So, yeah, my name’s The Mamma, and I’m a veridicalholic, and I’ve had accurate fact, based perceptions for 15 days.
<Hi, The Mamma.>
The reason I am at this Veridical Anonymous meeting is because I don’t want my issues to cause my kids problems.
At its core, veridicality means truthful or veracious. Veridical testimony can be directly supported by concrete evidence. Psychology operationally defines veridicality as the correct perception of an object, that is, the perception of an object that dovetails the object’s real (objective) properties as opposed to its (subjective) or interpretive connotations. Furthermore, in the field of Psychology, veridicality also veers more toward the esoteric; that is to say, truthful,yes, but of or relating to revelation in dreams or hallucinations, etc. that appear to be confirmed in subsequent experience.
As a Mamma, my primary parental function boils down to grooming.
Who knew grooming had such veridicality context!?
I prepare and fix.
I cut and trim.
I mend and wash.
I wipe and polish.
I tend scrapes and breaks.
That’s the truth. Veridicality extraordinare.
Every maternal duty I perform could be categorized as a grooming behavior.
I prepare meals and help children prepare their homework. I cut their bangs and trim their nails. I am also responsible for cutting the budget, trimming expenses, and getting the yard cut by someone. Anyone? I mend socks and wash laundry. I wash loads of laundry more endless than the seas. I wipe noses and counters. I polish nails and furniture. I tend scraped knees and am something of a savant with a glue gun. Can anything really break if there’s a glue gun and enough glue sticks in the house? I mean, come on, I’ve got two. Large, for industrial jobs, and petite, for jewelry and knick-knacks. I know how to mend.
However, honestly, it’s tough to keep objective the subjective work of relational grooming as a Mamma.
Yes, I prepare meals and help children prepare their homework. I expect that, and whatever self-indulgent complaining I might do about it on the side, waxing poetic about the mind-numbing aspects of how much time it takes to plan the meals, write the shopping list, buy the food, pack the food in the car, unpack the food at home, prepare the meal, and clean up after the meals… and don’t even get me stared about Long-Term Research Projects the kids bring home every two weeks, it’s like I ALWAYS have my period on this type of cramp-inducing schedule! Nonetheless, panty-liner in place, I am efficient in the realm of the physical demands of parental grooming. Relationally, however, grooming becomes more of a maternal stretch. How do I prepare my children for rejection? How do I prepare myself to accept they will lie to me as I strive to prepare space for each of them to grow their own characters grated from the expectations set by our God, house, circle and world? Why is it that when I must prepare to tell them that they alone are not able to attend the co-ed party at a friend’s house whose parents I don’t know that I all but have to wear Depends so I don’t have a situation panty-liners simply aren’t designed to cover? Why is it when I prepare my heart to begin a new day with my babies, instead of it being flooded with rainbow colors of hope, like Love’s own Covenant, it prepares legalistic lists like the pharisees, like a spiritual fracture or OCD?
Indeed, I am responsible for cutting the budget, trimming expenses, and getting the yard cut. I expect that as a natural outcome of having a body, living with 4 children who also have bodies, and owning a home instead of a condo. I expect nails and grass to grow back. However, I am MUCH less gracious about mistakes or bad habits growing back. Yep, I am a hypocrite too, but, dammit already, once I’ve done the soulful lecture, given the encouraging talk, metered the appropriate consequence and hugged the it’s-all-going-to-be-okay-hug, why does the errant behavior grow back? Like I ever, ever, got frustrated at one of my kids that their nails grew too quickly, or their hair was too long? Really? Why doesn’t it feel the same? It’s all just cutting and trimming, right?
Yeah, okay, I only mend clothes in an emergency. Like, if one of my kids is in serious love with something, or a Halloween costume goes kinky, or I have to wear something, then and only then, I mend clothes. I have actually only mended 5 socks, and well, yes, they were just that special. However, I wash more laundry than a lifetime, centurion insomniac has ever counted sheep. I live with five other people. Jeans with blown-out knees and dirty laundry are more common than colds in our house. I do more loads of laundry in a week than toilets flush in this house. Do the math. The number is just that big. Yet, I get frustrated if I have to have the same discussion over and over with one or more of the kids. Like really, and those of you who are regular readers, this won’t surprise you. Really? We have to talk about the litter box again? And go over the chart or board or plan de jour? Again? Like, do you expect me to kill the cats or scoop the waste myself? I don’t think so. And then we all have to get over it again and mend relationship? Running a marathon uphill is less cardiovascular. Can’t I just tell my children what to do once, and the problem will be mended? I have never complained that it’s time to give a baby a bath, or wash Baby Girl’s hair, or even wash out the sink. I love to see and smell my kids squeaky clean. Frankly, I am a bit of a freak about my sink. I love to wash it, and don’t leave it wet. I always dry it out with a cloth so it’s shiny. Yep, I am just that sick. Too bad it doesn’t translate when I am tasked to wash away angry words said by a confused adolescent or overtaxed husband. Where’s my compulsion to wash when it’s time to clean grievance and forgive? My track record simply isn’t as consistent there.
