do, a priority and to always finish it, no matter what.
When I fulfill my well-being first, I have the strength and stamina to care for my family completely and I am able to accept and honor the incomplete nature of life.
My exception to the rule, is my morning coffee and hour of writing. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. to do it, because drinking that last drop and typing that last word, it completes me.