Never let it be said I only pick the easy ones…. once again I wrote this yesterday (on Wednesday) but needed a day to let it mature.
Sometimes I feel like a master manipulator… and some times I just feel manipulated.
It’s a loaded word. At it’s most basic it means to arrange things skillfully but it can also relate to people who feel they have been used or twisted to suit another person’s purposes.
If you take away the negative undertones of the word… my experience of motherhood has been to become a skilled manipulator. I massage the family budget to meet (or attempt to meet) all our needs (read: wants). I manipulate the schedule the help everyone meet their commitments, a near impossible task some days. I also know I am not alone in my occasional attempts to convince my kids cleaning up is just a fun game… or tried to play a game of statue just to get 60 seconds of silence. Managing a family requires manipulation of time, money and effort.
In terms of the word’s more negative connotations… I often feel manipulated. Some members of the family are more skilled at this particular effort than others (…teenagers anyone?). At the end of many days I feel like I have done everything for everyone else and have little left for me. The thing is, much of the blame for that shouldn’t be heaped on the kids or on The Husband. I have let myself be manipulated by an increasingly demanding and consumer-driven society.
I feel manipulated by society. I have been convinced that there are certain expectations that I must meet to be a ‘good mother.’ Intellectually, I know better. Emotionally, I feel a sense of failure when I got to bed with a messy house (a regular occurrence) or can’t find the energy to put a home cooked meal on the table.
I know I am doing my best. I also know that my best IS good enough… at least, deep down I know it. The challenge is to remind ourselves of that constantly. No matter what ‘supermom’ pop culture image we are manipulated by, I love my kids and that’s enough.