Shortly after Max was born I got this crazy idea to make my own advent calendar. I remembered always having an advent calendar as a child and Pinterest was filled with so many great ideas that I figured it would be simple. I’m inherently neither a sewer nor a crafter. I have zero patience for those sorts of things. However, I decided that this was a project I could handle. Insert eye roll and large laborious sighs.
It took me close to a month to complete my advent calendar and at the end it looked like an 8th grade Home Ec student made it. However, it was functional and so I used it with the intention that I would replace it with something nicer and probably store bought. Over the years the pockets of our advent calendar have been filled with all kinds of things – tiny toys, Christmas ornaments, activity coupons, bible passages, pencils, candy and other special treats. Every year I take the calendar out with the idea that I will look for something “nicer” – something a bit more professional looking.
This year as the Christmas and Hanukkah decorations were pulled into the house I handed the advent calendar to Lucy and told her to hang it up. She and Max exclaimed in delight and jumped around squealing with anticipation of what the calendar might hold this year. Again, I stood back and admired my shoddy sewing job.
It was several days later when Lucy and I were busy running errands that she said to me in the car, “Mama, when you are done with the advent calendar – like when you no longer have kids at home – can I have it for my kids?” *sniffle*
As mothers we are so hard on ourselves. Our expectations and standards for what we should be doing and how much we should be accomplishing is beyond unrealistic. I recently read a blog post on the momastery describing a visit to the elementary school where children were asked to write about their dreams. All the children wrote down that they dreamed, “for my family to be happy”. Happy. That is what our children want. They want us to be happy. Lucy’s request for my lopsided, poorly sewn, messily finished advent calendar is a reminder that where I see mistakes she sees beauty. Where I’m thinking “I could do better” – my children are thinking “I have the best Mom ever”.
Perhaps the job of motherhood isn’t nearly as hard as we are making it. Perhaps if we focused more on being happy and less on being perfect this job would seem far more attainable. Perhaps happiness just means a simple adjustment in perspective.