Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teddy Knows Best

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

Thank you Theodore Roosevelt.

This is something I have on repeat in my mind right now.

Theodore Roosevelt is never saying it in my head though.  It's usually just my voice.

Or Amy Poehler's.

That sounds like a really random person to have in my head, but I read her book "Yes Please," a few months ago (good, but not nearly as laugh-out-loud funny at Tina Fey's "Bossypants," sorry Amy,) and one really important idea came from that book along the same lines as TR's quote.

(I call Theodore Roosevelt 'TR' because we are close.)

"Great for them, not for me."

This quote really takes away all the insecurity we put on ourselves when someone else is doing this whole motherhood thing, marriage thing, life thing in a totally different way than we are.  It's rarely better or worse, just different.

Well, unless you are addicted to meth and neglecting your children and cheating on your spouse.....then I'm totally doing a better job than you are.  No offense.  But...

Great for you, not for me.

I bet TR never worried about whether or not he should compare himself to a meth addict. He was such a good president.

I wonder if TR would have struggled with comparison more if he would have known that he would look a like a total creeper for all eternity on a giant national monument between Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson?

I had a point.

Or something loosely resembling a point.

I'm really struggling with comparison lately.

I don't want another marriage, or a new house, or fancy car (who could deny that my maroon minivan is the absolute best you can get?) or perfect body, or material possessions of any kind.

I want fewer children, who are older.

Now before my Mom calls me implying I am going to scar my children if they ever read this, here are my disclaimers.

I adore each and every one of my children.  I did not think I would have so many of them, but I wouldn't change it for a moment.  I think this big family is fun and dynamic and loving and all around wonderful.  I just know that someday we will be just like the Bravermans in our fierce love for one another and our exciting, complicated lives.

But...four kids, particularly with a baby, means some things are really difficult.

I see my friends with one or two kids able to go out to dinner as a family and enjoy it.

The friends who have all their kids in school all day...FIVE DAYS A WEEK.  (That's 30ish hours of time to figure your stuff out and potentially even SIT!)

I see friends who can walk out the door without holding a 25 pound weight and a million accessories to keep the weight happy while out and about town.

I used to be one of those people.  I know how good that place is.  It's still hard, but it's good.

For those friends, the idea of getting away for a night or two is not a logistical nightmare involving lots of paid child care, favors from friends, and planning for at least a solid week in order to make it happen. Things like picking your kid up from school or going to the grocery store do not require massive amounts of planning and screwing up schedules.

I could go on.

Comparison is the thief of joy though.

I know it's a lie, a total lie to think that any parent has it easy.  It feels like that from here right now though, even while I am writing these words to say it isn't true.

Stupid emotions.

So I'm digging deep when these thoughts creep in and I'm fighting to list three things quickly that I love about my life.

It isn't difficult.  There's a lot to love.

I bet you thought I would put a picture of my family there, because I love them.


That's a picture of a random chicken that showed up in our garage on top of my husband's car.  I love that random shit like that happens in my life.  That chicken wouldn't leave our house for over 24 hours.  I can't make up things that fun.

This is a good life.

And yesterday, this happened.

I was SURE our grocery store trip was going to be a total nightmare.  All four kids means so much going on while I try to find the items on my list.

But it was great.  It was awesome.  Dare I say, fun?

Perhaps I am getting carried away.  It was the grocery store.

It felt good to know that Aiden and Cole could step up and take care of part of the work and that Stella and Max could be bribed with a donut to stay calm.

I'm keeping this photo handy for the tough moments.  This grocery store memory and Teddy are going to help keep me straight.

There is no joy in comparison.

There is so much joy in an easy trip to the store with four kids.

And random chickens.



Judy said...

If it makes you feel any better, we only have 2 kids and Brian and I have only managed 3 nights away total in almost 9 years.

Gail McDermott said...

Times and seasons, Leslie. You are welcome to come up to Colorado and leave the kids with me while you and Alex go hiking or river rafting? I will teach them how to weed gardens and feed horses!Also am good at grocery stores!

Mel said...

I drive a very old (paid for) car which has many quirks and issues - the doors don't lock, the front wipers and rear run on wrong switches, I have to attempt to buckle my seatbelt sometimes up to 25 times before it latches, to name a few - and my husband is fond of saying, "we need to get you a new car!" I've banned him from this because I'm perfectly happy with my old weirdo of a car until I start thinking about the possible awesomeness of other cars. TR gives sound advice.