Cleaning and Scrubbing Our Souls

Cleaning and Scrubbing Our Souls

A strong memory of my mother growing up is a poem she often recited:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow.

For babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow.

So, quiet down cobwebs.

Dust, go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.


When I left my career to stay home with the kids, I went into a panic.  I quit a life path I was good at, stopped being able to see friends or talk to people my age every day, and I no longer did the things that defined me as the person I thought I was.  I knew being a mom was not a useless job, but it was a hard transition from supervisor and business model structure, reinforcement of a job well done through pay and responsibility increases, and, honestly, a paycheck to show how much my time and effort were worth.

During the first months after the transition, I found myself in a constant state of resentment.  I resented my husband for the lack of reinforcement I was receiving in my new position, my children for being ungrateful and difficult to please bosses, and myself for making the decision to put my dreams and ambitions aside.  I often thought about all of the wonderful things that would be happening to me had I stayed my career path, like,  “If I would have stayed, I would be making this much money right now”, and “What if the supervisor quits?  I would be great at that job!”.

I lived life anxiously, insisting that I needed something to fill the void and get back in touch with my true self.  I thought of jobs I could take on the side and hobbies I could pick up to prove to…. I’m not sure who, exactly….. that I was the me that wanted to do those things and would do them.  I was perpetually cleaning and scrubbing at my soul to shine it up for something more.

There wasn’t a life event in particular that adjusted my thinking.  I became further removed from the work force and I went through ups and downs with the kids.  My son made me cry in public (more than once) because he was so challenging in his beginning years.  My daughter incessantly reminded me for at least a year straight that she loved her dad more than me.  I felt mostly unappreciated and invisible.

I’m understanding now, though, that it was through these times- the ins and outs, the minutes and hours- that I got to know my kids as people.  They came from my body; its no wonder my soul wasn’t where it used to be- my soul was and is wrapped up in them.  Even for those of us who have adopted children who have not come from our bodies, we’ve still given them our hearts.  When we give something so fully, whether on purpose or not, there is no piece left for anything else: No time for new hobbies, no energy for new friends, no worry for what could be.  And that’s OK.

That’s better than OK, actually.  Its beautiful.

I used to think of this in such a negative light: “These kids only leave me enough energy to drink wine!”  Now, with two kids for which I was there in the beginning to put in the work, I’m finding that more pieces of me are able to naturally fit back into the picture.  These pieces have changed to fit into my mom soul and they are creating a more well rounded picture of me.

We don’t need to clean and scrub our souls for something better.  Our unwashed, tired, disheveled, seemingly unrecognized mom souls shine every day through the people we are molding to take on the world.  Time passes and opportunities present themselves in their own time. Let yourselves grow the way life aims you and be able to sit in the moments when you want more, knowing what you have and what you are doing is enough.

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow.

For babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow.

So quiet down ‘have tos’.

‘What ifs’ go to sleep.

I’m raising my babies and my heart they keep .


3 responses »

  1. Linds-

    I didn’t get to reading this until now. I think this is your most beautiful piece you have ever written.

    I love you… before being mom and now as a mom. You’re so beautiful inside and out. 😘

    Jackie Campisi



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