I am a recreational wiper. Really, I wipe my kitchen counters as a go-to anxiety reducing strategy. Yep, really. I buy Windex in bulk. I like how it smells more than a rich waft of a freshly baked brownie. I am just that kind of sick. I wipe noses and counters with complete alacrity. It doesn’t gross me out. It doesn’t bother me. I am only uncomfortable if you tell me I can’t wipe a dirty nose or counter top. That said, I am not oh-so smile-on-my-face-song-in-my-heart when it comes to wiping out a debt or a grievance. I can rehearse a grudge like one big, drag-queen diva on a stage belting out a tune from Yentl. I have to wipe out my right to be right? My left hand is all but a CPA with record keeping, folks… I gotta wipe my righteous indignation? I need to forget? Like wipe away my being offended like the tide? Really? Over and over again… cause my kids aren’t listening and they still don’t clean the litter box, and oh, by the way, one of them lied to me again.
Yeah, I polish nails and furniture and mend scraped knees like Florence flapping Nightingale, but polishing and mending relationships is so much harder. The central reality that makes it feel so much more challenging is completely subjective. I expect to drown in laundry and I expect my children to listen to me the first time every time and learn from their every mistake too. Only one of the two premises has any basis in reality, yet I operate in a constant state of denial that I have to say it again, like, “How many times have I told you…” That cliche has been around so long it has surprised cave men. I just ain’t gonna be the Mamma who only has to say it once. Dammit, dammit, dammit! And I’m not going to cure sibling rivalry either, so I have Oreo pie accidents and eat two slices in the middle of the night in my underwear. Yes, for the record, I am eating a lollipop. And I’m tired. I’m mean, I’m here, I won’t quit, but I am weary in my marrow. And what do you mean, children? I am supposed to cultivate meaningful relationships with each of you individually and still keep up with your laundry, homework and extra-curriculars? You outnumber me and your father travels! I can’t do it!
The most veridical thing that I can assert at this point is that in my own strength I can only keep up with their laundry.
OK, sorry, some of you know me, usually, I can’t even manage that.
If I objectively list everything I am supposed to groom, or facilitate the grooming of, as a mother and wife, I will archive a job description for which none would apply.
Like ever. Even in a recession as deep, dark and long as this one, Beloveds. And that’s true enough.
However, if you want to talk to me about truth relating to revelation that appears to be confirmed in subsequent experience, I got me one heck of a Big Brother. He wipes debt like I go after a counter top. Verily, I say to you, He was born for it. I got a written promise that His plans are to prosper and not to harm me. And up to and including the kids putting toxic waste in my rice pudding, that’s true enough too. I got this wholly, holy fruit lives inside of me like some supernatural, turbo-pack to equip me to groom like a salon before a red carpet event grooms A-list celebs. Only this equipment could care less what I wear or look like. In fact, outward appearance isn’t even on its compass, this centers exclusively on the Heart, Truth and Home.
So, yeah,one way or another, in terms of veridicality, being a Mamma most often comes down to grooming.
The onus is to accept the relational aspects of grooming as reflexively, and with as much unflappable expectation, as we address physically grooming our children or homes. True, relational grooming is more difficult because it calls upon us Mammas to get our egos out of the way and to access Godly cleansers like Grace, Forgiveness and Love. The task is to remove blame instead of coffee stains and mend fences before bra straps.
No matter how clean I keep my house, my house is not in order unless the people who I love that dwell here sleep well, and safely, and trust like breath that they are adored and beloved.
So, yeah, my name’s The Mamma, and I’m a veridicalholic, and I’ve had accurate fact-based perceptions for a term, and because I am one fleshy mass of human id, there’s no transformation of my identity without God.
And I am gonna keep showing up and doing this program, because it’s not just my job, it’s my call.
Lovingly dedicated to Mona, whose soul-time with me today on the phone inspired this post. Love you so. xoxoxo
I did my best,
it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel,
so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth,
I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!