Not about Aristotle

I am trying really hard to still have complex thoughts. One idea I had for today’s 365 effort was to write about Aristotle’s definition of friendship (HAHAHAHAHA) and how I misunderstood it as an undergrad but get it now (HAHAHAHAHA).

Another idea I had was to write about how I can’t remember how to spell “everything” or what 5×7 is, but I can remember every way in which I perceive myself to have fallen short as a mother, a friend, a wife, a daughter. The number of times I say “just a minute” to Thea, or take longer than I wish to get to Simon when he cries, forget to respond to a text, an email, write an illegible and hasty thank you note just so I don’t have to think about it anymore. All these shortcomings lined up and marching past at the end of the day. There are so many ways to perceive oneself as failing, but I’m not sure there is even one way I’d allow myself to feel successful.

As soon as I realized that (and it did come as a realization, full-sentence and everything) that tendency itself felt like a failure. It is truly something I’d like to change, if only so that my children don’t internalize this kind of self-criticism. Is there a better way to affect change than adding it to the long list of daily requirements (eat vegetables, administer vegetables to others, exercise, write, execute tummy time, brush toddler teeth [and own, of course], be patient, be present, don’t leave dishes in the sink, oh, and don’t be so self-critical). Working on it, I guess.

I have an idea for an essay brewing. It’s based on a comment an editor wrote on another essay. There was a section about breastfeeding and she commented on how the section made clear the ways in which breastfeeding can be read as a metaphor for motherhood. Intimate, but public, personal, nourishing. As I was tucking Thea in tonight, worrying if I’d gotten enough sleep, eaten enough calories or had enough water to keep my supply up, I realized something else–you have to take care of yourself at least a little bit. I hate the phrase “self-care,” but that’s the idea.

One Reply to “Not about Aristotle”

  1. Loved this. As a mother of small kids (I have three under 7), it’s so hard to make time for ourselves when we’re basically playing whack-a-mole all day long. BUT it has become so clear to me that a happy mama =happy kids, so I’m trying to get better at the self-care business. (Our moms went to high school together, and my mom passed along your Real Simple article, which was amazing. You have a gift with words)

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