Friday started like any other day. I packed it with regular amounts of work, dropping kids off, errands, trip to my Pilates studio, picking kids up, and cooking. I didn’t finish all my chores (let’s be honest, I never do) since I was trying to accomplish my New Year’s resolution of Carpe Diem (Latin for Seize the Day). At that moment, I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies with my five year old son who loves nothing more than helping me measure flour and pour it into the Kitchenaid. Yes, life on Friday was great, and my Carpe Diem resolution was working. “I’ll just clean tomorrow” I told myself as I absentmindedly dipped my finger into the cookie dough.
Damn that cookie dough.
No, seriously, damn that dough to hell. It’s now Sunday, and I have been deep in the misery of food poisoning for about 48 hours now. I can’t even count how many times I’ve had raw eggs in something and never been sick from it. Well, my number was finally up and I’m paying for my sins. I’ve had to cancel plans, weekend meetings, pretty much everything that involves me leaving the bedroom.
But being bedridden did offer a lot of time to think, or in my case, harbor resentment. While Netflix was a savior (thank God all of Friends was released this year), I couldn’t shake the anger I felt about not accomplishing anything memorable this weekend. After all, that was my resolution. With one of the few snowstorms our parched city has seen all year, I should have been out playing with my kids, building snowmen and having snowball fights. Afterwards, we should have cuddled up and enjoyed some hot chocolate in one of those Hallmark moments that you base the success of your mothering skills on. Instead, I stayed upstairs and they played far too many video games. What. A. Waste.
And that’s when it hit me, Carpe Diem, for all its glory with inspirational posters and Pinterest quotes, is crap. It’s a rare unicorn that you occasionally find but rarely see. If you were to pie graph your life, how much time do you really spend crafting unforgettable childhood memories for your family? Chances are you spend a majority of it doing tasks you’d rather not, like clocking in at an 8-5, cleaning up a never-ending mess, piles of laundry, and constantly cooking. Maybe 10% of your day, minus sleeping, is filled with things you want to do, and sometimes, in that 10%, all you want to do is plop down and watch TV. Does that mean your day is a failure?
If there is one thing modern parenting has done, it’s piled mountains of guilt onto mothers. We feel guilty when we have the kids watch TV, play outside without constant supervision, feed them things with (pick your poison): gluten, HFCS, non-organic ingredients. We are all camels buried under haystacks of judgment from the omnipresent “they”. And on top of all that, I’m now stressing about failing my kids because I didn’t seize the damn day.
So starting now, I’m revisiting my New Year’s Resolution. Instead of Carpe Diem, I’m going to Carpe Articulum. Articulum means “moment” in Latin. So now I’m “Seizing the Moment”. The best part about seizing a moment instead of a day is you realize how amazing some average moments really are. How truly excellent the smell of coffee brewing is. How beautiful that bouquet of spring tulips looks on your dining room table. How fresh the air feels after a snow storm. That inner sense of peace, however brief, of having all the laundry done. Maybe these moments aren’t worthy of memory book, but they are beautiful in their brevity and simplicity.
So for now, I’ve let go of the daily requirement to have something special happen. Let’s face it, some days are forgettable. That doesn’t mean they’re bad (although for me this weekend sure was), it just means they’re average. And that’s ok. We need average days in our lives. They serve as our barometer for those special moments when you do find the unicorn. And it makes that beast all the more amazing when it does stroll in.
So until then my friends, Carpe Articulum. May your moments be seized.