‘I feel trapped’, my husband said as we were washing up little Bean’s bottles. As any mom and wife will know, these are not words one wants to hear. He, luckily, did not mean that he felt trapped in our marriage, but rather that he felt trapped in our routine-driven lives. Instead of spontaneously going for a night on the town or a movie during our time off, we had to carefully plan every activity we wanted to participate in. Could we take Bean with? If not, who would watch him? If yes, what did we need to pack to be able to go? Our lives had become one continuous routine of washing and sterilising bottles, nap time, play time and cooking food for our little guy, with the odd well-planned and well-packed excursion in between.
Things to do with Kids: Finding the Wonder in Routine
This made me think: why did I not feel this way? I experience feelings of anxiousness and stress - yes, often; but never trapped. I fully understood where he was coming from of course: our previously busy, adventure-laden and spontaneous lives had become boring and we had become that settled married couple we had been so scared of becoming. Yet, I was quite happy with our new ‘dreary’ life.
Finding the Magic in Every Day
Upon closer inspection, however, our lives are filled with little bits of wonder, excitement and adventure every day. Bean is growing at such a fast pace and developing so quickly, that every day brings with it something new. On the night in question, for example, I was busy feeding Bean his bedtime bottle when he had a dirty nappy. Being my compulsive self, petrified of a nappy rash, I immediately placed Bean on his change mat and removed the dirty nappy. Excited by the freedom I had now bestowed upon my son, he decided to unleash the fury and so, in the midst of it all, he pooped in my hand. Hearing my panicked cries from the bedroom, my husband ran up the stairs, saw what was going on and promptly burst out laughing. This was a definite first and a funny, ‘adventurous’, one at that.
On the same day, Bean started throwing his arms around my neck, squeezing tightly, smiling his widest smile, all the while cooing excitedly, every time I picked him up. This filled me with so much gratitude and so much wonder, my heart felt like it was going to explode because it could not possibly contain the amount of love I felt at that moment.
A week later Bean started rolling – something I had been trying to teach him for which felt like forever. This was another exciting moment which caused me to jump up and down in our lounge, doing my little happy dance, feeling incredibly proud. And all this while Bean smiled at me impassively as if to say, ‘what is the big deal, lady?’
Now, coming back to the question of why I did not feel trapped by our routine– how could I with a living miracle in my heart, in my life, in my home?
It is easy to feel trapped while looking at an empty freezer knowing that you will have to spend the next 48 hours cooking for your child, or when you look at the dirty bottles piling up and you have just received a message from one of your ‘non-parent’ friends asking if you feel like going for a quick drink. I have felt this feeling creep up, threatening to spread a little bit of darkness over my heart - but in these moments all I need to do is look at my beautiful son, his eyes filled with wonder and excitement every time he sees or hears something new (even if it’s just water running out of the tap) and I know, with a knowledge deeply engrained in my soul, that he is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I would choose my dreary, routine driven and settled family life over and over and over again (and I know that my husband would do the same).
Images: Thanks to Pexels.com