The Groundhog Daze of Motherhood

By Jessica Fisher

I realized recently that my life resembles a movie. Nothing super exciting like National Treasure, Pirates of the Caribbean or even The Incredibles. No, the art that my life imitates is the illustrious film, Groundhog Day. In this 1993 flick, Bill Murray plays Phil, an arrogant weatherman on location in Punxsutawney, PA, covering the famous appearance of the groundhog who predicts the weather.
 
In his excessive pride, Phil believes he is destined for greatness, certainly not willing to condescend to the likes of groundhog fans. In a strange turn of events, he wakes up day after day to find that it is still February 2. Initially he bucks this nightmarish experience, attempting suicide several times over only to find himself waking up to live that same day all over again. (All of this is achieved in the classic Bill Murray style, and you are sure to chuckle, if not roll on the floor laughing.)
 
I watched this film last winter and realized that like Phil experiences, every day of my life is a lot like the one before.
 
After all, I am a mom.
 
There are multiple little (and big) people who depend on me. I wake each morning to find a mountain of laundry to wash and fold. Dishes are continually dirtied and in need of washing. There are noses to wipe, diapers to change, toilets to scrub, schoolwork to locate. I serve as referee, tutor, counselor, housecleaner, laundress, and personal chef. You know the story, a mother’s work is never done.
 
And I can often find myself, like Phil the weatherman, impatient for people to get out of my way so that I can “make something of myself.” I drift toward the mistaken belief that I am God’s gift to my children and husband, and they should darn well appreciate it! I crave praise and accolades for all my hard work. After all, haven’t I sacrificed a career in order to serve as chief cook and bottle washer?
 
But, if that is where the movie (and my story) ended, it wouldn’t really be all that interesting -- or inspiring. On the screen, we follow Phil as he walks through eternal Groundhog Day, learning to play piano like a virtuoso, perfecting his French, and eventually looking outside himself to the needs of others. He relives the same day, saving a young boy from a dangerous fall, performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking man, and helping a young couple make their marriage a happily-ever-after one.
 
All the while, these people are oblivious of what Phil does for them. He serves without really expecting anything in return. And he’s ready to do it again the next day. In fact, each “new” day he tries to do it a little bit better than the day before. When Phil finally “grows up”, the calendar changes, he wins the girl, and he moves on to another season in his life.
 
What an inspiration for motherhood! Yes, everyday is a lot like the one before, but I have such opportunities in front of me. My baby is incapable of acknowledging my efforts to feed her organic foods. She just knows that she’s hungry and wants to be fed. But that doesn’t make it any less valuable to feed her the best food I can.
 
My three-year old loves to read stories with Mom. When he approaches me with a stack of books at 5 pm, he’s blissfully unaware that I’m elbow deep in cutting raw chicken to prepare for supper. But, it’s a chance for me to wash my hands and delay dinner in exchange for a few precious moments with my little guy.
 
My school age children know that they need to get their schoolwork done in a timely manner and expect that I would be at their beck and call to provide assistance. I can roll my eyes, or I can make that momentary decision to help them achieve their goals, regardless of what reward I receive.
 
As each of my children grows, he will also grow in his understanding and appreciation of how others help him each day, myself included. But, I cannot expect this to happen overnight. Just as winter does not disappear in a 24-hour period, neither will my children come to complete awareness of my parenting. I am thankful for that because I am making  mistakes along the way. If they were fully informed of all I do, I might be in big trouble.
 
Motherhood is my season in life. It is not limited to “noses to wipe, diapers to change.” It involves PEOPLE. People to love, nurture, teach, and counsel. They are little folks who bless me by their very existence. They are my sweet family who bring a smile to my face just by sleeping peacefully. (All night, doesn’t hurt, either.)
 
Groundhog Day is a time-honored observance at which we attempt to gauge the weather. If the groundhog sees his shadow when he pops out of his burrow on that day, he decides to hibernate for a little bit longer. When this happens, tradition dictates that he’s predicted a six-week extension to winter. When the groundhog sees his shadow on the screen, Phil gets to relive that day for quite a while.
 
If I can keep my kids little for just a short time longer, if I can turn my heart toward making each of their days a little better, if I can grow and learn alongside them, well, then, I’m happy for this Groundhog Daze of Motherhood, and this season of my life, to continue for quite some time.
 

Jessica Fisher is a happy wife to one husband and mother to SIX children under 12. Follow her mom-doings at www.lifeasmom.com.

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